MMATorch Daily Top Five 6/20: Top Takeaways From UFC Fight Night 89, Fedor in Russia, and Bellator

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Stephen Thompson (photo credit Stephen R. Sylvanie © USA Today Sports)

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6/20/16: Top Five Takeaways From UFC Fight Night 89, Fedor in Russia, and Bellator

Following major events, we’ll be discussing the five biggest highlights, moments, or takeaways from the weekend’s fights. Today’s top five focuses on Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 89 event from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with a couple notes from Friday’s slate of fights from Russia’s EFN, Bellator, and more.

5. Styles make fights: Eduardo Dantas being better than Marcos Galvao a second time wasn’t surprising. The string of title changes that led to Friday’s main event contained a number of clear examples of why certain styles can simply out-do others. Dantas knocked Galvao out in their first meeting, and eventually got out-wrestled and controlled to lose that belt to Joe Warren, who then got submitted by a superior grappler in Galvao, who then got out-struck and out-worked on the feet by Dantas. The younger Brazilian pieced up his former friend and mentor Friday night on Spike, and unless he gets challenged by another wrestler ready to keep him down he might hold onto that belt for a while.

4. Bad reffing is bad: Jerin Valel is terrible at his job as a referee in this sport, and the latest example of that came in Saturday’s first ever women’s flyweight bout between Valerie Letourneau and Joanne Calderwood. First it was the hesitance and awkwardness that went with his pause for time on a potential wardrobe malfunction while Calderwood was in the midst of beating Letourneau up in the third round, then on the finish when he failed to save Letourneau from further unnecessary damage. Letourneau had taken a couple of nasty body shots already and curled up from them, and the final shot had her turn her back and walk away to the cage. The fight needed to be stopped there, and instead Valel let Calderwood advance for a bunch more damage before Letourneau went down. Of course, Valel’s track record should make none of this a surprise, but it’s frustrating when incompetence continues to be allowed unchecked.

3. Yeah, ridiculous brawls are still fun: What Steve Bosse and Sean O’Connell put themselves through in Ottawa is sometimes hard to watch just knowing how much brain damage is being done, and it was anything but a technical beauty of a fight, but dammit was that entertaining. Two iron-chinned, anvil-handed dudes throwing leather for 15 minutes, knocking each other down, getting knocked down, getting back up, continuing to fire, and throwing all caution out of the cage isn’t something on which to build a career; for a night, though, it can be what every MMA fan wants to watch, whether they care to admit it or not.

2. Maybe Fedor in the UFC isn’t such a good idea in 2016…: Fedor Emelianenko looked bad on Friday in his fight with Fabio Maldonado. Were it not for Maldonado deciding to take the rest of the night off after nearly stopping Emelianenko in the first round, “The Last Emperor” would have absolutely lost that fight. Instead, he was allowed to recover, given every moment in the first to survive, and had an opponent essentially wait at the cage ready to get hit while occasionally throwing back strikes of his own. Based on that performance, were he to sign with the UFC there are few sensible matchups in which he’d be seen as a guaranteed victor. Given how far down the ladder you could go and still find a fighter to conceivably take him out, maybe they shouldn’t even try to make it happen.

1. Stephen Thompson’s going to be a UFC Champion: Stephen Thompson’s phenomenal, and though his fight with Rory MacDonald wasn’t his most thrilling outing it’s a damned impressive addition to an already stellar record. His distance, timing, movement, and power all make him a massively dangerous opponent, and with what he did against Johny Hendricks and MacDonald in consecutive fights I’d have to favor him in an eventual matchup with Robbie Lawler. That’s likely coming in the fall, and I think we’re looking at a “Wonderboy” title reign as an inevitability.

[Photo (c) Stephen R. Sylvanie via USA Today Sports]

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