On Friday, April 16th, Bellator will be live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, for Bellator 257: Nemkov vs Davis II. This main event rematch will be an opening round bout in the light heavyweight grand prix.
The co-featured bout for the evening is a second light heavyweight grand prix opening round fight as Corey Anderson takes on Dovletdzhan Yagshimiradov. Also on the card are notable fighters like Julia Budd, Paula Daley and Pedro Carvalho.
In total, Bellator 257 is scheduled to have 13 fights with a prelim start time of 6pm ET and a main card start time of 9pm ET.
As of this writing, Bellator betting sites have released odds for a few of the Bellator 257 bouts. I expect more odds to become available as we get closer to fight night.
Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine the odds, identify any betting value, and full mount this betting predictions.
Bellator 257 features a nine fight preliminary card that begins at 6pm ET on various online platforms:
Lance Gibson vs Marcus Surin
Lance Gibson (-285)
Marcus Surin (+225)
Gibson is making his second trip into the Bellator cage and hasn’t fought since October 2019 when he beat Dominic Jones via 1st round KO. All three of his wins have come via stoppage with two via TKO/KO. He’s giving up a few inches in height and reach to Surin.
Marcus Surin joined Bellator in the fall of 2017 and has gone 2-2 since then. He last fought in October 2019 and lost via submission to Devin Powell. The loss snapped a two fight winning streak.
Four of his six pro wins have come via stoppage with two apiece for TKO/KO and submission.
I like Gibson to pick up the victory in this contest. He has a higher ceiling than Surin and I see the Canadian picking up the victory via stoppage late in this contest.
Lance Gibson vs Marcus Surin –Gibson (-285)
Grachiya Bozinyan vs Demarques Jackson
Grachiya Bozinyan (+120)
Demarques Jackson (-150)
Bozinyan last fought in November 2019 when he made his Bellator debut. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as expected as he lost via decision. The Russian fighter has dropped two bouts in a row. All 10 of his pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission.
Jackson made a quick stop in Bellator nearly three years ago where he beat Bryce Logan via split decision. He would then go back to LFA. Jackson last fought in August 2020 and beat Adrian Hadribeaj via 1st round submission. The win snapped a two fight losing streak.
Seven of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 4-2 when going the distance.
I like Bozinyan in this contest. I believe he will bounce back from his last fight and prove that he’s a solid prospect by picking up a solid win over Jackson. With odds of +120 from online sportsbooks, I’m definitely taking Boxinyan.
Grachiya Bozinyan vs Demarques Jackson –Bozinyan (+120)
Steve Mowry vs Shaun Asher
Steve Mowry (NA)
Shaun Asher (NA)
Asher makes his promotional debut this weekend, but hasn’t fought since September 2016. He bounced around different promotions before his near five year hiatus.
Eight of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-0-1 when going the distance.
Mowry will step inside the Bellator cage for the 5th time in his career. He’s 4-0 in the promotion and last fought in October 2020 where he beat Shawn Teed via 1st round TKO. All four of his Bellator wins have come via stoppage.
In fact, all eight of his pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. I see no reason to think that his streak of stopping his opponents will come to an end this weekend.
Take Mowry to win via submission as his opponent Asher has suffered all three of his pro losses via submission.
Steve Mowry vs Shaun Asher –Mowry (NA)
John de Jesus vs Alfred Kashakyan
John de Jesus (NA)
Alfred Kashakyan (NA)
John de Jesus will make his third trip inside the Bellator cage where he’s 1-1 so far. He debuted in August 2020 and won via decision, but ended up getting knocked out by Aaron Pico last November. The loss snapped a three fight win streak.
Seven of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 6-4 when going the distance.
Kashakyan had won three straight fights to earn a shot with Bellator, but came up short in his debut 15 months ago when he lost to Sergio Pettis via 1st round submission. All 11 of his pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 0-2 when going the distance.
Take Kashakyan in this contest. He’s the better fighter between the two and I expect him to pick up the win with an emphatic TKO/KO.
John de Jesus vs Alfred Kashakyan –Kashakyan (NA)
Julius Anglickas vs Gregory Milliard
Julius Anglickas (NA)
Gregory Milliard (NA)
Anglickas has won eight straight fights which includes his Bellator debut in November 2019. He also scored a 3rd round submission win on DWCS in August 2019 but wasn’t offered a contract at the time.
