Bellator 259: Cyborg vs. Smith 2 odds, predictions: MMA insider releases surprising fight card picks

Cris “Cyborg” Justino takes the spotlight Friday night in the main event of Bellator 259 as she defends her featherweight belt against veteran contender Leslie Smith. Their battle tops the MMA showcase from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card is slated to start at 9 p.m. ET and the Bellator 259 card will be televised on Showtime. Justino will be making the second defense of the title she won by stopping Julia Budd in the fourth round of their title bout in January of last year. Smith is a perennial contender who earned the title shot on the strength of four wins in her past five outings.

Cyborg is a -1,450 favorite (risk $1,450 to win $100), while Smith is priced at +850 in the latest Cyborg vs. Smith odds from William Hill Sportsbook. In the co-main event, Darrion Caldwell (-335) faces Leandro Higo (+275) in a battle of bantamweight contenders. Before locking in any picks of your own for Smith vs. Cyborg or the rest of the Bellator 259 card, make sure you see the MMA predictions from SportsLine insider Ian Parker.

A former fighter who’s been in the industry for 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world’s best, including former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.

Parker is coming off a mind-boggling 2020 season. On the Anik & Florian Podcast, Parker went an astounding 58-14, returning $9,465 to $100 bettors who followed him. He hit 11 of his 17 underdog picks and 19 of 30 main events. Overall, Parker nailed an astonishing 81 percent of his plays.

Parker has already proven his mettle to SportsLine members. Over the past two UFC Fight Nights, Parker has gone 14-2 to give his followers a profit of nearly $1,300. Moreover, he has posted a 10-3 record on Bellator picks in 2021 that includes a perfect 4-0 sweep at Bellator 257. Anyone who has followed Parker already has seen massive returns.

Now, with Bellator 259 in sight, Parker has studied the MMA odds and matchups from every angle and released his top picks. You can only see them here.

Bellator 259: Cyborg vs. Smith 2 preview

Parker knows the main event is a showcase for Cyborg (23-2-1), who is arguably the most accomplished fighter on the Bellator roster. She is a former Invicta FC, Strikeforce and UFC champion whose only defeat in the past 15 years has come to Amanda Nunes, the UFC double-champion who is now widely regarded as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time.

Cyborg lost by first-round stoppage to Nunes in December 2018. She rebounded with a win over prospect Felicia Spencer before leaving the UFC to join Bellator. She won the title against Budd in her first fight for the promotion.

Cyborg faces a familiar opponent in Smith (12-8-1), whose career has been marked by facing a gauntlet of world-class opponents. Cyborg scored a first-round stoppage of Smith in a 140-pound catchweight bout in May 2016 while both were fighting under the UFC banner.

The resilient Smith has lost just once since, against Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 233 in November 2019. Her four victories in that span include a decision victory over Irene Aldana, who is now ranked No. 4 in the UFC’s bantamweight division. You can only see Parker’s coveted Cyborg vs. Smith 2 picks here.

Top Bellator 259 predictions

We’ll share one of Parker’s Bellator 259 selections here: He is going with Austin Vanderford (-255) to get the best of Fabian Edwards (+215) in a middleweight matchup on the main card. 

Vanderford (10-0) is a former winner on “Dana White’s Contender Series” who will be looking for his fifth consecutive victory under the Bellator banner. The Portland-based fighter has stopped two of his previous four opponents inside the distance.

Edwards (9-1) is a versatile fighter who saw his run toward a title shot halted by his first professional loss in his last outing. The 28-year-old Englishman dropped a split decision against Costello van Steenis last September.

“Look for Vanderford to push the pace early and get the fight to the ground, where he will have the advantage,” Parker told SportsLine. “If he can execute that game plan, I expect Vanderford to get the victory.”

How to make Bellator 259 picks

Parker also has strong picks for Cyborg vs. Smith and other fights on the Bellator 259 card. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.

Who wins Cyborg vs. Smith? And what other picks do you need for Bellator 259? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed Bellator 259 picks, all from the ultimate insider who’s up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out. 

Bellator 259 odds, fight card

Cris “Cyborg” Justino (-1,450) vs. Leslie Smith (+850)
Darrion Caldwell (-335) vs Leandro Higo (+275)
Austin Vanderford (-255) vs. Fabian Edwards (+215)
Christian Edwards (-600) vs. Ben Parrish (+450)

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