Bellator 302 expert picks and predictions: Odds and best bets for card of Anderson vs. Moore, Pitbull vs. Kennedy

The first Bellator Champions Series card comes to Dublin. It is the first solo Bellator event following the PFL’s acquisition of the brand, featuring two major title fights.

Corey Anderson and Karl Moore fight for the vacant Bellator light heavyweight title in the main event. Vadim Nemkov relinquished the belt to focus on the heavyweight division. Anderson won The Ultimate Fighter 19 Light Heavyweight Tournament in 2014. The 34-year-old signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator following a run with the UFC and is 4-1 with the promotion with one no-contest. 

Moore is a former Cage Warriors Heavyweight Champion and joined Bellator in 2019. The Irish fighter has won four straight with the promotion.

The co-main event will be Patricio Freire defending the Bellator featherweight title against Jeremy Kennedy. Freire has a 22-6 record in the Bellator cage, the most wins in Bellator history. A multi-time champion, “Pitbull” has gone 1-2 in his last three fights and is on a two-fight losing streak.

WATCH: Bellator 302: Corey Anderson vs. Karl Moore, live on DAZN in the U.K.

Kennedy fought for the UFC and the PFL before joining Bellator in 2020. He has won three straight with the promotion.

Who will win the vacant light heavyweight title? Will a new champion be crowned at featherweight? Here are SN’s official picks for both title fights, along with full betting odds for Bellator 302, courtesy of Bet MGM.

Bellator 302 expert picks and predictions

Corey Anderson vs. Karl Moore for the Bellator light heavyweight title

Per Bet MGM, Corey Anderson is the -400 favorite, while Karl Moore is the +300 underdog. 

It is Anderson’s third crack at gold after fighting Nemkov to a no-contest and then losing to the Russian in a one-sided affair. Outside of those two fights, Anderson hasn’t had much trouble inside the Bellator cage, winning four fights, three via TKO. 

While in the octagon, Anderson landed 4.43 significant strikes per minute and had a takedown average of 4.89 landed per fifteen minutes. The former collegiate wrestler also has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Meanwhile, Moore has won four straight in Bellator, with three fights going the distance. He has not faced fighters with the same skill level as Anderson.

A tested veteran, Anderson has experience preparing for three-five-round fights, while Moore has gone a full five rounds once. Given the recent run of Irish fighters losing in Dublin-based events and the proven skills of Anderson, it appears Anderson will leave Bellator 302 with gold. Expect Moore to get taken to the floor and Anderson to use ground-and-pound action for the win. 

Sporting News prediction: Anderson via TKO (round three)

Patricio Freire (c) vs. Jeremy Kennedy for the Bellator featherweight title

Per Bet MGM, Jeremy Kennedy is the -115 favorite, while Patricio Freire is the -105 underdog. 

One of the most dominant fighters in MMA history, Freire shares the wealth of brutality; he has eleven wins via knockout, twelve via submission, and twelve via decision. On a two-fight losing streak, “Pitbull” is a defensive wizard, an aggressive striker, and surgical grappler.

In the octagon, Kennedy averaged 2.22 significant strikes per minute and averaged 5.73 takedowns landed per 15 minutes. He has won three straight, going the distance against Emmanuel Sanchez and Pedro Carvalho while beating Aaron Pico via a freak shoulder injury.

Freire will look to strike right away. He rarely makes mistakes and attacks from all angles. Kennedy bringing the fight to the floor makes sense, but Freire’s takedown defense and mat-based offense could help combat his opponent’s offense.

Kennedy may take the early rounds, but Freire can use his aggressive style to bounce back, win, and retain his title.

Sporting News prediction: Freire via unanimous decision

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