Bellator 216 continues a weekend full of fights with a fight featured in the Welterweight Grand Prix, and Cageside Press has their picks set.

Staff Writers
Loureda vs. Fletcher
Amosov vs. Silva
Kongo vs. Minakov
Cro Cop vs. Nelson
Page vs. Daley
Drake Riggs (19-2)
Jason Payne (19-2)
Jay Anderson (18-3)
Mike McClory (5-1)
Paarth Pande (17-4)
Heath Harshman (16-5)
Alex Scaffidi (16-5)
Josh Evanoff (16-5)
Joe McDonagh (16-5)
Ben Smith (3-1)
Gabriel Gonzalez (15-6)
Mike Straus (15-6)
Steve King (14-7)
Jesse Gillette (14-7)
Shawn Bitter (14-7)
Eddie Law (13-8)
Dan Doherty (12-9)
Rodney James Edgar (1-3)

Bellator 216 is headlined by a highly-anticipated matchup between Michael Page and Paul Daley, which is a first round fight in the Welterweight Grand Prix. Daley is 6-3 overall in Bellator with five knockouts, looking to bounce back from a tough loss to Jon Fitch in his last outing. Page is an undefeated striking specialist who will be facing his toughest test yet in this bout. Of his nine wins in the promotion, six of them are by knockout. Cageside Press sided with Page ever so slightly with a 10-8 margin.

The co-main event is the promotional debut of the legendary Mirko Cro Cop as he seeks revenge against Roy Nelson. The two first met in the UFC back in 2011, with Nelson winning in what ended up being Cro Cop’s final fight in the UFC (until his triumphant return back in 2015). Cro Cop is 10-1 since their first fight, with all of those wins coming via stoppage, including winning the RIZIN Openweight Grand Prix in 2016. Nelson, on the other hand, is 7-10 since their first bout, and is 1-2 in Bellator. 14 writers picked Cro Cop in the co-main event.

A heavyweight title eliminator is featured on the main card, as Cheick Kongo is finally one fight away from a title shot. He’ll just have to get past the undefeated former heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov, who is making his long-awaited return to the promotion after leaving with the belt in 2014 (after defending against Kongo, coincidentally). Kongo has been tearing it up, winning seven fights in a row, knocking out his last two opponents in the first round. 12 of 18 writers went with the former champion Minakov.

UFC veteran Erick Silva will be making his promotional debut taking on the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov. Amosov is 20-0 in his career and successfully made his promotional debut in his last bout by defeating another UFC veteran in Gerald Harris. Silva’s finishing ability made him a top prospect in the UFC at the start of the decade. However, he simply could not earn that next-level victory to push him over the edge. The Brazilian went an even 7-7 in the Octagon (one loss was a disqualification that followed a first-minute knockout) which led to his release from the promotion. After picking up a win in LFA, Silva has joined Bellator. Amosov was picked by 12 of 18 writers.

Opening up the Bellator 216 main card will be the anticipated debut of Valerie Loureda against Colby Fletcher. Loureda is a taekwondo specialist, reaching the 4th Dan level, which is a designation for masters, at only 20-years-old. This will be her professional debut. Fletcher last fought in MMA in 2015, going 1-2 including a bout against UFC contender Montana De La Rosa. Since then, she’s had three professional boxing fights under her belt before returning to the cage tonight. All but one writer picked Loureda.

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