Bellator 233: Salter vs. Van Steenis

Preview and Predictions for Bellator 233: Salter vs. Van Steenis by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 
Bellator MMA is back this Friday with its twentieth stop at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma for Bellator 233: Salter vs. Van Steenis. The Prelims begin at 6:15PM on DAZN Friday evening, with the Bellator 233 Main Card starting at 9PM/ET on the Paramount Network and DAZN. 
Bellator 233 Main Card Predictions
Tyrell Fortune (-700) vs. Azunna Anwanyu (+500)
Tyrell Fortune (7-0-0) puts his perfect record on the line as he collides with Azunna “Zu the 8th Wonder” Anwanyu (15-5-0) in a Heavyweight contest. After a short-lived one fight stint in the UFC following a successful appearance on Season One of Dana White’s Contender Series, Zu the 8th Wonder returned to MMA following an eighteen month hiatus with a Second Round TKO of Chris Daukus earlier this year at CFFC 73 in March to get back into the win column and earn a call from Bellator. Tyrell Fortune has been a shining as a homegrown Bellator talent with five stoppage victories in his first seven professional wins inside the Bellator cage. Fortune is coming off a Second Round Submission over Rudy Schaffroth in August at Bellator 225, and will be looking to improve to 3-0 in 2019 with another win over Anwanyu this weekend. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Fortune via First Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Fortune via Decision 
Leslie Smith (-135) vs. Arlene Blencowe (+115)
Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (11-7-1) intends to continue establishing herself a legit contender in the 145 pound division as she takes on former title challenger Arlene “Angerfist” Blencowe (12-7-0) in a  Featherweight contest. Leslie Smith earned her third straight victory in her promotional debut with a Majority Decision over Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 224 in July. Smith has won four of her last five and seems intent on working her way into title contention. After losing a Split Decision to Julia Budd for the Featherweight title at Bellator 189 in December 2017, Arlene Blencowe has been doing her best to get another title shot with back to back TKO finishes of Amber Leibrock and Amanda Bell to improve her record inside the Bellator cage to 3-1.  The winner should position themselves as the number one Featherweight contender following the results of Budd vs. Cyborg. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Blencowe via Second  Round TKO 
D’Bo’s Pick: Blencowe via Decision 

King Mo Lawal (-325) vs. Andrew Kapel (+250)
King Mo (21-8-0) returns for one last battle as he is set to face newcomer Andrew Kapel (14-6-0) in a 195-pound Catchweight bout. Andrew Kapel, a member of the Elevation Fight Team, makes his promotional debut against Lawal on a four fight winning streak, with three of those victories, including in his last fight against Tyler Hufnagle at HFC 38 in February. ending with First Round Rear-Naked Choke Submissions. Although he is making his Bellator debut,  Kapel is a game opponent for King Mo as he has stoppages in thirteen of his fourteen wins and Kapel has never been knocked out in twenty pro fights. King Mo has declared his bout with Kapel to be his last as the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion plans on retiring, regardless of the fights outcome. With TKO losses in three straight and in four of his last five fights, King Mo is operating the law of diminishing returns at this stage in his career. As we have seen before in the past, it is awfully difficult for yesterday’s big stars to stay away from competing in the sport they love. Fortunately for Lawal, only three of Kapel’s thirteen stoppage wins have been TKOs, so King Mo should be able to avoid taking much damage and if he losses if will be because he was outclassed by Kapel on mats. Hopefully King Mo goes out on a good note. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: King Mo via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: King Mo via First Round TKO 
 MAIN EVENT 
John Salter (-160)  vs. Costello Van Steenis (+140)
In the Bellator 233 Main Event, John Salter (16-4-0) meets a surging Costello “The Spaniard” Van Steenis (12-1-0) in a matchup that could determine who will be the next Middleweight title challenger. A winner in eight of his last nine, John Salter was able to bounce back from his Third Round Submission loss to current Middleweight Champion Rafael Lovato Jr. at Bellator 205 last September by defeating Chidi Njokuani via First Round Submission just two months later at Bellator 210 (at the Winstar World Casino). A National Champion wrestler with a Blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, John Salter knows where he excels most inside the cage, with nine of his sixteen professional wins coming by way of Submission. Costello Van Steenis extended his current winning streak to six and improved to 4-0 inside the Bellator cage with his Second Round TKO of Mike Shipman at Bellator 223 in June. Van Steenis has a 75% finish rate and has defeated three of his first four Bellator opponents by TKO. This is an intriguing matchup as it pits a talented striker and finisher against a world class grappler with a helluva squeeze. My first instinct says Salter, but something in my gut is telling me that Costello Van Steenis will a find a way to close the show early. Should be fun to see how this one shakes out. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Van Steenis via Second Round TKO
D’Bo’s Pick: Salter via Second Round Submission  
 Next week Bellator MMA is back in Tel Aviv, Israel for Bellator 234: Kharitonov vs. Vassell. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy the fights!!

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