HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 166, Bellator 167, and The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale

Demetrious Johnson (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)

Bellator 166, Bellator 167, and TUF 24 Finale were all this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.

Bellator 166

GOOD – Chris Honeycutt vs. Ben Reiter

Honeycutt completely dominated Reiter in every sense of the word. To give you a sense of how much he dominated, the judges score at the end of the fight were 30-26, 30-25, and 30-25. That means that one judge gave Honeycutt a 10-8 round and the other two judges gave him two 10-8 rounds. That’s domination there. It’s a good win for Honeycutt.

Staff08Hyden_150GOOD – Marcos Galvao vs. L.C. Davis

This was an extremely close fight. Galvao won the split decision, but Davis made it close. Davis seemed to fight better the more the fight wore on. These were evenly-matched fighters, and the fight showed that. Nice win for Galvao.

GOOD – A.J. McKee vs. Ray Wood

McKee got tested in the first round, as he met adversity courtesy of a big knee from Wood. He responded well, though, and fought hard for the decision. It was a nice win for McKee, he showed what he can do when he has to go deep into a fight. He had never been pushed like this before so I’m sure he’s happy to have seen himself respond so well.

GOOD – Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren

Dantas successfully defended his Bellator Bantamweight Title here, but the judges scorecards were pretty wild. One judge scored it 48-46 Dantas while another scored it 47-47. The other judge scored it 49-44 Dantas to give him the majority decision. Those cards are just weird. Dantas stymied Warren at every turn and seemed to be in control at all times. He was just too quick for Warren, his speed really made a difference. This was a really good win for Dantas.

Bellator 167

GOOD – Chidi Njokuani stops Andre Fialho

Njokuani caught Fialho with a big punch that turned out the lights. This was over in about fifteen seconds. Nice punch.

GOOD – Ilima MacFarlane vs. Emily Ducote

This was another close and competitive fight. MacFarlane did enough to pick up the win, but this was tight. They fought hard and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up fighting again down the road soon.

GOOD – John Teixiera vs. Justin Lawrence

Things were close in the first, but then Teixiera took over and controlled the fight after that. Teixiera got the decision win.

GOOD/BAD – Darion Caldwell vs. Joe Taimanglo

I’ve probably been too generous with a lot of these ratings this week because I’ve been in a good mood lately, but to be honest, I didn’t like this fight much at all. I’m going with a GOOD because it was a smart fight by Caldwell in picking up the decision. He had previously lost to Taimanglo and didn’t want to repeat that, but it just felt like he could have done more. This was kind of dull, to be blunt. There wasn’t much going on. Caldwell will fight Bellator Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas next and he’ll definitely have to up his game if he hopes to win that fight.

The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale

GOOD – Brandon Moreno vs. Ryan Benoit

Another close, competitive fight. Moreno won the split decision. Nice win for Moreno.

GOOD – Sara McMann submits Alexis Davis

Davis fought well in the first round, as she and McMann were close. She almost got a submission herself, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the victory. In the second round McMann locked in a tight choke that got her the win. Nice win for McMann.

GOOD – Ion Cutelaba vs. Jared Cannonier

Cutelaba laid into Cannonier in the first round, but Cannonier survived the onslaught. He won the second round with some wrestling and pressure. In the third round, Cannonier turned the tables and started dishing out the punishment himself to get him the decision victory. I don’t know if Cannonier can make waves at light heavyweight, but given the weakened state of the division, he’ll certainly get the chance to do so.

GOOD/UGLY – Jorge Masvidal stops Jake Ellenberger

Masvidal was in control of the fight, and nearly had the finish in the first round but the ref let things go. The UGLY comes from the finish, which saw Ellenberger get his toes caught in the cage and the ref had to end the fight because he was getting beat up while trying to get them free. That was extremely weird.

GOOD – Joseph Benavidez vs. Henry Cejudo

This was so incredibly close and hard to call, and the scores reflected that. Cejudo was deducted a point in the first round for two low blows. So the scores were 29-27 Cejudo, 30-26 Benavidez, and 29-27 Benavidez, which gives Benavidez the majority decision. This was an ultra close fight and you could make an argument for an immediate rematch. Barring that, I think you go with Benavidez getting the next title shot. He fought well and just beat a tough guy in Cejudo. I know Benavidez has already lost to UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson twice already, but who else is more deserving?

GOOD – Demetrious Johnson vs. Tim Elliot

Johnson brought his patented blend of frustrating excellence to this fight. Frustrating for his opponents because he’s so good, but also frustrating for viewers because he seems content to ride things out and to move at a fairly leisurely pace. I’m sure some of it is that he’s just so good that he makes things look too easy, but he doesn’t endear himself to casual fans very much with this style. Elliot actually won the first round and surely surprised Johnson, who quickly put the clamps on him in the rounds after that and settled into his usual type of fight.

I don’t know what’s next for Johnson, but he showed yet again that he’s one of the best fighters in the world. I just hope the UFC doesn’t have him wait eight months again before he fights next. That’s way too long to be sitting out. I don’t care if he’s not very popular or not, or if there’s no clear contenders in the division, guys need to fight as often as they can. If they’re hurt, that’s different, but there’s no reason to have healthy fighters on the sidelines if they don’t have to be.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 101, plus Daniel Cormier gets hurt

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow Frank on Twitter at @hydenfrank.

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