Anglickas is 2-0 in Bellator with his last fight coming in November 2020. He beat Alex Polizzi via unanimous decision. Seven of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. He’s 2-0 when going the distance.
Milliard rides a four fight win streak into Bellator 257. This is technically his second stint with the company as he fought for the promotion in 2012-13 where he went 1-1.
Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-3 when going the distance.
I see this contest going the distance where it will be a close score with the judges. As for the winner, I like Anglickas in this matchup.
Julius Anglickas vs Gregory Milliard –Anglickas (NA)
Saul Rogers vs Mads Burnell
Saul Rogers (+175)
Mads Burnell (-215)
Rogers is making his 4th trip inside the Bellator cage where he’s 2-1 overall. He debuted in May 2019 with a decision win over Aiden Lee before losing to Daniel Weichel via decision in the fall of 2019. He last fought in October 2020 and won via 1st round submission over Arbi Mezhidov.
10 of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of submission. He’s 4-1 when going the distance.
Burnell departed from the UFC three years ago after going 1-2 inside the octagon. Since then, he’s won five straight fights including his Bellator debut last October via 1st round TKO over Darko Banovic. The other four wins were in Cage Warriors.
Nine of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of submission. He’s 5-0 when going the distance.
I’m taking Burnell in this contest. I believe this should be an entertaining bout, but Burnell has impressed me more as of late than Rogers has. The 27 year old fighter from Denmark should be able to pick up the win via decision.
I expect him to move up from his ranking of 10th in the featherweight division after this solid victory on Friday night.
Saul Rogers vs Mads Burnell –Burnell (-215)
Pedro Carvalho vs Jay-Jay Wilson
Pedro Carvalho (-135)
Jay-Jay Wilson (+105)
This is a Top 7 featherweight fight where the 7th ranked Jay-Jay Wilson looks to move up the ladder against the 4th ranked Pedro Carvalho.
Wilson is unbeaten in his career with six of those fights coming under the Bellator umbrella. He fought three times in 2020 and won all three via different methods of victory. He beat Navarro via submission, Claxton via split decision, and de Bari via KO.
Six of his seven pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. He’s 1-0 when going the distance.
Wilson recognizes that this his toughest fight to date, but feels that he will pick up the victory over Carvalho. Furthermore, he aims to have a world title around his waist by the end of the year:
“This is probably my toughest fight to date, but I feel like I have all of the tools to beat him. He comes in pushing the pace a little too much, so we’re seeing all his holes and we’re looking to exploit them. At the end of this year I’m going to have that belt around my waist. With the ranking system, you know where you sit. I know where I am from the title and I know who I have to beat to get a shot at the title.”
Carvalho last fought in November 2020 and lost against Patricio Freire via 1st round KO in the quarterfinals of the featherweight grand prix. The loss snapped a six fight win streak. He’s now 4-1 with Bellator.
Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission. He’s 3-1 when going the distance.
I like this matchup. It’s either going to be a solid bounce back victory for Carvalho or it’s going to be Wilson’s biggest victory to date.
I think Wilson’s grappling will be the difference in this matchup. I’m taking Wilson to pick up the victory via decision as he spends a good amount of time controlling this fight from the mat.
Pedro Carvalho vs Jay-Jay Wilson –Wilson (+105)
Viktor Nemkov vs Karl Albrektsson
Viktor Nemkov (-205)
Karl Albrektsson (+165)
Viktor Nemkov is the older brother of current Bellator light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov. Both brothers compete in the same weight class.
Viktor hasn’t fought since October 2019 where he was bounced from the PFL light heavyweight tournament after a majority draw. The former Russian Combat Sambo Championships gold medalist is unbeaten in his last four contests.
18 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with 13 by way of submission. He’s 12-3-1 when going the distance.
Karl Albrektsson has one Bellator fight under his belt which came in October 2019 where he lost to Phil Davis via 3rd round TKO. He last fought in November 2020 for a regional promotion in his home country of Sweden.
Eight of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-1 when going the distance.
