Bellator returns to pay-per-view with a rematch nine years in the making: the Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix quarter-finals begin here. Read on for our complete betting guide. We take a first look at the current Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader versus the challenger Lyoto Machida in the Bellator 256 main event, including updated Bellator odds and our free expert betting predictions.
Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida
Bellator Featherweight Championship Bout
Friday, April 9, 2021 – 11:35 PM at Mohegan Sun Arena
The Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix will kick-start its tournament this Friday evening. Current heavyweight titleholder Ryan ‘Darth’ Bader begins his journey towards a second Bellator championship matches up with former UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida.
A rematch that has taken nine years to materialize will eventually occur, but this time, it’s a Bellator cage the fighters will enter.
Ryan Bader (27-6-0)
37-year-old Ryan Bader has had quite a career in mixed martial arts, beginning his MMA journey with an amateur wrestling career. It was not long before Bader’s wrestling accomplishments allowed him to compete at a higher level, eventually winning two state championships and a top-five ranking in the country.
His wrestling accolades did not stop there; he went on to be a three-time Pac-10 Champion and a two-time All-American as a senior. Once the wrestling career had surpassed his competitive years, Bader joined the Arizona Combat Sports gym in 2007, and he has been training in MMA ever since.
A well-accomplished tenure for the Ultimate Fighting Championship saw Ryan Bader claim a 15-5 record. Still, after defeating the legendary Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, his UFC contract had expired, and the company had no desire in matching an offer that Bader had received from Bellator.
On arrival to the Bellator promotion, Bader was hungry for gold and quickly obtained the light heavyweight title from Phil Davis. Then defeating every opponent in the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix – he became the first simultaneous two-division champion in Bellator history.
Losing his light heavyweight title to Nekmov now has the champ hungry for his lost belt and to seek revenge on Lyoto Machida who knocked him out in 2012.
Ryan Bader MMA Championships and Accomplishments
- Bellator Heavyweight World Championship (one time; current holder)
- Bellator Light Heavyweight World Championship (one time; one successful defence)
- Bellator MMA Heavyweight World Grand Prix Winner
- Second two-division champion in Bellator MMA history
- The Ultimate Fighter 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament Winner
- UFC Submission of the Night (One time)
- UFC Performance of the Night (One Time)
- Tied for the 2nd most Wins in UFC Light Heavyweight history (15)
- NCAA Division I All-American
- Pac-10 Conference Champion
Lyoto Machida (27-6-0)
As a fighter of Japanese and Brazilian heritage, it is no surprise how well-diverse and skilled Lyoto Machida is in the octagon. His father is a Shotokan karate master and moved to Brazil, and with some loving on the table, we were gifted with a baby Lyoto – it took three years on this earth before he was establishing his skill set in karate.
He went on from the karate dojo to refine his MMA skillset in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, sumo wrestling and boxing. You would think that was enough, but Machida travelled to Thailand, where he would also collect some valuable knowledge in the discipline of Muay Thai striking.
Lyoto Machida achieved the ultimate MMA goal by knocking out Rashad Evans to obtain the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, but now aged forty-two, can ‘The Dragon’ claim another piece of silverware for his trophy cabinet?
Machida MMA Championships and Accomplishments
- UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (One time; one defence)
- UFC Knockout of the Night (Four times)
- UFC Fight of the Night (Three times)
- UFC Performance of the Night (Two times)
How Can Machida Win?
A wide karate stance, tiger-like reflexes, and the precision to knock out any opponent have assisted Machida in most of his MMA contests. His ability to strike moving backwards has caused problems for many of his past opponents; unfortunately, ‘The Dragon’ has lost some of his more robust attributes in his old age.
Aged forty-two, his best opportunity to defeat Ryan Bader for a second time will need to resemble his original performance nine years ago – patience! Should Machida lay and prey for the twenty-five allotted time limit, don’t be surprised to see another devasting knockout finish for the legend.
How Can Bader Win?
Since his first meeting with Machida, we should first note the evolution of Ryan Bader’s striking offense. His ability to faint and loop some devasting power over the top has produced knockout victories over remarkable legends like Fedor Emelianenko.
The plan for Bader should be to utilize his high-level wrestling skills, and although we mentioned his striking evolution, it’s not even close to the level of Machida. His most significant chance to finish the fight would be through his ground and pound offence.
Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida Betting Odds Advice
The top sportsbooks' current odds are slightly mismatched, in my opinion, and I understand that Machida does not have the same energy or reactions he once owned. Still, Bader is no spring chicken either – entering this fight after suffering a knockout loss.
Machida’s background in sumo allows for some incredible takedown defense. With a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt around his waist, should the fight hit the mats, he has the bottom game to cause some problems.
In a contest where I believe the odds should be close, I’ll take my chances with half a unit on the underdog. I can envision Machida sprawling the takedown attempts and piecing up the heavyweight champ in the stand-up area.
Bellator 256 Betting Prediction: Lyoto Machida +235 with Bovada
BELLATOR 256 MAIN CARD
- Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida (Bellator Grand Prix quarter-final light heavyweight bout)
- Liz Carmouche vs. Vanessa Porto (Bellator women’s flyweight bout)
- Jeremy Kennedy vs. Adam Borics (Bellator lightweight bout)
- Cat Zigano vs. Olivia Parker (Bellator women’s featherweight bout)
- Dan Moret vs. Gotti Yamauchi (Bellator lightweight bout)
The pick reflects the line now the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, do not forget to refer to our live odds.