- The light heavyweight grand prix kicks off on Friday, April 9th, 2021
- Ryan Bader and Lyoto have a rematch nine years in the makings
- See the odds, picks, and betting preview for the full Bellator 256 main card, below
Bellator is back in their bubble at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday, April 9th, for Bellator 256. In the main event, former Bellator light heavyweight and current heavyweight champion Ryan Bader battles Lyoto Machida. The co-main event sees two-time UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche faces former Invicta FC champion, Vanessa Porto.
Bellator 256 airs live on Showtime on April 2, 2021, at 9 PM EST.
Bellator 256 Odds
|Fighter||Odds at DraftKings|
All odds as of April 6
|Bonus: Up to $1,050 Free!||bet now|
|Bonus: $1,000 Risk-Free Bet||bet now|
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Does Bader Exact His Revenge at Bellator 256?
Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida first fought at UFC on FOX 4 on August 4, 2012, with Machida winning by second-round TKO. Since then, both men have gone their own ways, with Bader becoming a champ-champ in Bellator while Machida has had mixed results since losing his UFC light heavyweight title back in 2010.
Bader & Machida Recent Fights
|Vadim Nemkov, loss by TKO (title fight)||Fight 1||Phil Davis, loss by split decision|
|Cheick Kongo, No Contest, eye poke (heavyweight title fight)||Fight 2||Gegard Mousasi, loss by split decision|
|Fedor Emelianenko, win by KO (heavyweight title fight)||Fight 3||Chael Sonnen, win by TKO|
|Matt Mitrione, win by decision||Fight 4||Rafael Carvalho, win by split decision|
Machida could very well be fighting for his job in this grand prix as he is 42-years-old and on a two-fight losing skid and hasn’t been putting on the most exciting fights lately. Bader, meanwhile, looked terrible against Nemkov in his first fight back at light heavyweight since 2017.
In the fight, there is no question what Bader’s game plan will be and that will wrestle Machida early and often. The Brazilian is known for his karate striking style, which could pose some problems for Bader if he can’t take the former UFC champ down.
Bader vs Machida Stats
I don’t expect this fight to be very competitive at all. Bader should be able to take Machida down at will and I also worry about Machida’s cardio to go five rounds as he hasn’t fought a five-round fight since 2018.
Although Bader does have KO power and is a good striker, I don’t think he will want to stand and trade with Machida. He was caught trading with Nemkov in his last fight and got knocked out. In the grand prix as well, you have to remain healthy, and Bader knows that after going through the heavyweight grand prix.
I expect Bader to just wrestle Machida early and often and eventually earn a ground and pound TKO in the middle rounds of the fight.
Pick: Ryan Bader (-345)
Does Carmouche Earn a Title Shot With a Win?
Liz Carmouche made good of her Bellator debut as she submitted DeAnna Bennett in the third round after she was surprisingly released from the UFC after she lost a decision to Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC flyweight title. Vanessa Porto, meanwhile, is set for her Bellator debut after fighting in Invicta FC and becoming the flyweight champ.
Carmouche & Porto Recent Fights
|DeAnna Bennett, win by submission||Fight 1||Karina Rodriguez, win by decision|
|Valentina Shevchenko, loss by decision (title fight)||Fight 2||Pearl Gonzalez, win by decision (title fight)|
|Lucie Pudilova, win by decision||Fight 3||Marina Morais, win by submission|
|Jennifer Maia, win by decision||Fight 4||Milana Dudieva, win TKO|
There is no doubt this should be a number one contender fight at flyweight, with the winner facing Julianna Velasquez. Carmouche has some name value, but Porto finally gets a shot in a major promotion.
In the fight, I expect Carmouche to be able to outstrike Porto and then go in for a takedown and just control the 37-year-old on the ground. Carmouche is better everywhere and will mix in her striking and grappling to win a clear-cut decision.
Pick: Liz Carmouche (-190)
Other Bellator 256 Picks:
- Jeremy Kennedy (-120): This is a phenomenal fight, but I think Kennedy’s wrestling will be the difference as he will earn a decision win.
- Cat Zingano (-770): This is a total mismatch, and Zingano should be able to take Parker down at will and either submit her or ground and pound TKO.