I like this light heavyweight bout to go the full 15 minutes. I expect the older Nemkov to pick up a big win in his promotional debut. Look for Viktor to close the distance and utilize his Sambo skills to get the decision victory.
Viktor Nemkov vs Karl Albrektsson –Nemkov (-205)
Julia Budd vs Dayana Silva
Julia Budd (-700)
Dayana Silva (+500)
In what should be the featured contest of the preliminary card, former Bellator featherweight champ Julia Budd will take on Dayana Silva in her promotional debut.
Silva last competed in September 2019 where she beat Sidy Rocha via unanimous decision. She’s 2-2 in her last four pro fights.
11 of her 14 pro contests have gone to decision where Silva is 7-4 in those bouts. Two of her nine pro wins have come via TKO/KO and she also has one TKO/KO loss.
Featherweight royalty returns as The Jewel is back next week at #Bellator257. Thank you to @JuliaBudd for catching up today ahead of the fight 🙌 She’s welcoming Dayana Silva to Bellator and still feels there’s a whole lot left to prove. Stay tuned 👀 pic.twitter.com/dDVaRJh0Qr
Julia Budd is 4th in the women’s pound for pound list and also ranked 2nd in the featherweight division behind Cyborg who beat her in January 2020 via 4th round TKO.
Budd bounced back from that defeat to Justino by beating Jessy Miele last August. Seven of her 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. She’s 7-0 when going the distance. Budd is 8-1 in Bellator.
Budd, who was happy to get back into the cage and pick up a win over Miele, made the following comments about her opponent Silva:
“I hadn’t seen her on the Bellator roster before they sent me over the contract and told me who I’d be fighting. But at the same time, it doesn’t really bother me that much. I’m down to fight anyone, I’ve never picked my opponents even as champion. So I’m just excited to get in there and make a statement and go from there.”
I believe Budd will make a statement in this contest. Silva is a large underdog for a reason. There is a large disparity between the two regarding overall MMA talent.
I can see Budd scoring a TKO/KO in this contest. But, I think the safe play will be to take the former champ to win via decision. Combined, the two have 18 fights go the distance.
Julia Budd vs Dayana Silva –Budd (-700)
Bellator 257 Main Card
Bellator 257 features a four fight main card that begins at 9pm ET on Showtime:
Paul Daley vs Sabah Homasi
Paul Daley (-180)
Sabah Homasi (+155)
This welterweight matchup has been rebooked three times now as two previous attempts fell apart. This could be Daley’s last MMA fight, but that’s not 100% for sure as of this writing.
Daley is unranked coming into this contest, but has won two fights in a row since losing to Michael Page 26 months ago. He last fought in October 2019 and beat Saad Awad via 2nd round TKO. The prolific striker has 33 TKO/KO wins and is 8-9-2 when going the distance.
Sabah Homasi is currently ranked 8th in the welterweight division as he’s won four straight fights including his first three bouts with Bellator. After dropping three in a row in the UFC, and getting bounced from the promotion, Homasi has turned things around in his career.
12 of his 15 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-1 when going the distance and does have five TKO/KO losses on his resume.
Daley certainly has the ability to put this fight away with a brutal TKO/KO, but I find it hard to put my confidence in “Semtex” since he hasn’t fought since October 2019 and he has one foot out the door.
For Homasi, a win this weekend would really boost his stock, his ranking, and his confidence. If he can get the fight to the mat then he will have an even better chance of winning.
I’m taking Homasi to win via decision on my favorite sports betting app as he avoids Daley’s striking and outlasts the veteran.
Paul Daley vs Sabah Homasi –Homasi (+155)
Veta Arteaga vs Desiree Yanez
Veta Arteaga (+116)
Desiree Yanez (-146)
Arteaga has gone 4-4 inside the Bellator cage since joining the promotion five years ago. She’s dropped two straight fights, but hasn’t competed since December 2019 when she lost to Alejandra Lara via decision. Despite the losses, Arteaga is still ranked 7th in the division.
Six of her nine pro fights have gone the distance. She’s 3-3 in those contests.
Desiree Yanez is making her promotional debut and hasn’t fought since a razor think loss to Melissa Martinez in 2019 for the Combate Americas promotion.
