HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 186 and UFC 217

BY FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

UFC 217 was this past weekend and it was a wild event full of surprising outcomes, including a triple-changer like the old Transformers toys where we saw three titles change hands in one night. Bellator 186 was also this past weekend and it was a fine event. Let’s get to the rundown.


Bellator 186

GOOD- Saad Awad stops Zach Freeman

Awad popped Freeman with a right hand that started the ending sequence. Freeman tried to recover but he couldn’t; he was out of it and the ref jumped in. Nice win for Awad.

GOOD- Ed Ruth stops Chris Dempsey

Ruth is starting to make a name for himself. Ruth was all over Dempsey in the first round and Dempsey did well to survive the round. In the second round though, Ruth landed two powerful rights and that was it. Good win for Ruth.

UGLY- Phil Davis vs. Leo Leites

I’ll be blunt; this was a boring piece of trash fight. Davis was a big favorite and clearly the better fighter, but instead of trying to win he was content to play patty cake and lay there for three rounds. Horrible fight.

GOOD- Ilima Lei Macfarlane submits Emily Ducote

Macfarlane dominated Ducote for five rounds before finally locking in the submission. Ducote was just too tough, she wasn’t going away. Macfarlane had to work hard for this victory, and she did, becoming the first Bellator Women’s Flyweight Champion. Strong performance from Macfarlane over a good opponent.

GOOD- Ryan Bader stops Linton Vassell

Bader controlled and dominated this fight before ending in the second round by TKO. He took Vassell down and started landing some good ground and pound. Vassell could only take so much before the ref had to jump in. Bader retains his Bellator Light Heavyweight Title with this win. Nice win for Bader who continues to show that he’s still a high quality fighter.


UFC 217

GOOD- Paulo Borrachinha stops Johny Hendricks

Borrachinha looked like a badass and Hendricks…well, he didn’t. Hendricks got crushed here and he’s now lost five of his last six. It’s time to go; he’s going to suffer even more long term damage than he already has. He’s getting rocked by these guys and taking unneeded punishment. Hendricks had a good run, he should be happy about that.

As for Costa, he looks like a rising star and the real deal. He’s still undefeated and only 26 so he’s going to continue getting better. Big win for him.

GOOD- Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal

Thompson made this fight occur on his terms. Masvidal was playing catchup and it’s so hard to do that with Thompson. This wasn’t a super exciting fight, but I like both guys, so I was into it. I could see some people disliking this fight though. Thompson won the decision and it was pretty clear-cut. Masvidal is really good, but Thompson is hard to figure out.

GREAT- Rose Namajunas stops Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Namajunas delivered huge in this fight, capturing the UFC Women’s Strawweight Title about three minutes into the first round. She out struck one of the best strikers in MMA. Yeah, Jedrzejczyk generally starts slow and builds up, but holy crap, Namajunas made absolutely sure she wasn’t going to get the chance to do that. She dropped her early, but Jedrzejczyk recovered. She’s too tough to go down without a fight. But then Namajunas dropped her again and started unloading on her and it doesn’t matter how tough you are, you get dropped twice in that short a time span and it’s over. You just can’t recover that quickly, certainly not with someone beating the hell out of you.

Fantastic performance from Namajunas, just unbelievable how she was able to take Jedrzejczyk apart like that. I’ve made no secret of how much I love watching Jedrzejczyk fight and how much I respect her, and I have no doubt that she’ll come back from this stronger and get better, which is an exciting proposition. This was incredibly impressive from Namajunas. Wow. I want to see these two fight again as soon as possible. This is an immediate rematch situation to me. I know Namajunas dominated, but I still think you run it back. We’ll see how things shake out though.

GREAT- T.J. Dillashaw stops Cody Garbrandt

Garbrandt was fighting his fight in the first round and even into the second round he was doing pretty well. Dillashaw caught him with a head kick that dropped him and that just started a snowball effect where Dillashaw caught him again and then unloaded on him to finish things off in the second round. Huge win for Dillashaw as he reclaims the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Garbrandt is tough, but Dillashaw showed some really good power and stopped him.

After the win, Dillashaw called out UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. That’s a fight I’d love to see, but the question is where does the fight take place at? It would have to be at 125lbs. flyweight, or 130lbs. catchweight because it would make no sense for Johnson to move up to 135lbs. bantamweight. He’s the dominant longtime champion; he’s the owner of the record for most consecutive title defenses. He’s proven he’s the man, why would he move up? Unless Johnson really, really wants to move up to beat Dillashaw and make even more history, I would think it has to be at flyweight. Besides, Dillashaw is the one calling for the fight; Johnson is just the man who dominates and beats everyone who gets in the cage with him.

Either way, I’d love to see these two fight. There’s absolutely no way I could pick against Johnson, that would be insane. However, Dillashaw has proven that he’s got tremendous speed and striking of his own. Would Johnson try to use his wrestling more in this fight? Or would he want to beat Dillashaw with his striking to make a big statement? Hopefully they can get things decided and we get to see this fight and see what happens.

GREAT- Georges St. Pierre stops Michael Bisping

Both guys were fighting hard, with GSP being cut open and bleeding heavily. They might have split the first two rounds; it’s hard to say for sure. The first round was almost assuredly GSP’s, but the second round could have gone to either man. Well, depending on the judge, I guess.

I thought Bisping took the second round myself, but you never know how some of these judges can be. Bisping controlled the striking, but GSP did get a takedown. He didn’t do anything with it, but it still might have pushed things a bit more towards center for him.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant because in the third round GSP dropped Bisping with a hook and that started the end. GSP started landing some ground and pound and then cinched in a rear-naked choke that put Bisping to sleep. Georges St. Pierre is the new UFC Middleweight Champion joining a select few who have held titles in multiple divisions. This is huge history and puts GSP in some great company.

Back to the fight, it was another title change and another finish. To have three title changes in one night is amazing. To have all three of them be a finish is even more remarkable.

As for the fighters, it’s hard to say where they go from here. Is GSP really going to stay at middleweight? Or would he be interested in going back to welterweight and trying to reclaim gold there? UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley said after the fight that he’s going to go up to middleweight to challenge GSP there. I don’t know how much sense that makes. Robert Whittaker is out due to injury, but when he returns he absolutely has to get the next title shot. The UFC has completely bungled things in this division for a long time and it’s time for things to return to normal. So either GSP fights Whittaker next or he vacates the title and goes back to welterweight. I don’t want to see anything else.

As for Bisping, he can either try to get a big win or two to get back into the title picture or he can retire with his head up. You can say his title reign wasn’t very impressive (which it wasn’t) and that he had a big hand in the bungling of the division as well (which he did), but he won the title straight up. He knocked out the prior champ; it wasn’t some controversial decision or anything like that. He won the title, which is more than I’m sure most of us ever thought he’d do. It’s more than I thought he’d do.

This was an incredible event that delivered in every way possible. They can’t all be like this, but this was special. This is the kind of event that makes you love MMA. This also makes me even more excited for what’s coming next. Events like this open up the floodgates of what’s possible and makes you consider the possibilities. I can’t predict the future, but damn, am I excited for it.


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: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 119


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