HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 168, UFC Fight Night 102, and UFC 206

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Cub Swanson vs. "Korean Zombie" Doo Ho Choi (photo credit TomSzczerbowskizg © USA Today)

Bellator 168, UFC Fight Night 102, and UFC 206 were all this past weekend. Let’s get straight to the rundown.


GOOD – John Salter stops Claudio Annicchiarrico: Salter took Annicchiarrico out within two minutes and didn’t even take a hit, I don’t think. Good win for him.

GOOD – Kleber Raimundo Silva stops Phillipe Lins: Lins came out strong and was looking good in the first round and part of the second round. However, Silva caught him with some shots that hurt him and then followed up to force the stoppage. Big win for Silva and tough loss for Lins.

GOOD – Ed Ruth stops Emanuele Palombi: Ruth was all over Palombi from the start, getting the takedown and raining blows down on him to force the stoppage. Ruth is young and exciting.

GOOD – Goiti Yamauchi submits Valeriu Mircea: Mircea caught Yamauchi with a big punch that hurt him and nearly lead to a finish, but Yamauchi battled through and ended up getting a tight choke for the submission.

GOOD – Alessio Sakara stops Joey Beltran: Sakara took Beltran out with a power punch followed by more shots, including some body blows, and that was it. Nice win for him. It was largely expected, but it was still good. The hometown fans in Italy were sure happy. This was one of the better Bellator shows, with all the finishes.


GOOD – Gian Villante stops Saparbek Safarov: Safarov is super tough, as he was able to survive an injured leg for quite some time. He hurt Villante in the first round as well, but he just couldn’t withstand all the punishment. This was a pretty good fight.

GOOD/BAD – Corey Anderson stops Sean O’Connell: The BAD is because Anderson was content to get the takedown and just stay on top for the first round. In the second round, though, he came out and worked some powerful ground-and-pound to get the stoppage.

GOOD – Francis Ngannou submits Anthony Hamilton: Ngannou was able to get Hamilton to the ground by wrenching on his arm. He kept going and got the submission by kimura. Very nice.

UGLY/GOOD – Derrick Lewis stops Shamil Abdurakhimov: This was everyone’s worst nightmare for about three and a half rounds, slow heavyweight “action.” The ref even stopped the fight at one point to warn them about the inactivity. That tells you right there how crap things were. The finish came when Lewis started working his way towards mount and once there, he rained down shots and got the stoppage.

UFC 206

GOOD/BAD – Emil Meek vs. Jordan Mein: Another one of these omnipresent “solid” fights. It had some good moments and some bad ones as well. Meek won the decision.

GOOD – Kelvin Gastelum stops Tim Kennedy: Kennedy hadn’t fought in a long time, and he looked rusty. His cardio also seemed to fail him. At the same time, Gastelum was all over him so I’m sure that played a role in that. Gastelum look good here at middleweight, but after that fight he said he’d like to go back to welterweight. There’s no way in hell he should be allowed to do that. He’s missed weight far too many times. He just needs to give up any idea of going back to welterweight and concentrate on middleweight.

GREAT – Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi: This was an amazing fight. Swanson ended up winning 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 but it was a close fight. Choi took a lot of punishment, but gave it out as well. These guys were going back and forth, hitting each other with shots that would have knocked out most everyone else. It was crazy to see them take these shots and not go down. This was just an unbelievably great fight that you should seek out and watch, if you haven’t seen it already. This was great, and should be talked about for Fight of the Year. I don’t know if it will be, considering the lack of title implications, but this was awesome nonetheless. If you love seeing guys giving everything they have, this is the fight for you.

GOOD – Donald Cerrone stops Matt Brown: This was close, with Brown doing good in the first round and Cerrone doing good in the second. They were both taking, and landing, big shots. In the third round, Cerrone caught Brown with a beautiful headkick that starched him and it was over. Cerrone knew it too and just walked off. It’s pretty much a guarantee to be exciting when either of these two fight, and that was definitely the case here. It’s almost impossible to not be a fan of these guys when they fight so it was hard to choose who to root for, so I just chose to root for good action. They certainly delivered on that.

GOOD/BAD – Max Holloway stops Anthony Pettis: Coming after two super entertaining fights didn’t do this fight any favors, but it was fine. It was solid, it was okay. It likely wasn’t going to live up to the previous fights, and that’s all right. Holloway was all over Pettis in the third and got the stoppage with some unanswered shots. Holloway won the Interim UFC Featherweight Title with this win, setting up a unification fight with UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. I hope they do the fight soon, assuming both guys are physically able to, because it feels like the division has been stuck in quicksand forever and needs to get moving.

Pettis wasn’t able to make weight for this fight and said afterwards that he was going to go back to lightweight. I hope he’s able to find that inner fire that made him so exciting and dangerous a few years ago. That’s the Pettis we’d all love to see there. So, Holloway finally will get his title fight after so long. I know this technically was a title fight, but I wouldn’t count this, this was just a mess. I have to favor Aldo against Holloway, but Holloway is tenacious and won’t go away. If Aldo is going to beat him, he’s going to have to work for it. I’m pretty excited for this fight, but I won’t get anymore excited until they actually announce it and it arrives without any injury delays. I hope that’s relatively soon.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 166, Bellator 167, and The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale

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

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