Bellator 292 – Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Benson Henderson – Main Card Betting Predictions

Check out my main card predictions for Bellator 292, headlined by Usman Nurmagomedov and Benson Henderson in San Jose, California.

Goiti Yamauchi vs. Michael Page

This is one of the most binary contests I’ve seen. Michael Page should dominate whenever the fight is vertical, whereas Goiti Yamauchi has an overwhelming advantage on the mat.

Coming from a traditional martial arts background, Page moves lightly on his feet, manages distance excellently and is renowned for his blitz attacks.

“Venom” is a consummate showman and has one of the best highlight reels in modern MMA.

It must be stated that Page has been matched up favorably throughout his career. His most emphatic wins have come against rudimentary strikers who were unable to close the distance on him – yet he struggled against world class opponents in Logan Storley and Douglas Lima.

It’s difficult to get a clean takedown entry on Page due to his agile footwork, but I have an inclination that his defensive wrestling is subpar. He went down with minimal resistance in his rematch against Douglas Lima and wasn’t able to get back to his feet.

Yamauchi’s boxing has looked much sharper since moving up to the welterweight division, but he must avoid a striking match at all costs on Friday.

The Brazilian is a dangerous submission artist from all positions. He is extremely comfortable off his back, which could allow him to pull guard and find the finish that way.

I’ve seen him hit lower and upper body takedowns in recent performances, although I don’t have a complete read of his wrestling abilities. He said this is an area of focus in the training room and he still time for improvement at 30-years-of-age.

If Page gets caught out of position and grounded after throwing one of his crazy techniques, the fight could be a wrap.

You can make a case for either fighter, but I think the value is on Goiti Yamauchi at +105.

Valentin Moldavsky vs. Linton Vassell

This matchmaking is questionable, since we already saw Valentin Moldavsky defeat Linton Vassell in 2019.

Vassell got off to a good start, but was ultimately out-hustled and positionally dominated by the Russian sambist.

Vassell’s cardio looked better in his 2021 win over Tyrell Fortune, but I don’t have faith he can match the pace of Moldavsky – who has one of the best gas tanks I’ve seen in a heavyweight athlete.

The Englishman has been taken down and forced to scramble out of bad positions in previous fights, but that doesn’t feel like a reliable path to victory against a solid positional grappler like Moldavsky.

I have no interest in Valentin Moldavsky at -300, but I’m pretty confident he wins. Fight goes to decision may hold value at -120.

Tofiq Musayev vs. Alexander Shabliy

I’ve enjoyed watching Tofiq Musayev compete in Japan over the years and I’m glad he has finally found a home with one of the major American promotions.

The Azerbaijani has a fan-friendly style and is always hunting for the KO finish. Musayev throws fierce, compact hooks in the pocket and will look for big counters and body kicks.

I wouldn’t call him a brawler, but he certainly treads the line between technical and reckless.

Musayev can be taken down, but is good at getting back to his feet and will often hit takedowns himself.

Alexander Shabliy is the more nuanced striker, with a good variety of shots and clean technique.

The Russian is more likely to win minutes, but rounds could swing in Musayev’s favor if he’s able to land something huge (he usually does).

Despite coming from a striking base, Shabliy is a proficient grappler and could mix in late-round takedowns to give a positive optic for the judges.

Whatever happens, this should be a barn burner.

I’m not sure how much value there is at -145, but I like Alexander Shabliy to get his hand raised.

Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Benson Henderson

Usman Nurmagomedov and Benson Henderson have comparable styles, yet the Russian is younger, fresher and more technically sound on the feet.

Both men are comfortable at kicking range, yet Nurmagomedov has the sharper hands and is superior at walking opponents onto counters.

We might see a tepid kickboxing match for the duration of the fight. If there is any grappling, the victor will be the man on top – and I suspect that will be Nurmagomedov with how he disguises his takedowns behind his punches.

Usman Nurmagomedov is a big favorite for a reason, but I can’t bet him at -2000. I’d probably take over 4.5 rounds at +120 if you’re eager for action on this main event.