Welcome friends to the rare instance of me dipping the pen for MMA. Usually I leave that to my better colleagues here at The Bookies Basement who actually know what they’re talking about regarding the sport. 

This is where I link you to the Reverse Mush Podcast catalog, where Harry and Ross have talked to a number of fighters from across the world of MMA. But since Bellator MMA is in STL this weekend, you’re stuck with me. 

Without further ado, let’s get to the violence.

Prelims:

Trevor Ward (6-5) is a Springfield, Illinois area native, his last pro fight in 2018. His opponent Jordan Howard (10-5) is from Jefferson City, Missouri and trains out of St. Charles, Missouri, where this weekend’s event takes place. Any fans at Family Arena early will be treated to this lone local battle on the card.

Roman Faraldo (6-0) is an ATT product, won every fight by KO/TKO, should make light work of Kelvin “Next Level” Rayford (5-3) who lost his only LFA fight last year.

Cody Law (5-0) has finished 4 of 5 Bellator/professional fights and 7 of 10 overall since July 2018, is a steep, steep favorite against James Adcock (7-4) making his Bellator debut, all fights on the southern regional scene. A classic Bellator matchup here.

Akhmat Fight Club’s Diana “Pantera” Avsaragova (4-0) had a close split decision in her last fight, she faces Combate Americas veteran Kyra “Mogwai” Batara (8-4) who was mid-fight week replacement for Ashley Deen.

Romero Cotton (5-0) is facing Freddy Sandoval who hasn’t been in a professional cage since 2009! 2009! Another fight that could only happen in the world of Bellator MMA.

Harry has written more extensively on this next fight between Jose “Gugu” Augusto (7-3) and Alex Polizzi (9-1) and in my crash course on the card this week I have to agree with his analysis, Polizzi hasn’t looked that impressive, and was fairly well dominated by Julius Anglickas in his only real test against higher level opposition. 

Main Card:

Bellator meets their Dagestani quota with Gadzhi Rabadanov (16-4-1) who squares off against “The Maori Kid” Jay-Jay Wilson (8-0) from New Zealand who would love a signature win here.

While the culture of cryptocurrency is beyond me, “Diamond Hands” Johnny Eblen (10-0) has made it a part of his brand for better or worse (worse). During fight week Bellator had a video asking him about which coins to buy and had a very stern THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE warning on it. John Salter (18-5) has finished all but one of his victories, and thirteen in the first round, and plays the role of gatekeeper for Eblen to pass on Saturday.

The only local to STL fighter on the main card comes to St. Charles, Missouri by way of Lithuania. Julius Anglickas (10-2) will have his toughest test not named Vadim Nemkov in “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (23-6). Anglickas moved to the STL area to wrestle at Missouri Baptist University and fights out of St. Charles MMA. He should have the home crowd behind him, but that might not be enough to overcome Davis and his 79 inch(!!!) reach.

Last but surely not least, in our main event of the evening Mads Burnell (16-3) goes toe-to-toe with Adam Borics (17-1). What impressed me watching Mads this week was his boxing, but more his defense with that boxing. Mads’s head movement is very subtle, but very effective, keeping punches from landing flush or at all. Borics really hasn’t fought anyone with a fight IQ quite like Mads before, but can beat an opponent in a number of ways. Borics looked in the best shape of his career at weigh-ins on Friday.

Both guys are incredibly entertaining to watch, and this is far and away the best matchup on paper on the whole card. Fitting of a main event, and the winner deserving of a featherweight title shot, whoever holds the belt (probably McKee sorry Pitbull love you Pitbull).

Now for the good part, here are my plays for Bellator 276. I do not consider myself an MMA expert so you cannot get mad at me if these aren’t good:

Borics +185

Jay-Jay Wilson +115

Jose Augusto +135

Jordan Howard/Romero Cotton/Roman Faraldo/Mr. Wonderful parlay even money

I will be on press row for all the violence on Saturday so follow me if you don’t already @SportWatcherPRO for all the Bellator MMA action from the Jewel of St. Charles Missouri, the Family Arena.