The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for Bellator 199 in San Jose, California. In a surprise, everyone is picking Ryan Bader to beat King Mo in the main event, which would advance Bader to the heavyweight tournament semifinals against Matt Mitrione. As for the co-main event, most of us are picking Jon Fitch over Paul Daley, although yours truly is into the chaos of a Daley KO win.
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.
Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal
Mookie Alexander: This might be bad. You’ve been warned. I expect the wrestling to cancel out and for Bader to land the more meaningful strikes in what could wind up being a glorified kickboxing match. And even if it has to go to the ground, I favor Bader there. Unlike Bader, King Mo is clearly not in his physical prime anymore and injuries have sapped him of much of his high-end athleticism. Ryan Bader by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: The Heavyweight GP is so bizarre in that one half of the bracket is these crazy sideshow matches, and the other half is actually at least mildly intriguing contests. This falls into the 2nd category to me. Still, Bader is the easy pick here. His only losses in the past 6 years come against granite handed opponents who nuked him. That’s not Mo. I know MMAth is unreliable, but given the way everyone’s styles work, I think it’s fair to say that David beat Mo, Bader beat Davis, ergo… Let’s get past this and set up Mitrione vs. Bader. That’s an interesting one for sure. Ryan Bader, UD
Zane Simon: Bader is about the best wrestler Lawal has faced in his entire career, and I’m not terribly sure that he can’t just take King Mo down and run over him there. I know Lawal has great wrestling credentials, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into great takedown defense at 37 and with multiple knee surgeries. If this stays standing, I slightly trust Bader’s gas tank and volume over Lawal’s timing and power. Ryan Bader by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Lawal and Bader both have really good wrestling and boxing, but this one’s gonna be settled on the feet. I’m gonna go with Bader on this one in a close fight where he’s able to do more damage and avoid some of Mo’s bigger shots. Ryan Bader by decision.
Staff picking Bader: Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Bissell, Zane, Victor
Staff picking King Mo:
Jon Fitch vs. Paul Daley
Mookie Alexander: These non-UFC picks don’t count in the standings. Why not live a little? Sure, Fitch could grind his way towards a 30-27 decision because Daley can neither wrestle nor grapple well, but Fitch is 40 years old and Daley still hits really hard. Every round starts on the feet! Paul Daley by KO, round 1.
Fraser Coffeen: I am going to be totally honest, I have not seen enough post-UFC Fitch to be super confident here. Still, I like his chances here. He still has a takedown and good controlling game (though not quite as good as it once was), and Daley still tends to need opponents to bang with him to really show his best. Jon Fitch, UD
Zane Simon: I was pretty willing to write Daley off when he was putting on uninspiring kickboxing performances against Fernando Gonzalez and squeaking by Andre Santos, but he’s proved he still has plenty of power. Still he’s never had great takedown defense and he doesn’t sound particularly happy with where he’s at in his career, which may also mean he’s not as focused as he should be. I hate to consider those kinds of x-factors, but against a relentless pressure wrestler, even a 40-year-old one, I’ve gotta take Fitch to do Fitch things. Jon Fitch by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Barring a Daley flying knee to counter a double leg, this is gonna utter death to watch. It’ll take a while, but Fitch will get the takedown and control from there. Jon Fitch by decision.
Staff picking Fitch: Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Zane, Victor
Staff picking Daley: Mookie, Stephie, Bissell
Cheick Kongo vs. Javy Ayala
Mookie Alexander: Oh hell yeah. Cheick Kongo grind-time. And against the guy who is basically one of the few over the last decade to lose to Roy Nelson because he couldn’t stop a Nelson takedown. Ideally, we get the Ayala who starched Kharitonov in a stunning upset. Realistically? Cheick Kongo by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: The worst part of this fight is that it’s going to be atrocious and yet is more deserving of being in the heavyweight GP than some of the fights that ended up in there instead. NCAA Kongo is going to press and pin Ayala against the fence, work inside trips, then just break his body with shots until the final bell mercifully brings it to a close. Ayala’s deceptively strong and has great hand speed, but couldn’t really find his groove against Roy Nelson. That’s probably got more to do with Javy being figured out more than his skillset, but his cardio is also going to be a problem. This fight’s going to be uglier than that car Homer Simpson designed, but at least that was intended for comedic purposes. The only betting odds that should be available for this fight is an over/under for patented Kongo nut shots. Ayala couldn’t get his offense off the way he wanted against Roy Nelson, and it doesn’t seem to me like he can do well to counter Kongo’s range. He’s also gonna struggle with bodylock and clinch takedowns. Once Kongo has you down, good luck with that. Cheick Kongo by snoozefest decision.
Zane Simon: Until I see Kongo start getting KO’d easy by guys who aren’t among the division’s elite power punchers, I’m not going to assume that a guy like Javy Ayala cold-cocks him. And if he doesn’t, Kongo is an all time great ugly round winner in MMA. Cheick Kongo by decision.
Staff picking Kongo: Victor, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Bissell, Zane, Mookie
Staff picking Ayala: Stephie
Adam Piccolotti vs. Carrington Banks
Mookie Alexander: I understand that Bellator is looking to improve its ratings given the rough start to 2017, but why on earth is Adam Piccolotti fighting Carlton Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel Air? I hope he walks out to Tom Jones. Oh… wait, this is Carrington Banks. Well he’s a good prospect. And Piccolotti’s game has seemingly been figured out as too reliant on his grappling. Carrington Banks by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: It’s not thrilling, but Banks’ athletic power wrestling game seems just right for lots of early MMA success. Similarly, the better caliber opponents Piccolotti faces, the less his grappling means, since bigger more powerful athletes can do just enough to shut it down. At that point I’m not picking Piccolotti to take over standing enough to win. Carrington Banks by decision.
Victor Rodriguez: I would have preferred Adam got another fight before this against a similar fighter that wasn’t as good an athlete. Banks can explode on him and make this a long night for him. Piccolotti has submission chops, and Carrington is smart enough to know how to avoid bait. Carrington Banks by decision.
Staff picking Piccolotti: Stephie, Fraser
Staff picking Banks: Dayne, Bissell, Zane, Mookie, Victor, Nick
Aaron Pico vs. Lee Morrison
Mookie Alexander: They gave Aaron Pico a guy from a camp whose head coach believes you’re “mentally weak” if you go down from a body shot. Well… y’all saw Aaron Pico’s last fight, right? Aaron Pico by liver shot, round 1.
Zane Simon: Oh, Lee Morrison’s a Sikjitsu guy? ‘Nuff said. Pico by KO, round 1.
Victor Rodriguez: Morrison’s coach Rick Little:
“I truly believe you’re mentally weak to go down from a belly punch,” Little said. “I truly believe you have no business being in the Octagon and getting punched in the belly and falling down. And those philosophies transfer to my gym. My guys are like, ‘Hey, how do I check a leg kick, Rick?’ And I go, ‘If you have to check a charley horse to the thigh,’ you don’t belong in the cage.’ You walk through the leg kick and you punch him in the fence. You don’t check it, you don’t back off, you run him over. You think if you get in a street fight with some angry guy, you’re gonna leg kick him and that’s gonna stop him? It’s not. I’m not gonna play this check / patty cake game and all this other stuff.” (source)
I’m not saying, I’m just saying. Aaron Pico by whatever.
Staff picking Pico: Nick, Dayne, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Bissell, Zane, Victor
Staff picking Morrison:
Who wins the Bellator 199 main event?
Bader by stoppage
King Mo by stoppage
Bader by decision
King Mo by decision
147 votes total