HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 185 and UFC Fight Night 118

BY FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

Bellator 185 and UFC Fight Night 118 were this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.


Bellator 185

GOOD- Ana Julaton vs. Lisa Blaine

This was a nice, solid competitive fight that Blaine took the split decision in. This was a really close fight. Nice win for Blaine, but Julaton was close to taking it herself.

GOOD- Kristina Williams stops Heather Hardy

Williams came out blasting away at Hardy and turned her into a mess. She bloodied Hardy up, who showed great toughness to keep coming. It proved to be too much though, as Williams got the doctor stoppage midway through the second round. Good win for Williams and a big setback for Hardy.

GOOD- Neiman Gracie submits Zak Bucia

Gracie got a takedown whenever he wanted and then used his grappling to control Bucia and work towards the submission. He nearly got it a few different times before finally locking one in and getting the tap about halfway through the second round. Nice win for Gracie.

GOOD- Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko

This was an ultra-close fight, and one that could be the tipping point that makes Bellator adapt the rule that all main events are five rounds. You can still have close and controversial fights in five rounds though, and you can also have garbage fights that get extended unnecessarily by two rounds if you adopt this rule. At the same time though, you can also end up with classic fights and moments in the later rounds. So it’s a tough decision.

I would be fine with going five rounds for all main events, but I think they should also introduce a rule that states that if you lose the first three rounds, the fight is over. I think the UFC should also adopt this rule. This won’t get rid of all the crap fights, but it’ll eliminate some of them.

I also think this rule should go hand in hand with a new rule stating that judges are to give their score for the round at the end of that round, or in between rounds, to be more precise. Fights aren’t game shows where people are gathered around waiting for some magical surprise, there’s no reason for the judges to not give their scores right away. Or perhaps I should say that there’s no reason for their scores to not be shown right away. I think this would add more drama to the proceedings if you know that the first two rounds (or first four rounds in a five round fight) were split and the winner of the next round wins the fight.

Back to the actual fight, Mousasi had his right eye swollen shut by Shlemenko in the first round. This caused him to start taking the fight to the ground and he was having some good success there. The second round saw more of this, but Shlemenko was also able to have good success on the feet. I could very easily see the round going for either fighter. I would assume that Shlemenko won the third round, as he had good success then as well. All three judges scored things 29-28 Mousasi and it very easily could have been 29-28 Shlemenko.

Mousasi is rightly considered one of the best middleweights in the world, and he almost lost. A lot of this has to do with the quality of Bellator fighters. It’s easy to look at them as the bush league of the UFC, or the minors, however you want to phrase it. I’m guilty of that myself sometimes. Alexander Shlemenko is a good fighter, but I’m not surprised he nearly beat Mousasi because he’s in Bellator, I was surprised he almost beat Mousasi because Mousasi is one of the best fighters in the world. To be fair, that might seem a little strong, but it is kind of surprising. Still, this was a good win for Mousasi in his Bellator debut.


UFC Fight Night 118

GOOD- Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson

Piechota controlled and dominated this entire fight. I don’t know why Wilson never got going, but Piechota just took control and never let go on his way to the 30-27 decision. Nice win.

GOOD- Jan Blachowicz submits Devin Clark

Clark came out firing and was doing damage. Blachowicz was doing well also, but Clark was getting the better of it. In the second round, Clark shot in for a takedown and Blachowicz was able to secure the guillotine and got the submission. Good win for him.

GOOD- Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jodie Esquibel

Kowalkiewicz dominated this fight and made it very one-sided. She landed at will and only went to the ground when she wanted to. Esquibel couldn’t do much of anything, though she showed good toughness and determination. Kowalkiewicz showed that she’s one of the best strawweights in the world as she cruised to the convincing decision.

GOOD- Darren Till stops Donald Cerrone

Cerrone got a takedown early, but Till stood up quickly. He then started landing big shots and controlling the striking against Cerrone. He started hurting Cerrone and rocked him with a big punch, then followed up with more shots and got the stoppage. Huge win for Till. Cerrone is tough, but Till took him out in the first round.

Till called out Mike Perry after the win. That would be a great fight. Perry has a fight coming up in December against Santiago Ponzinibbio, but I’d love to see him fight Till next. I’m not sure if that’s the path Perry should be taking though, as I’m sure he’d like to fight a higher-ranked fighter next. Regardless, it’d be an exciting fight to see, even if Ponzinibbio beats Perry. Two good cards last week, you can’t complain about that.


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

NOW CHECK OUT HYDEN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: Weight-cutting, UFC on FOX 26 fights, and Conor Mcgregor vs. Georges St. Pierre

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