Bellator Salute The Troops takes place Saturday, December 21 at Neil S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii. The offshore sportsbooks recently opened up the betting odds for the main card, and here they are.
Bellator 236 Opening Odds
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane -400
Kate Jackson +275
AJ McKee -700
Derek Campos +500
Juliana Velasquez -350
Bruna Ellen +275
Jason Jackson -190
Kiichi Kunimoto +150
Raufeon Stots -900
Cheyden Leialoha +500
And here are my initial thoughts on the Bellator 236 Opening Odds:
- The main event looks like a complete wash as Bellator’s dominant female flyweight champion Macfarlane takes on an overmatched Jackson for the belt. There were better opponents out there for Macfarlane to fight, but I guess Bellator wants her to get an impressive victory in front of her fans in Hawaii. Macfarlane is a perfect 10-0 in MMA so far and is quickly emerging as one of Bellator’s biggest stars. Jackson, on the other hand, has won two straight fights, but they’ve come over inferior competition. Even though Macfarlane opened as a big favorite, I think the odds are arguably too low and she could have opened as an even bigger favorite here. Expect Macfarlane to finish the fight.
- McKee is Bellator’s top featherweight prospect and at this point the top contender for Patricio Pitbull’s title. In the second round of the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix, he takes on Campos in what should be a very fun fight to watch for however long it lasts. Credit to Campos for calling out McKee when he could have picked an easier opponent, but I don’t like this matchup for him. McKee is an incredible talent and I fully expect him to advance to the finals of this tournament. Look for McKee to finish this fight by TKO.
- Next up we have another women’s flyweight bout between Velasquez and Ellen. When I said earlier there were other opponents for Macfarlane to fight, I was thinking of Velasquez, who is a perfect 9-0 in MMA and 4-0 in Bellator. She should have gotten the title shot, not Jackson. Now she takes on Ellen, who is just 3-2 in Bellator. I fully expect Velasquez to dominate this fight and get the next title shot.
- The welterweight matchup between Jackson and Kunimoto also looks like it could be a wash. Though Jackson lost to Ed Ruth in his last fight, he put on a heck of a battle and nearly came through with a split decision win. Kunimoto may have more experience but he’s far older and isn’t durable at this point. Jackson should be able to take it to Kunimoto and beat him anywhere the fight goes and win by stoppage.
- And finally, we have Stots taking on Leialoha in the biggest odds mismatch on the card. Stots is a great prospect and was a really smart signing for Bellator after winning his last four fights. Leialoha, on the other hand, is a pretty good prospect in his own right, but he lacks the higher-level experience that Stots does. I don’t like the line and think it’s too high, but I would still have to pick Stots to win the fight.