The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for Saturday’s Bellator 192 card in Inglewood, California. Only Nick Baldwin and Phil Mackenzie back Quinton Jackson to advance to the heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals over Chael Sonnen, while opinion is divided on the welterweight championship co-main event between Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Mookie Alexander: This fight will be bad and you will feel bad having ever taken interest in it. I can’t remember the last time Rampage was genuinely impressive in a fight, and even though he’ll have the size advantage on Chael, I’ll just assume Sonnen plants him on the ground repeatedly. Chael Sonnen by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: This fight has ugly all over it. On the surface, Rampage hates fighting wrestlers and gets quite bored unless he’s fighting someone that will give him a slugfest. At least he knows what the strategy will be here, and he’s not cutting to 205 anymore. Does that mean we get non-depleted Rampage, or fat and disinterested Rampage? Because if his cardio isn’t up to snuff, he’s going to get taken down repeatedly. Sonnen might fight smart enough to keep him down and control him for a bit, and then we’ll be treated to a lot of flailing around as Jackson’s stamina bar gets drained. Expect Quinton to defend well and pop up early, and maybe crack Sonnen one or two times like Wanderlei did back in June. Should have booked Rampage against Mitrione and Sonnen against Roy, but here we are. Chael Sonnen by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: As a general rule, I think it’s a good idea to pick against both men at this stage in their careers. That said, Chael did show us against Wanderlei that in a battle of shot fighter vs. shot fighter he is capable of coming out on top, which I didn’t think he was after the Tito fight. I could talk about how this is also a bad stylistic match-up for Rampage and blah blah, but really, this is one of those crazy Bellator fights where you just have to roll the dice and see what happens. Chael Sonnen, decision
Staff picking Rampage: Nick, Phil
Staff picking Sonnen: Bissell, Victor, Dayne, Fraser, Stephie, Mookie
Mookie Alexander: This is the second-best fight of the weekend, and if we downgrade heavyweights based off of being heavyweights, this is arguably the most skilled matchup on either Bellator or UFC on Saturday. If MacDonald gets his takedowns and the half-guard he so desires, Lima is in deep trouble. It would probably resemble Lima’s loss to Andrey Koreshkov, but Lima had a knee injury and has looked fantastic since then. He’s the faster, more fluid striker than MacDonald, and I do believe that for as long as this fight stays on the feet, Lima is going to have the slight advantage. MacDonald is still a fairly uncomfortable power striker to me, and he prefers to work from the outside, but I think Lima can get past that layer of defense and land the better shots. Ohhhhh I hate that I can’t watch this live. I’m going for the upset, and if it does happen, we have to talk about Lima being a top-5 welterweight in the world. Douglas Lima by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I said last year that Douglas Lima/Lorenz Larkin was the best welterweight matchup of the summer. I still stand by it, because that fight was intriguing as hell, and it taught us quite a bit about Lima. His ability to deal with leg kicks and ways to punish opponents coming in to close the distance. The Koreshkov rematch showed how he was able to adapt to his opponent’s timing and how brutal his counters could be. It also showed how he can deal with larger welterweights with some meat on them. That said, Rory brings his own set of challenges with a great use of range and thudding kicks to the legs and body. Lima’s defense should serve him well here, and his output will be enough to keep Rory from getting too free with his offense. Rory pumping his jab as option A then working behind it to minimize distance seems to be the default, but it seems to me that Lime will be working more to stay a step ahead with his punches. If Rory gets top half guard, Lima’s chances of winning plummet spectacularly. Still gotta go with the champ on this one. Douglas Lima by decision.
Phil Mackenzie: As entertaining as Part-Time Firefighter vs Athletic Guy or Daniel Cormier vs MMA Variance will be, this is the best fight of the weekend, right? The main question has to be how much Lima has improved his takedown defense, because he hits harder and is more durable than the Canadian. In addition, Rory’s front leg-heavy stance leaves him vulnerable to leg kicks, so he is going to have to stay in the line of fire to pre-emptively counter them with the jab and right cross, then feed off into the right head kick and takedown. I have a horrible feeling that Lima is going to win. His jab looked exceptional in the Larkin fight, and if he can draw Rory into exchanges then I just don’t think MacDonald has the physicality to hang with him, especially given Tristar’s debatable overprioritization of right hand defense which historically leaves their fighters somewhat vulnerable to the left hook / jab changeup. However, I’m still not convinced by Lima’s wrestling, so as a huge Rory fan, I’m going to hope that he can work a similar game to the one he used on Paul Daley. Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Lima: Victor, Dayne, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking MacDonald: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Fraser
Mookie Alexander: Yamauchi is a tricky submission specialist and essentially is the type of fighter Michael Chandler should be able to thrash. I still hold out hope for Yamauchi to be a title challenger down the road, but barring another freak injury in the cage, Chandler will beat him on the feet and smash him on the ground. Michael Chandler by TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: Yamauchi’s gotten so much better against wrestlers, but Chandler’s a different animal. Yamauchi’s striking defense has holes that Chandler will expose over and over, especially body shots when Goiti shells up. Chandler probably busts him up on the ground with elbows from top. Michael Chander by ground strike TKO, round 2.
Phil Mackenzie: Yamauchi looked excellent against Piccolotti, showing off improved wrestling and physicality against what looked like it might have been a rough style matchup, but this doesn’t just look like a rough style matchup... it is one. Although I feel like Chandler’s relentless pace is starting to wear away at him, Yamauchi is going to struggle to get him down and there’s a vast gulf in their firepower on the feet. Michael Chandler by TKO, round 1
Staff picking Chandler: Bissell, Victor, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Yamauchi:
Mookie Alexander: Phil pretty much nails it for me. Corrales is definitely liable to get choked out, but Karakhanyan might struggle a bit with Henry’s pressure and he’ll struggle to get off consistent offense to win rounds. Henry Corrales by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Karakhanyan is an eternally dangerous opportunist who can pick up sub or strike wins on the flip of a dime, but Corrales’ consistent pressure seems like it should match up well. I think the analogue here is Rick Glenn, who just stuck on Karakhanyan like glue. Again, wouldn’t be surprised to see Corrales get taken out (notably a choke submission) but give me Henry Corrales by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Karakhanyan:
Staff picking Corrales: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Victor, Mookie
Mookie Alexander: Still incredibly skeptical of Bellator’s matchmaking that kinda hints that Pico may as well be fighting for a title shot by the end of the year, but with that said, for as disastrous as his pro debut was, his win against Justin Linn was impressive. I do have concerns about his striking defense, but Kruchten doesn’t seem like the guy to exploit that, and he’s not going to stop Pico’s wrestling. Aaron Pico by TKO, round 3.
Phil Mackenzie: A reasonable step up for Aaron Pico after he hit one of the prettiest left hook KOs of a weekend full of them the last time out. Kruchten is tough, relatively well rounded, but as with almost all Pico foes is facing a massive uphill athletic struggle. Aaron Pico by TKO, round 2.
Victor Rodriguez: I’m thinking Pico’s going to have to eat a few shots before landing a takedown here, and once he does he’ll be able to chain things together and make it a miserable night for Shane. He’s going to have to get comfortable on the feet first, and I’m confident that he’ll look to make sure his game is much more varied. His timing and athleticism will make the difference here. Aaron Pico by submission.
Staff picking Pico: Bissell, Ram, Dayne, Phil, Fraser, Stephie, Victor, Mookie
Staff picking Kruchten: Nick
Who wins the Bellator 192 main and co-main events?
This poll is closed
Rampage and Lima
Rampage and MacDonald
Sonnen and Lima
Sonnen and MacDonald