Bellator 277 Picks For McKee Vs. Pitbull 2 Fight Card

Bellator 277 Picks For McKee Vs. Pitbull 2 Fight Card

Bellator has been away from its hometown of San Jose, California for quite a while. The last time the promotion held a fight card at the SAP Center was September 2021. That fight card was without a single title fight. Bellator is back in San Jose on Friday, April 15 for the Bellator 277 event and that fight card is headlined by two title fights, one of which will also award the winner a $1 million prize.

In the evening's main event, the undefeated AJ McKee defends his Bellator featherweight title against the man he defeated to win that belt, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.

Bellator 277's  co-main event  is the final bout in the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament. In that contest, current and defending light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov puts his title on the line against Corey Anderson. In addition to the 205-pound title, the winner will also take home $1 million.

Before we dig into the top two fights on the Bellator 277 fight card, make sure to check out the best sites for UFC betting  as well as the best-rated Canadian sportsbooks.

Bellator 277

Date & Location: Saturday, April 15 at SAP Center in San Jose, California

Time: Main card: 10 p.m. ET, Prelims: 8 p.m.

AJ McKee vs. Patricio "Pitbull" Freire 2 odds

Patricio Friere3.40
AJ McKee1.32

McKee vs. Pitbull 2 pick

The first meeting between AJ McKee and Patricio "Pitbull" Freire took place in July 2021. In that matchup, which headlined Bellator 263, Freire was slightly favored over McKee. However, those odds did not hold. McKee, who has a four-inch height advantage and an eight-inch reach advantage over his opponent, controlled the location and pace of that scrap. McKee did an excellent job of employing his length, via kicks, to keep the then-champion from closing distance and landing power strikes of his own. McKee's physical advantages also helped him to land the devastating head kick that led to the choke that finished the fight in under two minutes.

McKee is 18-0 and he has spent his entire MMA career under the Bellator banner. He is a substantial favorite in this rematch and he deserves the respect the oddsmakers are giving him. Freire, who went unbeaten in seven straight title fights between 2017 and 2021 (in two weight classes) is an extremely capable and talented fighter who has been at the top of his class in Bellator for years. However, his length of service with the organization has its downsides as well. Namely, young up-and-coming fighters like McKee have been training to face — and defeat him — since they started in the sport of MMA.

McKee’s physical advantages, his well-rounded fight game and the knowledge he has gained from watching the 32-5 Freire over the years are simply too much for Freire to overcome.

I expect a more competitive fight in the rematch because Freire will also have some information to improve on thanks to the brief first bout between these two, but I don't expect a different outcome.

Pick: AJ McKee to beat Patricio Pitbull

AJ McKee To beat Patricio 'Pitbull'

Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson odds

Corey Anderson2.45
Vadim Nemkov1.55

Nemkov vs. Anderson pick

The Bellator light heavyweight crown and $1 million are on the line in the co-main event of Bellator 277. This is a very interesting matchup. In the evening's co-headliner, Vadim Nemkov, who won the Bellator light heavyweight title in August 2020 with a TKO win over Ryan Bader, faces Corey Anderson, who is coming off a October 2021 TKO win over Bader.

Since he signed with Bellator in 2017, Nemkov has defeated some of the biggest names in the division, including former Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis on two occasions. Nemkov is 7-0 with the promotion and 15-2 overall. His two previous wins in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix were his first two title defenses. The first of those two triumphs was an April 2021 decision win over Davis. Nemkov's most recent win was a October 2021 submission win over Julius Anglickas.

Anderson, who is a former highly-ranked UFC fighter, is 3-0 since he moved to Bellator in 2020. He has a career record of 16-5. Anderson finished his UFC career on a 4-1 run. He was not cut from the promotion, instead, he asked — and was granted — his release from the promotion. Anderson, who has a reputation as a grappler, has three TKO wins in three Bellator fights.

Anderson is a good fighter with a solid toolbox. He has the skills needed to pull off the upset in this fight, but to do so, he needs to dominate Nemkov over 25 minutes. His best route toward that goal is via his wrestling skills. That’s a tall order and I don't think Anderson will be able to accomplish that.

Pick: Vadim Nemkov to defeat Corey Anderson.

Vadim Nemkov To beat Corey Anderson

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