Bellator is in Hawaii for the first time since late 2019 with back-to-back events – the second of which has the women’s featherweight title on the line, plus two key bantamweight grand prix bouts.
Bellator 279 takes place Saturday at Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. It is the second of back-to-back nights of Bellator events in Hawaii’s capital city. 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, Cris Cyborg (25-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) puts her women’s featherweight title on the line in a rematch with Arlene Blencowe (15-8 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), whom she has a win over already. Cyborg, like she usually is when she fights, is a heavy betting favorite. Our 11 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers have her as one of three unanimous picks on the main card at 11-0.
In the co-feature, Juan Archuleta (25-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) meets Raufeon Stots (17-1 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) in the opening round of the bantamweight grand prix – and also for the interim bantamweight title. The winner will be interim champ and take that belt into the semifinals. Stots is more than a 3-1 favorite and our second unanimous pick.
Also on the main card, former women’s flyweight champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-1 MMA, 10-1 BMMA) takes on Justine Kish (7-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Macfarlane is more than a 3-1 favorite and has a shutout in the picks at 11-0.
To open the main card, on the other side of the grand prix bracket, former champion Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) takes on Patchy Mix (15-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA). That bout is the only contentious one among our pickers, who have the favored Horiguchi with a 7-4 lead.
In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Cyborg (83 percent), Stots (61 percent), Macfarlane (88 percent) and Horiguchi (65 percent) are the choices.
Check out all the picks above.