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Bellator 199 predictions

Ryan Bader fights Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 199.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bellator is going head-to-head with the UFC this Saturday and they’re bringing a solid card to the competition. Bellator 199, headlined by a the quarterfinal bout of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix involving Ryan Bader and Muhammed Lawal, also features the promotional debut of Jon Fitch against exciting striker Paul Daley, Aaron Pico’s fourth MMA bout against Lee Morrison, and a fun lightweight contest between talented grapplers Adam Piccolotti and Carrington Banks.

What: Bellator 193

Where: The SAP Center in San Jose, California.

When: Saturday, May 12. The 10-fight preliminary card begins at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the five-fight main card begins at 9:00 p.m. ET on Paramount Network

Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal

Interesting fight. I feel like this one can be hit or miss as far as excitement and action goes. Both of these guys have great skills and athletic abilities, but given their styles, they might cancel each other out in the fight.

Ryan Bader, the current Bellator light heavyweight champ, is a strong wrestler with solid boxing skills. Bader’s best weapon is his wrestling and top control, but he has relied only on his striking in past bouts against wrestlers and has found success with it.

Muhammed Lawal is not much different than Bader as far as skills go. Lawal has good boxing and a strong wrestling game. Like Bader, Lawal is a great athlete. He’s strong, explosive, and well conditioned.

I think this fight can go either way, but I favor Bader here. The Bellator light heavyweight champ has a big size advantage, plus better movement and fluidity on the feet. In the grappling department, both guys are pretty even, so I think striking will be key here. I see this being a decision win for Bader.

Pick: Bader

Jon Fitch vs. Paul Daley

This one is a classic striker vs. wrestler matchup.

Paul Daley is a fantastic striker with a varied attack. He has clean technique, speed, and plenty of power behind his striking. The British fighter is also very experienced and does a good job at keeping fights on the feet.

Jon Fitch is another seasoned veteran. The former UFC title challenger is a gritty fighter with good wrestling and tight top control. Fitch’s wrestling is good, but what makes it so effective is his persistence and relentless pace. Fitch is constantly working for a takedown.

Daley has the power to put away almost anyone, so you can never really count him out of a fight. But if you’ve followed his career, Daley usually has issues with strong wrestlers. I think this is Fitch’s fight to win. His pressure and takedowns should get him a win against Daley.

Pick: Fitch

Aaron Pico vs. Lee Morrison

I think Bellator is taking a gamble matching up one of their brightest prospects Aaron Pico against Lee Morrison.

We know Aaron Pico has great wrestling and boxing backgrounds, and we also know that Pico can translate those skills well in MMA. What Pico is mostly missing is ring time and experience in MMA. But other than that, Pico is a very skilled fighter and a fantastic athlete.

Lee Morrison has the experience Pico is looking build. Morrison has an extensive record of 18-8 and has fought in a big stage before, having competed for M-1 Global. Morrison is also very well rounded. He can strike and grapple well.

This is a tough call. I think this will be a very competitive bout, and I’m not sure who’s going to take it. I think Pico is a bit more skilled and a better than Morrison. Yet, Morrison’s ability to be a threat on the feet and ground, plus his experience, has me a bit hesitant to pick Pico.

Pick: Pico

Cheick Kongo vs. Javy Ayala

Remember, Cheick Kongo and Javy Ayala are alternates for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, so there’s that. I think it adds a bit more relevancy to the fight.

Kongo is powerful, experienced, and wrestles well. At this point in his career, Kongo oftens looks to avoid striking and implements his wrestling game. Meanwhile, Ayala is a solid striker who has respectable power. Ayala also has good wrestling and top control, but probably not as dominant as Kongo’s.

Kongo has had a suspect chin in the past but Ayala has been taken down and controlled before. Both guys can win here, but I think Kongo will earn another decision.

Pick: Kongo

Adam Piccolotti vs. Carrington Banks

Very interesting fight, and very underrated too. Carrington Banks is a solid Bellator prospect and he’s facing a tough test in Adam Piccolotti.

I think this fight will be mostly contested on the ground given Banks’ wrestling skills. Piccolotti has great jiu-jitsu, but I think Banks can overpower his way out of any danger. Banks is too dominant on the ground and he’s a far more powerful athlete than Piccolotti. I do think Piccolotti will have a slight edge with his experience and striking, but not enough to get him the victory.

Pick: Banks

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