With both UFC 224 and Bellator 199 occurring on the same night, the fight fan might need to chose between the two events. Being that both main cards will feature five fights, here is a comparison of each fight based on their placement on their respective card.
(Yes I am aware that Bellator 199 will start an hour before UFC 224, but let’s have some fun with this anyway.)
UFC 224: Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida
Bellator 199: Aaron Pico vs. Lee Morrison
Fight to watch: Aaron Pico vs. Lee Morrison
While Belfort vs. Machida carries much more star power than Pico vs. Morrison, this comes down to battle of the past against the future. The seniors in the UFC will provide very little entertainment, whereas Bellator will showcase one of the hottest prospects in the sport. Since his shocking debut loss, Aaron Pico has looked every bit of the blue chip prospect that he was once touted as. Ironically, The UFC 224, sounds like a future Bellator main event.
Score: UFC (0) Bellator (1)
UFC 224: John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher
Bellator 199: Adam Piccolotti vs. Carrington Banks
Fight to watch: John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher
This one is not really close. Lineker vs. Kelleher has the potential to be the best fight of the weekend. Both men have a history of exciting bouts, this one should be no different. Not to mention, Kelleher has a respectful rivalry with the Brazilian fan base.
Score: UFC (1) Bellator (1)
UFC 224: Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper
Bellator 199: Cheick Kongo vs. Javy Ayala
Fight to watch: Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper
This one goes the UFC for the same reason that Bellator took the opener. It is unclear if Mackenzie Dern will develop into MMA’s next great female superstar. However, it is abundantly clear that any fight she is in will be much more entertaining than any fight involving Cheick Kongo.
Score: UFC (2) Bellator (1)
UFC 224: Ronaldo Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Bellator 199: Jon Fitch vs. Paul Daley
Fight to watch: Ronaldo Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Jon Fitch is a solid name from a bygone era, and Paul Daley is generally involved in interesting fights, but this is bout the stakes of the fight. On its own, Souza vs. Gastelum is an intriguing fight, but when you consider that winner will be right back in the UFC middleweight title picture, the choice is fairly simple. With that said, the Bellator bout could be more interesting after the bell.
Score: UFC (3) Bellator (1)
UFC 224: Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington (For the women’s bantamweight title)
Bellator 199: Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal ( Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament Quarterfinal)
Fight to watch: Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal
Well, I am going to contradict myself here, but despite the stakes in the UFC 224 main event, Bader vs. Lawal will likely be a better fight. It figures that Nunes-Pennington will either end early, or go on painfully long. On the other hand, Bader vs. “King Mo” has dramatic potential while only lasting a possible three rounds. While this is an opening round fight, these are two men that could win the whole thing. If Pennington pulles the big upset over Nunes, everything written above will become irrelevant.
Final Score: UFC (3) Bellator (2)
Sure the UFC got the win here, but outside of one fight, most of these were tough decisions. Not to mention the simple fact that UFC 224 will set you back over $60.