The Bloody Elbow staff has made its predictions for Bellator 198, which goes down on Saturday night in Rosemont, Illinois. There’s a slight edge towards Fedor Emelianenko getting the win over Frank Mir in the main event, while it’s fairly one-sided for Emmanuel Sanchez over Sam Sicilia in the co-main. Truth be told, the main event is legitimately the only main card fight that is close on paper based on betting odds.
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.
Anton Tabuena: They’re both shells of their former selves, but this is a pretty bad match up for Mir. He will strike with Fedor, but he is not only much slower, but less technical on the feet. This is heavyweight so anything can happen, but I think this will be a relatively easy TKO win for Fedor. Fedor by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: How the hell can I analyze this fight properly? How? It’s a shopworn Fedor against a shopworn, two-year layoff Frank Mir. I think I’d be sad for weeks if Mir just tapped Fedor out with ease, more so than if he KO’d him. On the plus side, Mir does look in much better shape than a few months ago. Fedor still has power and Mir still falls down a lot, so I’m going with Fedor Emelianenko by KO, round 1 because PRIDE. NEVER. DIE.
Ram Gilboa: You can be cynical about this fight and tourney, but you’re probably watching. It’s all just show business with blood by now, and in a gazillion MMA shows a year world, Fedor vs. Mir is at the very least discernible. No one is fooled that this fight is about relevant elite heavyweight MMa, but that’s pretty much a unicorn any way. Two old lions giving it one last bite is usually a better trailer than either the full movie or a real fight, but hopefully this one’ll turn out alright. I was going back and forth a bit with the outcome, but I’m leaning towards Mir as I believe he’ll have a bit more focus going into this. That’s about it. Frank Mir by TKO, round 1
Fraser Coffeen: Bellator’s bizarro world main events are so impossibly hard to predict. Like Mookie, I’m terrified that Mir just gets the takedown and tapout, which would be a terrible way for things to go for Fedor. And imagine that at that point, Frank Mir would have submission wins over Big Nog and Fedor AND a KO of Cro Cop. On the feet, I think Fedor has more in him. And Mir looked so, so out of shape not long ago that I can’t imagine he’s in a good spot. So, Fedor, KO, R1
Victor Rodriguez: I’m sadder writing this than I was saying it in the Vivisection, but both of these dudes have taken so much damage that I’m not sure I want to see it at this point. As Zane has pointed out, Fedor appears to take less damage before going out. As Mookie says, Mir’s been out for two years and was well over 300lbs with a potbelly earlier this year. How can I sensibly pick against the guy that’s far less in shape? Especially when he’s facing a guy that still seems to approach the sport as if it were still 2005? Fedor has his defensive gaps, but he’s got enough to hurt Mir and work from there. Mir might be able to sleepwalk his way to a submission victory like he did against Nogueira, but I’m not banking on it. Fedor Emelianenko by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Fedor: Mookie, Nick, Tim, Fraser, Victor, Anton
Staff picking Mir: Harry, Stephie, Ram
Mookie Alexander: Sicilia is a powerful puncher and really fun to watch, but Sanchez is the more well-rounded of the two, and by a considerable distance. Beating Daniel Straus is a seriously impressive win on Sanchez’s record -- not to ignore Sicilia’s upset win over Marcos Galvao -- and he is a more disciplined and technical striker with a solid top game that should be good enough to see him beat Sam. Emmanuel Sanchez by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I continue to insist that Bellator has done Sanchez a disservice by not educating the audience as to how good he is and why he keeps winning. Sicilia’s on the decline and relies on instincts, while Sanchez never deviates from his plan, using great takedown defense and accurate striking. Hell, he might even finish Sicilia here. Emmanuel Sanchez by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Sanchez: Mookie, Nick, Stephie, Ram, Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Sicilia: Harry, Tim
Mookie Alexander: Harris was retired when he got the call to face Lovato,who’s looked very impressive in his short MMA career. His amazing BJJ credentials are the story, but he’s developed a formidable striking game that makes him a potential title challenger down the line in the middleweight division. It would be a tougher pick had John Salter on the card, and while Harris is a credible replacement, I don’t see another slam KO coming here. Rafael Lovato Jr. by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Lovato’s striking and overall MMA game are underrated, but Harris has been around the block to fight smart enough to win here. Love Lovato to death, but the veteran looks like he gets the nod here. Gerald Harris by decision.
Staff picking Lovato: Harry, Mookie, Nick, Tim, Stephie, Ram, Fraser
Staff picking Harris: Victor
Mookie Alexander: There are two fights on this main card with -1000 favorites, and Neiman Gracie is one of them. His last win saw him choke out a guy who looks like Luke Thomas. Javier Torres is best known for losing twice on TUF 13 and recently went to a split decision with Julian “Let me bang, bro!” Lane. Bellator is really bent on keeping the Gracie name relevant in MMA, so until I see otherwise, this ends in a Neiman Gracie by submission, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Gracie is another guy that doesn’t get enough credit for being more well-rounded than people assume. It’s somewhat forgivable considering his accolades and family reputation, but Neiman fights smart and controls his opponents well. Torres is a tough out, but Gracie’s got this one in the bag unless he gets careless standing. Neiman Gracie by submission, round 2.
Staff picking Gracie: Harry, Mookie, Nick, Tim, Stephie, Ram, Fraser, Victor
Staff picking Torres:
Mookie Alexander: Having just won the Premier League with Manchester City, it appears as if the veteran right back is switching the soccer cleats for the MMA gloves. He should have the kicking advantage against MMA newcomer Dillon Danis, who has a strong background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and also in irritating people online. Seems like a risky move on Walker’s part to put himself through this type of fight, and I sus---wait, it’s not that Kyle Walker? Just some guy with a sub-.500 record whose name is Kyle Walker? And his two most recent losses were quick submissions? Oh. Dillon Danis by submission, round 1.
Ram Gilboa: Go Kyle Walker. Dillon Danis by submission, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: I’mma be real with you, chief, I can’t pick a guy that no one has seen even throw a punch. At least Aaron Pico was known to be boxing from an early age, and his debut didn’t go the way Bellator thought it would. Not rooting for Danis to lose, but meh. Go #TeamChaos. Kyle Walker by shenanigans.
Staff picking Danis: Harry, Mookie, Nick, Tim, Stephie, Ram, Fraser
Staff picking Walker: Victor
Who wins the Bellator 198 main event?
This poll is closed
Fedor by stoppage
Mir by stoppage
Fedor by decision
Mir by decision
Unmasked Justin McCully