UFC 220 and Bellator 192 went head to head this past weekend, running shows on the same day. Both cards featured interesting matchups. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Henry Corrales vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
Karakhanyan showed little urgency, even as he was clearly losing in the third round. Corrales ended up winning the decision. Corrales pummeled Karakhanyan and stuffed his takedown attempts. Nice win for Corrales.
GREAT- Aaron Pico stops Shane Kruchten
Pico came out throwing and dropped Kruchten early. He then followed up with a devastating body kick that crumpled Kruchten for the walk-off win in under forty seconds. Good win for Pico.
GOOD- Michael Chandler vs. Goiti Yamauchi
Chandler was just too much for Yamauchi here. For the most part, he did whatever he wanted. Yamauchi had no answers and could only seek to defend the best he could. He still took a pounding, though, and Chandler got the decision win.
GOOD/BAD- Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima
Some parts of this fight were good, some parts were bad. MacDonald looked to keep the fight on the ground a lot and work there, and Lima gassed and could only defend. I checked the clock at least a few times in each round. This was for Lima’s Bellator welterweight championship so we got five rounds of this, which kind of deadens any of the excitement that was in the fight. MacDonald won the decision and becomes the new Bellator welterweight champion. Nice win for him.
GOOD/BAD/UGLY- Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Rampage had some success on the feet, Sonnen had success on the mat. That was the story here. Sonnen did what he does, he gets you down and lays on you and tries to throw some punches and maybe tries for a submission. Usually he doesn’t get anything but has maintained control over you for so long that he’s given the round. Then, when he wins the fight, he grabs the microphone and acts as though he just destroyed his opponent and left him shattered into a million pieces. He then trash talks his next opponent and hypes himself up as the baddest man on the planet. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s served him well in his career.
However, now that he’s at the tail end of his career, I’m not sure how many people still care to ride the Sonnen train. It was easier to buy into his delusion of greatness when he was actually a decent fighter. Or when he actually has a chance to defeat his opponent. That is not the case for his next fight.
Sonnen is slated to fight the winner of Frank Mir vs. Fedor Emelianenko in the semi-finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. I know both Mir and Fedor are shells of their former selves, but they both have enough in the tank to utterly and completely destroy Sonnen. It’s not just because of the size difference (though that will obviously be a factor), but because of the styles of both Mir and Fedor.
Both are great on the ground and both should be able to stop any takedown attempts if they choose. I could see Sonnen possibly getting a takedown or two during the fight, but even if he does, he’s not going to be able to do anything with it. Is he really going to want to trade submissions with Mir or Fedor? I highly doubt it. Is he going to want to stand and trade? I highly doubt it. I just don’t see an avenue for victory for Sonnen.
Part of me will be rooting for Sonnen because of the size difference and all that, but I just can’t imagine how he wins this fight. It appears as though either Mir or Fedor are going to have an easy path to the finals. You never want to underestimate anybody but I just don’t see it. It would be a cool and chaos-inducing win for Sonnen to pull it off, but I just don’t see how.
GOOD- Rob Font stops Thomas Almeida
Font kept landing some heavy shots and Almeida eventually withered beneath the pressure. A head kick followed by some punches finished things about halfway through the second round. Good win for Font.
BAD- Gian Villante vs. Francimar Barraso
This fight sucked. Barraso didn’t want to engage for long periods so Villante chased him around. Villante won the decision.
GOOD- Calvin Kattar stops Shane Burgos
This was a close fight, but in the beginning of the third round, Kattar clocked Burgos with an uppercut, hit him with another and that ended things. Nice win for Kattar.
GOOD- Daniel Cormier stops Volkan Oezdemir
Cormier controlled this fight after some tentativeness in the beginning. He had to find what worked, and when he did, it was over. He nearly submitted Oezdemir at the end of the first round, but was stopped by the hell. Then, in the second round, he got Oezdemir trapped in a crucifix and then rained down shots until the ref jumped in. Big win for Cormier, who looked great in defending the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship again.
Cormier still has that monkey of the Jon Jones fights on his back, but he’s doing what he can to erase that from memory. He just has to keep winning and dominating opponents and not worry about it. It’s unclear if Jones will ever have that rectal-cranial extraction he so desperately needs, but if he does, maybe Cormier gets another shot at him? Maybe not, though, and that’s all right. Cormier has proven that he’s one of the best fighters on the planet. Obviously, a victory over Jones would be huge for him, but even without it, there’s no denying how good he is.
GOOD- Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou
Things started fast and it looked as though the fight wouldn’t last very long. The problem was, Ngannou just gassed. He wasn’t used to the level of intensity Miocic brings, you have to be ready to fight him for twenty-five full minutes. This was new territory for Ngannou. However, I think he responds to this and improves and gets another title shot down the road.
I give Ngannou credit for being tough because Miocic was pummeling him with big shots over and over, but he never gave up. Miocic is like a machine. I’m not nearly ready to call him the best heavyweight ever, but he’s certainly in the mix for best UFC heavyweight ever.
To be honest, it’s shameful that he isn’t a bigger star than he is. He should be one of the biggest stars in the fight game. He’s got what the UFC should be looking for. He’s a heavyweight, isn’t that supposed to be the most popular division? That’s what I hear from certain fans when they dismiss the lighter divisions. He has exciting fights, isn’t that something to build around? He can talk well. He may have an Eastern European sounding name but he was born in Ohio, for crying out loud.
There’s no reason Miocic shouldn’t be one of the biggest stars in the MMA world, except for maybe the fact that the UFC has dropped the ball when it comes to doing their job and promoting him. That’s the only reason I can think of. We could be looking at the best heavyweight in UFC history. I don’t know who is next for him, but I’m excited to see it.
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