Bellator 244 kicks off a weekend of fights as the light heavyweight title will be on the line. Cageside Press has its picks set.

Staff Writers
Salter vs. Kapel
Nelson vs. Moldavsky
Budd vs. Miele
Bader vs. Nemkov
Ryan Fortune (84-45)
Jay Anderson (80-49)
Joe McDonagh (76-53)
Dan Doherty (67-57)
Josh Evanoff (69-60)
Dylan Bowker (60-55)
Gabriel Gonzalez (67-62)
Justin Gibbons (48-45)

The main event of Bellator 244 features Ryan Bader returning to light heavyweight to defend one of his two titles against Vadim Nemkov. Dating back to his UFC days, Bader has won 12 of his last 13 fights including Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix. Nemkov is on a six-fight win streak and holds impressive wins over Phil Davis, Liam McGeary, and current UFC heavyweight Philipe Lins. All but two writers picked Bader to defend the belt.

Former featherweight champion Julia Budd will give Jessy Miele a step up in competition. Budd dominated the promotion with a 7-0 record before Cris Cyborg stopped her run, taking the title in the process. Miele is on a four-fight win streak with a pair of stoppages and defeated Talita Nogueira in her Bellator debut. Budd was unanimously picked.

Valentin Moldavsky will look to continue to ascend the heavyweight ranks against Roy Nelson. Since falling in the RIZIN Openweight Grand Prix semifinals (the only loss of his career), Moldavsky has rattled off four straight wins. Nelson’s record isn’t as pretty, going 4-11 dating back to 2013. He’s currently on a four-fight losing streak. Moldavsky was unanimously picked.

John Salter takes on Andrew Kapel to open the main card. Salter is 7-1 with six stoppages since joining Bellator with the only loss coming to middleweight champion Rafael Lovato Jr. Kapel made his mark with a first round knockout against King Mo Lawal in his promotional debut last November. Salter was unanimously picked.