Date & Location: Saturday, April 23 @ Neal S. Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii
Time: Prelims TBA, Main Card 10:30 p.m. ET
How to Watch: Showtime
Bellator heads to Hawaii for the second time in two years for Saturday’s Bellator 279 fight card. A women’s featherweight title fight and two quarterfinal bouts in the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix Tournament headline the card. One of the 135-pound bouts will crown the interim bantamweight champ.
The main event at Bellator 279 is a rematch between Bellator women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg and Arlene Blencowe. According to the official Bellator rankings, Blencowe is the No. 6 ranked fighter in the women’s 145-pound division.
In Saturday’s co-headliner, former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta, who is the No. 1 ranked Bellator 135-pounder, faces the No. 3 ranked Raufeon Stots. The winner of this bantamweight Grand Prix contest will be crowned the interim bantamweight champ.
Also part of the Grand Prix is the contest between former Bellator bantamweight titleholder Kyoji Horiguchi, who is the No. 5 ranked Bellator 135-pounder and former title challenger Patchy Mix, who is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the division.
Bellator 279 Main Event odds
Cyborg vs. Blencowe prediction and pick
Cris Cyborg (25-2-0-1) won the Bellator Women’s Featherweight title by knocking out Julia Budd in the fourth round of their January 2020 fight. She has defended the title three times since that win. Each of those bouts ended via stoppage. Cyborg submitted Arlene Blencowe in the second round of their October 2020 matchup.
Blencowe (15-8) rebounded from her loss to Cyborg with two wins and those victories earned her a second crack at Cyborg.
Cyborg is best known for her striking, but she has an effective and underrated grappling and submission game. Cyborg is better than Blencowe in every aspect of the fight game and the more balanced approach she has displayed in the cage in recent years gives her more routes to victory in this contest.
Pick: Cyborg to defeat Blencowe.
Bellator 279 Co-Main Event odds
Archuleta vs. Stots prediction and pick
The quarterfinals of the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix Tournament kick off at Bellator 279. Current bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis was forced out of the tournament due to injury and with that, Bellator puts an interim title on the line in Hawaii. Juan Archuleta (25-3) and Raufeon Stots (17-1) fight for that belt.
This matchup is Archuleta’s first fight since he lost the title to Pettis in May 2021. Meanwhile, Stots is riding a nine-fight winning streak. He is coming off an August decision win over Magomed Magomedov.
This bout will be decided by who has the better wrestling. All signs point to that fighter being Stots. Archuleta is the better striker here, but he has not been unable to implement his striking against tougher opponents.
Pick: Stots to defeat Archuleta.
Horiguchi vs. Mix odds
Horiguchi vs. Mix prediction and pick
Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4) won the Bellator bantamweight title in June 2019, but injuries prevented him from defending the belt. Horiguchi had the chance to regain the title in December of last year, but Sergio Pettis knocked him out with a spinning backfist in the fourth round. Before that, Horiguchi looked like he was on his way to regaining the title.
Mix (15-1) is coming off a November submission win over James Gallagher. Mix fought for the Bellator bantamweight belt in September 2020, but he lost via decision to Archuleta.
Horiguchi is one of the most underrated talents in MMA. He is a much more well-rounded fighter than Mix and he should get the win in Hawaii and move on to the semifinals in the Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Pick: Horiguchi to defeat Mix.
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