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Two unanimous picks in Sioux Falls

By |Published On: August 11, 2022|1 Comment|

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Bellator returns to South Dakota this week with a welterweight bout atop the card, plus two former champions and a recent title challenger on the bill.

Bellator 284 takes place Friday at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, Neiman Gracie (11-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) takes on first-time Bellator headliner Goiti Yamauchi (27-5 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) at welterweight. Gracie is a -200 favorite at Tipico Sportsbook; the comeback on Yamauchi is +150. Our 11 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers have Gracie as one of two unanimous picks on the main card – but in a rarity, our readers disagree and are backing Yamauchi at a big 58 percent clip.

In the co-feature, former interim heavyweight champion Valentin Moldavsky (11-2 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) takes on unbeaten up-and-comer Steve Mowry (10-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA). Moldavsky is more than a 2-1 favorite at the betting window, but he has the narrowest possible edge over Mowry in the picks at 6-5.

Also on the main card, Bruna Ellen (6-3 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) takes on former women’s flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-2 MMA, 10-2 BMMA), who is fighting outside her native Hawaii or homebase of California for just the second time in nearly five years. Macfarlane is a slight favorite at -135, but is a near-unanimous pick with our staff members at 10-1. (It should be noted Macfarlane missed weight for for the first time in her MMA career. She came in at 129 pounds at Thursday’s weigh-ins.)

Gokhan Saricam (7-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) is a 2-1 favorite in his heavyweight bout against Said Sowma (8-3 MMA, 2-2 BMMA), and he’s got a blowout from our pickers at 9-2.

And to open the main card, our second unanimous pick is recent middleweight title challenger Austin Vanderford (11-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA), who is a -200 favorite against late replacement opponent Aaron Jeffery (12-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA). Vanderford has an 11-0 shutout from our staff members.

In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Yamauchi (58 percent), Mowry (61 percent), Macfarlane (79 percent), Saricam (62 percent) and Vanderford (68 percent) are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 284.

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