While the UFC has staged cards in Japan before, Saturday night’s Bellator 237 event is that company’s first-ever card in the country. It is headlined by a heavyweight bout between former Pride FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson. The event is co-promoted by the Japanese MMA organization Rizin Fighting Federation. Here’s a look at the two main fights with Mybookie Bellator odds.
Bellator 237 Odds, Preview & Expert Predictions
- When: Saturday, 10 PM ET
- Where: Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan
- TV: Paramount Network
- Live Stream: DAZN
Rest of the Bellator 237 Card
- Michael Page vs Shinsho Anzai
- Keita Nakamura vs Lorenz Larkin
- Kana Watanabe vs Ilara Joanne
- Daron Cruickshank vs Goiti Yamauchi
- Yusuke Yachi vs Hiroto Uesako
- Kanna Asakura vs Jayme Hinshaw
- Haruo Ochi vs Jarred Brooks
- Ren Hiramoto vs Takahiro Ashida
- Yusaku Nakamura vs Makoto Shinryu
- Andy Nguyen vs Ai Shimizu
- Ryuichiro Sumimura vs Jon Tuck
- Shoma Shibisai vs Sergey Shemetov
Fedor Emelianenko (38-6) vs. “Rampage” Jackson (38-13)
- Bellator 237 Odds: Fedor Emelianenko -130
Fedor is -130 at Mybookie for this heavyweight bout and Jackson is +110. Fedor and Rampage were two of the biggest superstars of the PRIDE era in Japan, but the pair never faced off inside the ring. Emelianenko is widely considered to be the greatest fighter to compete in Japan. “The Last Emperor” fought 15 times in PRIDE, winning 14 and drawing one of his bouts and holding the heavyweight title from 2003-2007. Rampage fought 17 times for PRIDE during his career. Following his move to the UFC, he helped pioneer MMA’s growth into a worldwide sport.
“For Bellator’s debut in Japan, we wanted to bring a massive event and fighters that the Japanese fans really connect with,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a press release. “Given the vast history of martial arts and MMA in Japan, and especially at Saitama Super Arena, this will be a very special show that no one will want to miss. This will, unquestionably, be a monumental event for Bellator, and I am looking forward to the moment that Fedor and Rampage walk out to a crowd that has known them since their careers began.”
Emelianenko recently made it to the finals of Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix, besting Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen before falling to Ryan Bader via technical knockout in 35 seconds at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26. A former wrestler at Arizona State University, Bader stunned Emelianenko with a swift left hook in the center of the cage. Referee Mike Beltran quickly moved in to stop the bout, as Bader landed a handful of follow-up shots. Replays showed Emelianenko was clearly done after the initial shot. Bader went into the heavyweight tournament as Bellator’s light heavyweight champion. He is the first dual-weight champion in Bellator history.
Emelianenko is 4-2 since he returned from retirement in December 2015. Emelianenko is 13-4 (with one no contest) when facing former UFC champions or title challengers. Fedor has earned 29 of his 38 career victories by stoppage. That includes both of his Bellator wins.
What about Jackson?
Jackson, meanwhile, lost to Sonnen in the opening round of the heavyweight grand prix but rebounded with a second-round stoppage of Wanderlei Silva in his most recent appearance at Bellator 206 in September 2018. “Rampage” won by knockout for the first time since 2014, while Silva was finished by strikes for the seventh time in his career.
Jackson competes in his eighth career heavyweight bout. He’s 4-3 when competing in the weight class. Jackson has suffered his past four losses by decision. He hasn’t been stopped since September 2011.
Michael Chandler (19-5) vs. Sidney Outlaw (14-3)
- Bellator 237 Odds: Michael Chandler -330
Chandler is -365 for this catchweight bout and Outlaw +275 at 160 pounds. Originally, Chandler, a former Bellator lightweight champion, was to fight former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in a rematch from Bellator 165 where Chandler won by split decision. However, Henderson pulled out on December 5 due to injury.
Chandler lost his belt and comes off a TKO loss to Patricio Freire in May. The 31-year-old Brazilian countered a Chandler jab with a perfectly placed right hook behind the ear that sent the onetime NCAA All-American wrestler to the canvas. Freire pounced and let more punches fly, forcing his rival to turtle in a kneeling position. Chandler absorbed several more blows to the side of the head before the referee stopped the fight.
Chandler immediately protested the stoppage: “‘Pitbull’ put me down. … I wasn’t really taking much damage down there. But as I was getting up, the referee was stopping the fight,” he said afterward. Freire, who moved up 10 pounds for the fight, took the 155-pound title from Chandler. Freire joined light heavyweight and heavyweight champ Ryan Bader as the only simultaneous two-division titleholders in Bellator history.
Chandler’s 11 stoppage victories in Bellator competition are tied with Freire and A.J. McKee for most in company history. Chandler’s six submission victories in Bellator competition are tied for second most in company history behind Goiti Yamauchi (seven).
Outlaw won his promotional debut with a unanimous decision over Roger Huerta at Bellator 234 in November. Just two years ago, Outlaw was homeless, sleeping in parks. Originally from Pennsylvania, Outlaw is now living in Florida. He trains at American Top Team, one of the world’s top gyms.
Expert Bellator 237 Betting Picks
Fedor by KO/TKO and Chandler by submission.