- Date & Location: Friday, April 9 @ Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
- Odds: Ryan Bader (-290) va. Lyoto Machida (+230) via BetOnline
- Prediction: Bader via decision.
It’s been almost nine years since Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida first met. That fight, which took place under the UFC banner, ended with Machida getting his hand raised in victory following a second-round knockout. Machida’s win came eight months after UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who was in his first run as the 205-pound titleholder, choked Machida unconscious. Bader was on a two-fight winning streak heading into that contest. Machida was a -370 favorite entering the first meeting between these two, while Bader was a +230 underdog.
Friday’s matchup is a quarterfinal scrap in the Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix. Bader, who is the Bellator heavyweight champion, is coming off an August 2020 knockout loss to Vadim Nemkov. That setback cost Bader the 205-pound crown and ended his eight-fight unbeaten streak.
Machida is on a two-fight-losing skid. He dropped split decisions to Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis in his two most recent outings and is 4-5 in his past nine fights.
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BADER vs. MACHIDA 2 PREDICTION & PICK
A lot has changed since these two men first met. First, Bader has found a great deal of success with Bellator, while time has not been as kind to his 42-year-old opponent. Second, Bader has become a better fighter over that time and the odds are excellent he won’t rush in with his chin exposed like he did the first time these two faced off.
Machida is an extraordinary counter striker, something Bader found out in 2012. I don’t expect Bader to give the Brazilian an opening to use those counters. I also think Bader will keep his distance as much as possible to avoid getting blitzed by Machida, who, along with his countering, attacks with a blitzing style at times.
At 37, Bader has retained much of his power and speed and he’s also become a more patient and intelligent fighter over the years. I think he will be patient in this fight and wait for openings to develop and then look to use his speed and power to exploit Machida’s fading skills.
Prediction: Bader -305 via Bovada.
BETTING VALUE WITH BADER
At around -300, Bader does not present a great value to bet as a straight win, but that’s the safe bet here for sure. Bader has the power to score a knockout and Machida is fading, but he has only been stopped by strikes three times in his career and two of those losses came in back-to-back contests in 2015 and 2017 two fighters not unlike Bader, wrestlers with striking skills. With that, a bet for Bader to win via knockout is not out of the question.
However, as I state above, I think we will see a more reserved Bader in this fight to avoid the counters of his opponent.
It’s those counters that could gain Machida some interest, but I don’t think Bader will provide as much of an opening as he did the first time these two met. If Machida wins, I think it will be via knockout, but that’s a long shot and a risky bet.
Pick Bader via decision -300 at BetUS.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Bader remains at the top of his game heading into this fight, while Machida is on the downside of his career. Bader also has the advantage of experience in this contest. He knows what Machida likes to do and what he can do. Machida has not altered his style much throughout his career and with that, Bader has an excellent blueprint to follow to get the win.
FIGHT STATS: BADER vs. MACHIDA 2
|Ryan Bader||Category||Lyoto Machida|
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
With this being the opening round of the Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix, the winner moves on to face the victor of the upcoming Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov scrap. The other matchups in the first round of the Grand Prix are Vadim Nemkov, who holds the 205-pound title, against Phil Davis and Anthony Johnson vs. Yoel Romero.
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