- What: Bellator 296
- Date: Friday, May 12, 2023
- Location: Accor Arena in Paris, France
- Time: Prelims 12 p.m. ET, Main Card 4 p.m. ET
- How to Watch: Prelims (YouTube/Pluto TV), Main Card (Showtime)
On Friday, May 12, Bellator returns to Paris, France for the first time in a year. In the main event of the Bellator 296 fight card, which Showtime will broadcast, the two top-ranked fighters, Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards, in the promotion’s middleweight division face off. The 185-pound scrap could determine the next opponent for current Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen. Below is some background on the event’s headliners before we discuss the Bellator 296 betting breakdown.
Mousasi is a two-time Bellator middleweight champ. His first reign lasted from May 2018 through June 2019. During that time, Mousasi defended his title once. He regained the title in October 2020. Mousasi regained the title in October 2020 but dropped the belt to Eblen in June 2022 after two title defenses. Currently the No. 1 ranked fighter in the official Bellator middleweight rankings, Mousasi, who has a career record of 49-8-2, has not fought since his loss to Eblen.
Edwards, who is the brother of UFC welterweight champ Leon Edwards, has never fought for a Bellator title. He is the No. 2 ranked fighter in Bellator’s 185-pound division. With a record of 11-2, Edwards is riding a two-fight winning streak heading into Friday’s Bellator 296 matchup against Mousasi.
Bellator 296 main event betting picks: Gegard Mousasi vs. Fabian Edwards
|To Win Bellator 296 Main Event|
Gegard Mousasi vs. Fabian Edwards betting breakdown and analysis
Expect the Bellator 296 main event to begin as a striking contest. Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards do their best work at distance on the feet, so a great deal about this bout will be decided by who can establish their range the fastest and who can control where the fight takes place.
Edwards is still relatively green when it comes to high-level MMA. He needs to be aggressive from the start of this fight if he hopes to win. Edwards is the younger fighter, and he has an advantage over his Bellator 296 opponent in speed. He needs to use that edge if he hopes to defeat the much more experienced Mousasi. If Edwards gives Mousasi time and space and lets the former champ control any aspect of the fight, things will go bad for Edwards very quickly.
Mousasi is the better all-around fighter. He can threaten on the feet, but he tends to do his best work when he gets top control on the mat. Edwards does not have great takedown defense and his ability to regain his feet against an opponent with heavy top control is questionable. If Edwards finds himself on the mat, he cannot afford to stay there. If he does, Mousasi will eat him up with ground strikes and submission attempts.
What’s at stake at Bellator 296
There is an excellent chance that the winner of this bout will get the opportunity to face current Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen. Eblen, who won the title in June 2022 with a unanimous decision win over Mousasi, defended his crown in February with a decision win over Anatoly Tokov. The 31-year-old American is 13-0 in his career.
Best Bellator 296 Bets: Mousasi vs. Edwards
Fabian Edwards could be a Bellator champion one day, but his winning streak will end on Friday against Gegard Mousasi. At 30, with just five years of MMA under his belt and not a great deal of high-level MMA experience to his name, Bellator 296 will be the learning experience Edwards needs to take his game to the next level.
Mousasi has the experience, style, and skill to overwhelm Edwards in every aspect of this fight. He will do that. Therefore, the best bet for this matchup is to pick Mousasi to win. However, there is not a lot of value in that Bellator 296 betting pick. With that, the best value bet for the Bellator 296 main event is to pick Mousasi to win via submission, as his ground game will prove to be too much for Edwards in Paris.
Best Bellator 296 Bet: Pick Gegard Mousasi to beat Fabian Edwards via submission.
See below a list of reliable sportsbooks and choose the best one for you.