Veta Arteaga and Desiree Yanez matched up again, will fight at Bellator 257 https://t.co/4iAcaQeC2u via @MMAjunkie
Three of her five pro wins have come via stoppage with two by way of TKO/KO. She’s 2-1 when going the distance.
Yanez made the following comments about her Bellator debut:
“Obviously, I’m going to do everything I can to win, because that’s what I want to do, but that’s not like something I’m stressing over. I’m not stressing about winning. I just want to have fun. I want to go enjoy every minute of it. Even if it doesn’t go my way, I still want to go in there and have fun doing it. Because who knows when I’m going to be able to do it again?”
I think the smart plays for this fight are the Over and for the contest to go the distance. I would wait for those bets to be available before taking either fighter’s moneyline.
With that said, I like Arteaga to get the win in this contest via split decision. I see the Bellator veteran doing just enough to get the victory over a tough opponent in Yanez.
Veta Arteaga vs Desiree Yanez –Arteaga (+116)
Corey Anderson vs Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov
Corey Anderson (-170)
Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (+150)
The co-main event is a light heavyweight grand prix matchup between the 3rd ranked Corey Anderson and the debuting Dovletdzhan Yagshimiradov.
Yagshimuradov enters Bellator on an eight fight win streak. He last competed in December 2019 and won via decision for the ACA promotion. 15 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-1-1 when going the distance.
Anderson is 5-1 in his last six pro fights. However, that one loss was a 1st round KO defeat to current UFC light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz 14 months ago. Following that loss, Anderson asked for his UFC release and his request was granted.
Anderson made his Bellator debut in November 2020 and beat Melvin Mahoef via 2nd round TKO. Six of his 14 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 8-1 when going the distance.
Of the four opening grand prix fights, Anderson has the easiest matchup in my opinion. With that said, I’m not sure that he will get the TKO/KO win. Instead, I can see this fight going the distance where Anderson will pick up the unanimous decision victory.
Anderson vs Yagshimuradov –Anderson (-170)
Vadim Nemkov vs Phil Davis
Vadim Nemkov (-220)
Phil Davis (+180)
In the main event of the evening, we have a rematch between the light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov and Phil Davis who’s ranked 2nd in the division.
Their first fight came in November 2018 and Nemkov won via split decision. It was the closest fight of his Bellator tenure.
Davis has won three straight fights since losing to Nemkov. He beat McGeary, Albrektsson, and Machida with his last fight coming in September 2020 against Lyoto.
11 of his 22 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. He’s 11-5 when going the distance and has never been stopped in his career.
Nemkov made his debut for Bellator in the summer of 2017 and quickly defeated Philipe Lins via 1st round KO. He would win three more fights before facing Ryan Bader last August for the title. Nemkov stunned the MMA world by defeating Bader via 2nd round TKO.
It was a great performance by Nemkov and one that Bellator President Scott Coker feels makes Nemkov the best fighter on the plant in the light heavyweight division:
“The way Nemkov dismantled Ryan … maybe Ryan had a bad night, I don’t know. But any fighter who could do what he did to Ryan, the way he did it, it’s a very big accomplishment. Ryan is a great wrestler. And he had a hard time taking him down and keeping him down. He’s young, fast, explosive, can kick, avoid takedowns, and can take you down. He’s a complete fighter. He’s the guy to beat, he’s the guy, and he’s our current champ. He’s the king until he gets de-throned.”
That’s high praise from Coker for Nemkov and it’s hard to argue against it. However, I wouldn’t call him the best at this division in the world. If he wins this tournament then Nemkov will certainly be the best.
With that said, I do believe that Nemkov will win this fight against Davis. If Bader had such a difficult time keeping Nemkov down on the mat then I believe Davis will as well.
I expect Nemkov to outwork and outstrike Davis in this rematch. I believe this bout will go the distance, but I don’t see it being as close in scores as their first bout. Instead, Nemkov will pick up the win via unanimous decision.
I would wait for the odds to come out on some of the props for this fight like the Over/Under, bout going the distance, or Nemkov winning via decision which will probably offer the best value for this tournament fight.
Vadim Nemkov vs Phil Davis –Nemkov (-220)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …