Bellator 145 and UFC Fight Night 77 were this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.
BAD/GOOD: Justin Lawrence vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
There was some decent enough action in this fight, but there was also a lot of clinchwork non-action as well. Sanchez won the split decision in a very close fight that was probably hard to judge. All in all, this was a fine fight, but it wasn’t anything notable.
GOOD: Bobby Lashley stops James Thompson
Not a whole lot to this. Lashley took Thompson down and then rained blows down upon him. Thompson turtled up and the ref had to step in. It looked like Thompson got hurt on the takedown.
GOOD: Michael Chandler stops David Rickels
Chandler dominated Rickels here. He proved that he’s still one of the best lightweights in Bellator. It was quite the impressive performance, as Rickels is a tough guy. He controlled the first round and then started pouring it on in the second, leading to the finish. A big right hand from Chandler dropped Rickels and started the end, as Chandler just absolutely refused to give Rickels any breathing room. When a guy is that tenacious you have to respect his killer instinct.
BAD: Will Brooks vs. Marcin Held
This was a pretty dull fight, to be honest. Brooks successfully defended his Bellator Lightweight Title here, but this was incredibly boring. There’s no doubt that it takes good skill to have these kinds of wins, but that doesn’t make them exciting in the least. Brooks did say after the fight that he felt a pop after a first-round kneebar from Held, so he wanted to be cautious and safe. I can certainly understand that, and not every fight can be exciting. It still sucks when they happen, though. This likely sets up another fight between Brooks and Michael Chandler, which should be a damn good fight.
GOOD: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Daniel Straus
This was a hell of a fight. I thought that commentator Jimmy Smith was high when he was talking about Straus dominating Pitbull, because I didn’t see it that way at all. There’s no doubt that Straus won and had a great performance, but it wasn’t like he shut Pitbull out or anything. It was a good fight, and a close one for the most part. Straus had some great work, especially in the second round when he damn near finished Pitbull with brute force. However, Pitbull rallied in the fourth and fifth rounds and you could easily make the argument that he won those rounds. Either way, Straus had a great fight as he recaptured the Bellator Featherweight Title in a very entertaining fight.
UFC Fight Night 77\
BAD: Corey Anderson vs. Fabio Maldonaldo
This was a pretty dull fight. Again, it was one of those fake-action fights, where there’s a lot of movement but nothing of any substance. It was just kind of there. Anderson won the decision, but he’s not going to gain much from this win.
BAD: Gilbert Burns vs. Rashid Magomedov
Another dull fight. Magomedov nearly had Burns finished in the second round, but did nothing of much in the third round. Magomedov won the decision but, again, he’s not going to gain much from the win.
BAD/GOOD: Alex Oliveira stops Piotr Hallmann
Most of the fight was somewhat boring, though it did have some good action in spots. However, the finish was awesome. Oliveira and Hallmann were swinging and Oliviera caught Hallmann with a thunderous right to the jaw that dropped him and lead to the finish.
GOOD: Thomas Almeida stops Anthony Birchak
Both guys were doing pretty good, but then Almeida turned it on and unleashed hell on Birchak. He smashed him with straight rights and lefts after a spinning back elbow and Birchak finally dropped. Great win for Almeida, who continues to impress. At this pace, it won’t be much longer before Almeida is fighting for a title.
GOOD: Glover Teixiera stops Patrick Cummins
Cummins took Teixiera down at will in the first round. I think he had five takedowns. However, Teixiera got up nearly immediately everytime, and he was the only one who landed any real offense. In the second round, Teixiera stuffed Cummins and unloaded on him with some huge shots. Teixiera was busting Cummins up on the cage and finally the ref stepped in. This was a good win for Teixiera. This is a building block win, something that Teixiera can use to build some momentum. It wasn’t flashy (until the finish), and he got took down too much, but it was still a good win for him.
GOOD: Vitor Belfort stops Dan Henderson
There was almost literally nothing happening in the first few minutes. Then Belfort dropped Henderson with a headkick, rained down some more blows, and the ref stepped in. I’ve seen some people complain that the stoppage was early, but I completely disagree. The only thing that the referee did was save Henderson from taking about three or four more unanswered punches to the face. That’s it. That’s all that was going to happen. If the ref didn’t step in when he did, Belfort was going to punch Hendo at least four more times and knock him out fully, and then the fight would have been stopped. That’s all that would have happened. Sure, there’s a chance that Hendo would have somehow been able to recover but it’s so minute that it’s barely worth considering. Giving that a 1% chance of happening would be extremely generous. Is that 1% chance worth the added punishment that Hendo would have taken? I don’t think so, and anyone who does clearly isn’t thinking of the future.
As for the fight itself, it was really boring in the beginning two minutes, but it heated up quick. It is what it is. We didn’t learn anything that we didn’t already know. Henderson has taken a lot of punishment over his career, and his days of beating top ten guys are over. Hell, you could argue that his days of beating top fifteen guys is over. At the same time, Belfort is a talented striker who gasses, and we saw the first part of that. This was the ideal TV card fight. It’s not a fight that belongs on pay-per-view, but it can damn sure bring eyeballs to a free card. These are the kinds of fights that should be put on these cable shows, one involving big name older fighters who aren’t likely to be fighting for a title anytime soon. This was a good way to end the card.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank