Nemkov
vs.
Anderson
Freire
vs.
Nurmagomedov
Khizriev
vs.
Weichel
Fortune
vs.
James
Chokheli
vs.
Faraldo
MMA Junkie readers’
consensus picks
180-106
anderson2022
Anderson
(57%)
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
(87%)
khizriev2022
Khizriev
(75%)
fortune2022
Fortune
(91%)
faraldo2022
Faraldo
(90%)
Ken Hathaway
@kenshathaway
190-101
trophy copy 2018 Champion
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Abbey Subhan
@kammakaze
182-109
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
weichel2022
Weichel
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Matthew Wells
@MrMWells
182-109
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Farah Hannoun
@Farah_Hannoun
179-112
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
weichel2022
Weichel
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Mike Bohn
@MikeBohn
178-113
trophy copy 2014 Champion
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Matt Erickson
@MMAjunkieMatt
176-115
anderson2022
Anderson
freire2022
Freire
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
175-116
anderson2022
Anderson
freire2022
Freire
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Nolan King
@mma_kings
170-121
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
weichel2022
Weichel
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
169-122
trophy copy 2017 Champion
anderson2022
Anderson
freire2022
Freire
weichel2022
Weichel
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
George Garcia
@MMAjunkieGeorge
157-134
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo
Danny Segura
@dannyseguratv
142-149
anderson2022
Anderson
nurmagomedov2022
Nurmagomedov
khizriev2022
Khizriev
fortune2022
Fortune
faraldo2022
Faraldo

Bellator makes its return to Chicago this week with a pair of title fights leading the card in the “Windy City.”

Bellator 288 takes place Friday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov (15-2 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) puts his title on the line against Corey Anderson (16-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA). The fight is a rematch from an April title fight that ended in a no contest after an accidental clash of heads left Nemkov with too deep of a cut to continue. The fight also is the $1 million final of Bellator’s light heavyweight tournament. Anderson was the underdog in the first fight, but now is a -230 favorite at Tipico Sportsbook; the comeback on Nemkov is +175. Our 11 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers have Anderson as one of three unanimous picks at 11-0.

In the co-feature, lightweight champion Patricky Freire (24-10 MMA, 15-8 BMMA) puts his belt up for the first time when he takes on the unbeaten Usman Nurmagomedov (15-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA). Usman is the biggest favorite on the main card at a whopping -750, but he’s not a unanimous pick. Three of our staff members are taking “Pitbull” Freire in what would be a major upset.

Also on the main card, Timur Khizriev (11-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) meets Daniel Weichel (42-13 MMA, 11-5 BMMA) in a featherweight bout. Khizriev is a big -320 favorite at the betting window, but he has just a 7-4 picks lead.

Tyrell Fortune (12-2 MMA, 12-2 BMMA) is one of our three unanimous picks in his heavyweight bout against Chicago native Daniel James (13-6-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA). Fortune is a 3-1 favorite in the fight.

And to open the main card, Roman Faraldo (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) is our third unanimous pick at 11-0 in his welterweight bout against Levan Chokheli (10-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) – even though he’s the smallest main card favorite at about 2-1.

In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Anderson (57 percent), Nurmagomedov (87 percent), Khizriev (75 percent), Fortune (91 percent) and Faraldo (90 percent) are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 288.