The day has come for Bellator 206.
Tonight (Sept. 29), Bellator 206 will take place inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California. It’ll be the promotion’s debut on the DAZN sports streaming service. Headlining the card will be a champion vs. champion bout between middleweight title holder Gegard Mousasi and welterweight king Rory MacDonald. The co-main event will feature the fourth bout between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva.
Is it time for Bellator’s first two-division champion? Can “Rampage” tie the series with Silva at 2-2? Let’s dive into the Bellator 206 predictions:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald
Bellator really did hit a homerun booking this fight. These are two champions in their prime who are very evenly matched. In fact, many who are picking Mousasi to earn the victory here do so based on size alone since the two are so well-rounded. We very well could be in for a chess match.
MacDonald leaves many openings, but you won’t be putting him away easily. While that could be a field day for Mousasi, “The Dreamcatcher” isn’t one to rush things. He might use the same strategy that Douglas Lima did and that is to attack the legs of MacDonald with kicks. If he goes that route and “Red King” doesn’t adjust, then I think Mousasi will find even greater success with it due to his high-level kickboxing.
On the flip side, Mousasi will want to make sure he doesn’t leave himself open to the jab. MacDonald learned well from Georges St-Pierre and has one of the best jabs in the welterweight division. If “Red King” can keep his distance, then it may disrupt Mousasi’s patience.
I believe if this fight gets stopped, it’ll be in the later rounds. I can see Mousasi getting hit with a few jabs but I do believe he can break down MacDonald with some kicks. Due to his size, he may be able to outmuscle MacDonald in the grappling department as well. I’m gonna take Mousasi here.
Prediction: Gegard Mousasi
Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva
I don’t think anyone expected to see a heavyweight bout between Jackson and Silva in 2018, but here we are. At this stage in their careers, this fight may end in either a first-round knockout, or a decision with both men slowing down considerably throughout the fight. Both men will be happy to know that unlike their previous bouts, they won’t have to worry much about being on their backs for three rounds.
Despite “Rampage” and Silva being 40 years old or greater, they still have the ability to knock out anyone. Jackson is notorious for his counter punching, while Silva has no issue charging at his opponents. Jackson is certainly a step slower than what he once was, but if he catches Silva clean then it’s safe to say it’ll be game over. I’ll take Jackson for the quick finish.
Prediction: Quinton Jackson
Douglas Lima vs. Andrey Koreshkov
If I were a betting man, this is not the fight I’d bet on. This will be the third fight between Lima and Koreshkov. Lima lost the first fight via unanimous decision, but knocked out Koreshkov in their rematch to capture the Bellator welterweight title. Make no mistake about it, these are two high-level 170-pounders in any promotion.
I think this one goes the distance and it could be a very close match-up. Lima’s grappling has improved significantly since his first fight with Koreshkov, but I think it’ll still play in the hands of “The Spartan.” I believe Koreshkov will avoid that big shot and utilize his striking and grappling to edge out Lima in the rubber match.
Prediction: Andrey Koreshkov
Aaron Pico vs. Leandro Higo
Pico is so talented that his hype train is stronger than ever despite being submitted in 24 seconds in his professional mixed martial arts debut. Since that unfortunate outing against Zach Freeman, Pico has been on a roll. He’s gone 3-0 since the loss, finishing Justin Linn, Shane Krutchen, and Lee Morrison all in highlight reel fashion. Higo will be a stern test.
Higo trains alongside the “Pitbull Brothers,” so he’s always aiming for championship gold. Higo fell short in his bid for championship gold against Darrion Caldwell in just his fourth pro MMA loss. Higo has a solid ground game and Pico will want to make sure he doesn’t fall into a guillotine. He’ll also want to ensure that his defense is on point, as Higo will likely hop on a choke if Pico gets rocked just like Freeman did. In the end, I see Pico utilizing his stellar wrestling to avoid danger on the ground and even surprise Higo on the feet.
Prediction: Aaron Pico
Keri Melendez vs. Dakota Zimmerman
On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Melendez has a pro MMA record of 2-0 and has pro and amateur Muay Thai experience. Melendez has also had a successful pro kickboxing bout. Zimmerman is making her pro MMA debut and is 1-1 as an amateur. She also hasn’t competed in MMA since May 2016. She did, however, have a Golden Gloves boxing match.
I think this will be a showcase bout for Melendez. She is developing nicely and this is the right fight for her early in her pro MMA career. I think we’ll see another first-round finish from Melendez.
Prediction: Keri Melendez
Gaston Bolanos vs. Ysidro Gutierrez
This is a huge opportunity for Bolanos and Gutierrez. Both men are still young in their careers with Bolanos holding a 3-1 record and Gutierrez sitting at 4-2. Bellator’s featherweight division needs new blood and with A.J. McKee rising, the promotion is hoping another potential 145-pound star emerges here.
What Bolanos brings to the table is an exciting standup game. All three of his wins have come by knockout or TKO in the first round. Gutierrez’s style is the complete opposite as he’s willing to grind it out for three rounds to get a win. I think Bolanos keeps it standing and ends Gutierrez’s night early.
Prediction: Gaston Bolanos
That does it for our Bellator 206 predictions. Be sure to join us for live coverage of Bellator 206 tonight starting with the prelims at 8 p.m. ET.