Bellator 195 Betting Picks & Predictions
If you don’t want to wait until Saturday’s UFC 222 card to bet on mixed martial arts, Bellator 195 is on Friday night from WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. It’s headlined by a bout between bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell and contender Leandro Higo. Here’s a look at the main card, which will be shown live on the Paramount Network (formerly Spike). Check back for the latest MMA odds for the upcoming event..
Bellator 195 Betting Picks & Predictions
Darrion Caldwell (11-1) vs. Leandro Higo (18-3)
Caldwell is a former NCAA champion wrestler. He made his bantamweight debut against Rafael Silva on May 15, 2015, at Bellator 137 and won the fight by unanimous decision. In his highest-profile fight to date, Caldwell faced former two-time Bellator champion Joe Warren in the main event at Bellator 151 on March 4, 2016. Caldwell dominated the fight, winning via technical submission due to a rear-naked choke in the first round.
Caldwell then faced Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 159. He lost the bout via guillotine choke in the third round. But Taimanglo missed weight in that bout so they fought again at Bellator 167 and Caldwell won the bout via unanimous decision.
Caldwell was set to face champion Eduardo Dantas for the bantamweight championship at Bellator 177 but an injury forced Caldwell out of the bout. He was replaced by Higo, who lost via split decision in a non-title affair – no belt was on the line because Higo missed weight. Caldwell’s bantamweight title bout against Dantas was rescheduled for Bellator 184. Caldwell won by unanimous decision. He mixed in his wrestling with a steady diet of leg kicks to earn the nod, with one judge rewarding him a lopsided score of 50-45.
How Has Leandro Higo Done Recently?
Higo, from Brazil, bounced back from his loss to Dantas at Bellator 177 with a win at Bellator 184 over Taimanglo to earn a title shot.
“After that fight, I had the impression that I would either fight Caldwell or Joe Warren because he (Warren) was coming off some important wins. So, the only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to face a wrestler. So, I went to the U.S. to train with Eric Barnstein, who was my wrestling coach. I spent a couple of months there just honing my skills and improving and creating a foundation for what was to come. During my time there, I learned that I would be fighting Caldwell for the title,” Higo said, adding there was no way he would miss weight again.
Caldwell has hinted in moving up in weight with a win: “Obviously I have fought at 145 – I’m 5-0 there, and I’m a big 35er, probably the biggest in the world. Going back up to 145, it definitely interests me, it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to once I finish this guy, Leandro Higo, then Michael McDonald. Then I could have a superfight at 145 and beat the champ up there.”
Joe Warren (15-6) vs. Joe Taimanglo (23-8)
Presumably, the winner here would face the Caldwell-Higo winner – if Caldwell doesn’t move up in weight after a win. Warren, 41, has alternated wins and losses in his last seven Bellator outings. Most recently, he outpointed Steve Garcia at Bellator 181, his lone appearance of 2017. Warren has captured titles at both bantamweight and featherweight in Bellator.
Taimanglo enters on a two-fight skid after dropping back-to-back decisions against Higo and Caldwell. Prior to that, the 33-year-old had compiled a four-fight winning streak that included triumphs against Caldwell and former UFC talent Sirwan Kakai.
Warren is a former Greco-Roman wrestling world champion going into his 19th fight under the Bellator umbrella.
“I’m game to fight whoever,” Warren said. “I really don’t care. Any big name that they give me, I’m willing to accept those fights and it’s a better opportunity for me. If it’s an opportunity for the belt it’s great, if not then it’s a chance to beat up whoever they put in front of me.”
Though eight years younger than Warren, Taimanglo has put in more miles, fights and years than his older opponent. “Baby Joe” has 11 more pro fights and has fought professionally five years longer. A cloud that has hovered over Taimanglo’s head in the past is his ability to make weight. He says that’s not a concern this time around.
Emily Ducote (6-3), Kristina Williams (1-0)
It’s a flyweight matchup between these ladies. Ducote is looking to rebound from a fifth-round submission loss to current champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane in a failed bid for Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight title. Prior to the loss, Ducote had racked up Bellator wins over Jessica Middleton and Katy Collins. Williams made her professional debut at October’s Bellator 185 event, heading fellow prospect Heather Hardy her first loss when doctors waved off the fight at the end of the second round.
Ducote looked at Williams’ upset of Hardy and said Williams caught the boxer-turned fighter off guard, which something that won’t happen to the more experienced Ducote.
“In my opinion I think she just outsmarted Heather. It was Heather’s second MMA fight, and in her first fight it was basically a boxing fight inside the MMA cage. You can train kicks and you can train takedowns and you can train grappling and submissions, but the level at which people are doing it to you in training — it can be really hard training, but it is different in the cage. With Heather being so young in MMA, it’s a lesson to be learned,” she said.
Expert Bellator 195 Predictions
Caldwell by KO/TKO over Higo, Warren by submission over Taimanglo, and Ducote wins by decision.