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Bellator 253 Odds, Picks & Betting Preview – Caldwell vs McKee

Cole Shelton

by Cole Shelton in Mixed Martial Arts

Nov 17, 2020 · 9:31 AM PST

Bellator 253
Darrion Caldwell takes on A.J. McKee in the main event of Bellator 253.
  • Caldwell and McKee fight in the semis of the featherweight grand prix
  • Can Caldwell end the hype of McKee and hand him his first loss?
  • See the odds, picks, and betting preview for the full Bellator 253 main card, below

Bellator MMA remains in Uncasville, Connecticut for Bellator 253 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at the Mohegan Sun.

In the main event, former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell battles undefeated prospect A.J. McKee in the semifinals of the featherweight grand prix. The co-main event sees former UFC champion Benson Henderson moves back up to welterweight to battle Jason Jackson.

Bellator 253 main card airs live on CBS Sports Network and DAZN in Canada at 7:00 PM EST. The table below shows odds for the main card followed by best bets for the event.

Bellator 253 Odds

Fighter Odds at DraftKings
Darrion Caldwell +175
A.J. McKee -225
Fighter Odds
Benson Henderson +145
Jason Jackson -182
Fighter Odds
Joey Davis -360
Bobby Lee +265

Odds taken Nov. 17

Does McKee Remain Undefeated?

This is one of the best fights Bellator can put on at featherweight except for McKee vs the champ Patricio Pitbull, which could happen if both men win their semifinal matchups.

Caldwell & McKee Recent Fights

Caldwell
VS
McKee

Adam Borics, win by submission Fight 1 Derek Campos, win by submission
Henry Corrales, win by decision Fight 2 Georgia Karakhanyan, win by KO
Kyoji Horiguchi, loss by decision (title fight) Fight 3 Pat Curran, win by decision
Kyoji Horiguchi, loss by submission (title fight) Fight 4 Daniel Crawford, win by submission

To me, this is the first real tough test for A.J. McKee to see if he is the real deal. McKee has looked impressive in his Bellator tenure and some consider him the best prospect in all of MMA. But, against Caldwell, he will fight a former NCAA wrestling champion who will test McKee’s takedown defense. It will also be the first time the 25-year-old fights a five-round fight.

Caldwell vs McKee Stats

Caldwell
VS
McKee

32 Age 25
5’10” Height 5’10”
74″ Reach 73.5″
6 Bellator finishes 11

Early on, I do expect Caldwell to have success with his wrestling and pressure. When Caldwell gets on top of you, it is hard to deal with, but McKee has solid jiu-jitsu and wrestling that I do think he will survive the early onslaught by the former bantamweight champion.

However, a major knock is Caldwell’s cardio, which I do think will hinder him here. I expect Caldwell to win the first and second round. Yet, he will start to fade, and McKee will start picking him apart on the feet. He’ll eventually rock him and finish him by TKO in the fourth round to advance to the finals of the grand prix.

Pick: A.J. McKee (-225)

Will Jackson Pick Up The Biggest Win Of His Career?

Benson Henderson is moving back up to welterweight to battle one of the top prospects in the division in Jason Jackson.

Henderson & Jackson Recent Fights

Henderson
VS
Jackson

Michael Chandler, loss by KO Fight 1 Jordan Mein, win by decision
Myles Jury, win by decision Fight 2 Kiichi Kunimoto, win by decision
Adam Piccolotti, win by split decision Fight 3 Ed Ruth, loss by split decision
Saad Awad, win by decision Fight 4 Hemerson Souza, win by split decision (LFA title fight)

This is phenomenal matchmaking by Bellator to see if Jason Jackson is as good as many think he is. He is the former LFA welterweight champion and beat UFC veteran Jordan Mein last time out, but now gets a tough test in Benson Henderson.

This will be a striking matchup. I like Henderson to be more active and mix in the odd takedown to outpoint Jackson and win a decision.

Pick: Benson Henderson (+145)

Other Bellator 253 Pick:

  1. Joey Davis (-360): Davis will use his wrestling to get the fight to the ground and submit Lee to remain undefeated.
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