HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator NYC and UFC Fight Night 112 from Fedor to Chael to Chandler to Penn

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist


Bellator NYC and UFC Fight Night 112 were both this past weekend. Let’s get to the rundown.

Bellator NYC

GOOD/BAD – Lorenz Larkin vs. Douglas Lima: I’m going with a split GOOD/BAD because both guys seemed to generally try hard but this fight was just dull. Lima got the decision victory and successfully defended his Bellator Welterweight Championship. It was fine, it was solid, but most people have probably already forgotten this fight. It was a nice win for Lima and Larkin showed that if he can fight his way back to another title shot, that he might be able to win the belt.

GOOD – Zach Freeman submits Aaron Pico: Freeman dropped Pico immediately, locked on the choke, and it was over in twenty-four seconds. If you were late coming back from the refrigerator you missed it. Pico had a lot of hype and it all fizzled here. This was a tough fight for him, though. Big win for Freeman.

BAD/Incomplete – Brent Primus beats Michael Chandler by injury: Chandler hurt his ankle early. The fight continued for a bit after that, but eventually the cageside doctor came in and called the fight off. Primus is the new Bellator Lightweight Champion. It’s a hell of a way for Chandler to lose the belt. It was just an unlucky, bad injury. The BAD is nothing against Primus, it’s just that the whole sequence was weird. It was just odd. They got the call right, though. Chandler was arguing he could continue, of course, but the doctor said no. You can’t continue if you’re that injured. It’s a tough loss for Chandler and a tough win for Primus. I’m sure he didn’t want to win this way. You don’t want to leave doubt. Nonetheless, sometimes these things happen.

GOOD – Matt Mitrione stops Fedor Emelianenko: I was afraid that Mitrione was going to knock Fedor out. We almost got a double knockout, as both men connected with punches at the same time. Mitrione was able to recover, though, and finished Fedor off. Big win for Mitrione.

It was already obvious that Fedor is a shell of his former self. Everybody already knew that, but this solidifies just how far he’s fallen. It doesn’t appear to me that Fedor is placing himself in danger in terms of longterm health if he keeps fighting, so if he wants to keep fighting, so be it. If he enjoys fighting then keep going, but he should consider picking his opponents more carefully. Mitrione doesn’t have the greatest cardio or grappling skills, but he has power, and plenty of it. I also believe a re-evaluation is in order. Fedor can no longer overcome improper technique. He doesn’t have the physical gifts anymore to do that. When you stumble, you have to make changes.

GOOD – Neiman Gracie submits Dave Marfone: Gracie did what you would expect, work his grappling and takedowns and submissions. He locked in a submission in the second round to get the victory. Nice win for Gracie. With the last three fights all ending early, this was put in to fill some time. It also ended early and continues the string of good finishes (though the Chandler injury puts a damper on that some).

UGLY – Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen: This fight sucked, it literally sucked. It sucked the excitement out of the night with this blanket performance from Sonnen. I expected Sonnen to work his wrestling but I thought Silva would have at least a little answer for it. Instead, he just lays there as Sonnen pelts him with little shots and the occasional big elbow. Thankfully, this was only three rounds because I probably would have turned the channel if it were five.

For the record, Sonnen fought a smart fight and used his wrestling. There’s no way in hell I thought he would stand and trade with Silva; that would have been crazy. He used his wrestling well, but it was incredibly boring. I don’t blame Sonnen for this fight being a total dud, at least not entirely. He was landing some shots and going for some submissions.

I blame Silva for having no answer whatsoever to the takedowns. He might as well have thrown himself onto his back for all the resistance he was putting up. The other party I blame is Bellator. Why in the hell was this the main event? Silva hadn’t fought in over four years and Sonnen just looked like hot garbage against Tito Ortiz. That’s the main event? Really? And most of the promotion was on it?

And you trot out Sonnen over and over to keep talking himself up as this American Gangster badass figure he tries to portray himself as? Nobody with a brain believes that crap. Nobody gets hyped for a fight because of that. Sonnen talks himself up as this hard-hitting tough guy with good striking, and every single fight he has is him laying on someone the whole time. No one believes him, so why do you indulge him? This is like a kid who calls himself the smartest kid in school when he brings home nothing but D’s, and his parents allow him to say that stuff.

So Bellator deserves some blame for allowing Sonnen to talk so much, and Sonnen deserves some blame because he hasn’t figured out another way to hype a fight besides shouting a bunch of bombastic and hyperbolic declarations.

Anyway, this fight was a really bad way to end a wild and eventful night for Bellator’s second pay-per-view.

UFC Fight Night 112

BAD – B.J. Penn vs. Dennis Siver: Siver hasn’t fought in a few years and Penn is so far over the hill that he can’t even see the top anymore, so I wasn’t super-excited for this one. It turns out that was pretty spot-on as this fight wasn’t very good or easy to watch. Penn looked really bad for the vast majority of the fight. Siver had some strong moments, but I just don’t get the point of this fight. I guess the UFC didn’t want to put someone in there with Penn who would crush him, but Siver did put a whooping on him. Nice decision win for Siver, I suppose, but nothing was really gained here.

BAD – Tim Means vs. Alex Garcia: Not much happened here, as both guys seemed to cancel each other out. Means won by decision in a forgettable fight.

GOOD – Dominick Reyes stops Joachim Christensen: Reyes dropped Christensen early, he got back up, and then dropped him again for the finish. Good display of power by Reyes and a big win for him.

GOOD – Felice Herrig vs. Justine Kish: Herrig completely and utterly dominated Kish here. She took her down and was all over her on the mat. Kish showed great toughness. Herrig was dominant, but Kish just wouldn’t be stopped. She wouldn’t go away no matter what Herrig did. Strong win for Herrig.

GOOD – Tim Boetsch stops Johny Hendricks: Hendricks unbelievably missed weight for this fight, which is why he moved up to middleweight in the first place. How do you move up fifteen pounds and still miss weight? Anyway, so this was another bad weight cut for Hendricks and it seemed to show. Of course, Boetsch is solid and will take advantage of any slip-ups. In the second round, he hurt Hendricks with a headkick then finished him off with a flurry on the ground. Nice win for Boetsch.

GOOD/BAD – Kevin Lee submits Michael Chiesa: Lee was all over Chiesa and was largely in total control. Then he locked in a tight choke. The referee stopped the fight without Chiesa tapping or anything. He seemed to indicate that Chiesa was out, but it didn’t look that way to me. I wasn’t on top of the action like the ref was, though, so I can’t say for sure. Lee was likely going to win anyway, as it would have been extremely unlikely that Chiesa managed to escape. It happens, though, and it had just happened with Justine Kish in her fight against Felice Herrig earlier in the night. I doubt they do a rematch, but you never know. Lee called out Khabib Nurmagomedov, who he’s not getting and even if he did, they would have to postpone and reschedule the fight several times to accommodate the numerous injuries Nurmagomedov is likely to come down with. I’m not sure who Lee fights next, but I think he tries to move on from Chiesa and tries to work his way up the rankings in the division. Not the best way to end the weekend, but not the worst either.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: First Thoughts on McGregor vs. Mayweather, plus The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 111

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

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