(Editor’s note: The fight between Ciaran Clarke and late opponent Rafael Hudson was added too late for our staff picks deadline.)
Bellator returns to Ireland this week with a former title challenger at the top the card.
Bellator 285 takes place Friday at 3Arena in Dublin. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
In the main event, former UFC lightweight champion and two-time Bellator title challenger (at lightweight and welterweight) Benson Henderson (29-11 MMA, 6-6 BMMA) takes on Peter Queally (13-6-1 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) in a lightweight bout. Henderson is more than a 2-1 favorite at Tipico Sportsbook; the comeback on Queally is +160. Our 11 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers have Henderson as one of three unanimous picks at 11-0.
The co-main event is a light heavyweight bout between former Bellator middleweight title challenger Melvin Manhoef (32-15-1 MMA, 4-4 BMMA) and former UFC title challenger Yoel Romero (14-6 MMA, 1-1 BMMA). Romero is a massive -800 favorite and, not surprisingly, is one of our three unanimous picks.
Also on the main card is the only contentious fight among our pickers at women’s featherweight between Leah McCourt (6-2 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) vs. Dayana Silva (10-7 MMA, 1-2 BMMA). Although Silva is a -140 favorite at the betting window, It’s McCourt who has a big 8-3 lead in the picks.
And former Cage Warriors featherweight champ Mads Burnell (16-4 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) will try to get back on track against former title challenger Pedro Carvalho (12-6 MMA, 5-3 BMMA). Burnell nearly is a 5-1 favorite and our third unanimous pick.
In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Henderson (68 percent), Romero (87 percent), McCourt (87 percent) and Burnell (82 percent) are the choices.
Check out all the picks above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 285.