Bellator 194 features another leg of the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix, and with that comes Cageside Press’ staff picks.
|Staff Writers||Claxton vs. Perez||Hardy vs. Julaton||McGeary vs. Nemkov||Pitbull vs. Campos||Nelson vs. Mitrione|
Bellator 194 features a few notable names from the number-two MMA promotion, including UFC cast-offs Matt Mitrione and Roy Nelson, and prospects Tywan Claxton and Heather Hardy.
The main event is the second of four first-round matchups in the lengthy heavyweight grand prix. Tournament favorite Matt Mitrione will look to get past Ultimate Fighter winner and long-time veteran Roy Nelson. After spending the first 14 fights of his career with the UFC, Matt Mitrione signed with Bellator and has not looked back, knocking out his first three opponents including Fedor Emelianenko. Roy Nelson was 9-10 in the Octagon and with two wins in his last seven fights, he decided a change of scenery was necessary. Nelson bested Javy Ayala in his Bellator debut and has not fought since. Seven of ten writers believe Mitrione will move on to the next round.
Bellator staple Patricky Pitbull will rematch Derek Campos in the co-main event, after knocking him out back in 2014. Pitbull recovered from a loss in a lightweight title fight with wins over big names Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson. Meanwhile, Campos has won four straight contests with two knockouts. Three writers are taking Campos to upset the former title challenger.
Former light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary looks to get by Vadim Nemkov on his way back to the title. McGeary has lost two of his last three, the only blemishes on his 14-fight resume. Nemkov is 8-2 in his career and has knocked out his last three opponents. All ten writers believe McGeary will get back on track at Bellator 194.
Former boxers will collide in the cage as Heather Hardy takes on Ana Julaton. Hardy was undefeated in 21 fights as a professional boxer and is 1-1 thus far with Bellator. Julaton was 14-4-1 in her boxing career and was 2-2 with ONE Championship before losing her Bellator debut. Eight writers are siding with Heather Hardy as she looks to get back in the win column.
Tywan Claxton is a former All-American wrestler at Ohio University and has successfully made the transition to MMA, winning his professional debut with a blistering flying knee knockout. Jose Antonio Perez is 0-1 in his professional career. Cageside Press is unanimously on board Air Claxton.