Bellator 206 was this past weekend, let’s get right to the rundown.
GOOD- Gaston Bolanos stops Ysidro Gutierrez
The first round was fine, but in the second round was where he turned it up a notch and finished Gutierrez on the ground after hitting him with some hard strikes. Good win for Bolanos.
GOOD- Keri Melendez vs. Dakota Zimmerman
Melendez came out on fire early but Zimmerman matched her. Melendez likely won the first round and Zimmerman likely won the third round as Melendez faded. The second round was what decided the winner as it was very close. I thought Melendez won that round but I could definitely see why some would say Zimmerman won. Melendez ended up getting the split decision victory and a close, hard-fought win.
GOOD- Aaron Pico stops Leandro Higo
Pico came out firing and stopped Higo a bit over three minutes into the first round. He was just so aggressive that it was hard for Higo to get anything going. He showed good toughness and some good avoidance but it caught up to him and Pico dropped Higo and swarmed him. Higo got through it as the ref opted to not stop the fight, but it didn’t matter because Pico kept it up and was like a windmill in a tornado as he was throwing punches just about faster than you could see them. It was too much and Pico got the stoppage. Good win for him.
GOOD- Douglas Lima submits Andrey Koreshkov
This was a quarterfinal match in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix. To be honest, the fight started slow and stayed that way throughout. It was a good fight overall, but I have to admit to getting antsy during it. There’s a variety of reasons why, but I just felt like the fight never left first gear. Lima did lock in a nice rear-naked choke halfway through the fifth round to get the win and advance, so that was cool. Good win for Lima.
GOOD- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson stops Wanderlei Silva
Rampage got the stoppage late in the second round. I’m torn on these types of fights. It’s kind of cool to have an unofficial Senior’s Tour in MMA, but on the other hand, we’re talking about a dangerous sport and most of these guys took a lot of punishment over the course of their careers.
At the same time, though, if they’re fighting other older fighters, how dangerous is it?
I do think this is the appropriate spot for these kinds of fights. Not on pay-per-view because PPV is a relic of a bygone era that severely limits your audience. The biggest sports in the world, the ones that make the most money, don’t touch PPV with a ten-foot pole. Yeah, guys like Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor can drive big sales in PPV but that money doesn’t extend out to the vast majority of other fighters. MMA also doesn’t have the 100+ years of history to fall back on like boxing does. The people who run sports networks and stuff grew up with boxing, it’ll be another twenty years at least before they’ll have grown up with MMA.
Rant aside, these Senior’s Tour fights should never be the main event or focal point of the advertising. I would argue that the Lima-Koreshkov fight should have been after this fight as well, but at least Silva-Rampage wasn’t the main event. For Bellator, that’s progress.
The fight itself was fine, there was a good amount of punches thrown and both men were swinging for the fences. Rampage got the win, but that’s basically secondary with these kinds of fights. They’re not fighting for a title so wins and losses don’t mean as much. And there’s not enough older guys fighting like this to make it worth it to create a belt, though Bellator might try that anyway.
These fights are just supposed to be entertaining and make you go, “Hey, I remember that guy!”. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on how serious a fan you are. Bellator wants to draw in casual fans and hopefully convert them to hardcore fans. I don’t have the metrics as to whether that actually happens or not, but it’s obviously worth it to Bellator so I’m sure they’ll keep doing this.
GOOD Gegard Mousasi stops Rory MacDonald
Mousasi is the Bellator Middleweight Champion and MacDonald is the Bellator Welterweight Champion. This was for Mousasi’s belt and he was a good deal bigger than MacDonald. That was clearly a big factor in this. Skill can trump size if your skill is sufficiently better than the size difference. The bigger your opponent is than you, the more advantage you have to have in skill.
Rory MacDonald is very skilled, very talented. The problem is, Gegard Mousasi is very skilled, very talented as well. You could argue that Mousasi is more skilled than MacDonald but even if you don’t believe that, there’s little doubt that the skill advantage MacDonald has over Mousasi isn’t enough to overcome the size advantage Mousasi has.
I’m a fan of both fighters so I thought this would go the distance. I just figured that MacDonald is so tough that Mousasi wouldn’t be able to stop him without putting himself into a dangerous situation.
My admiration for MacDonald’s toughness caused me to underestimate the difference Mousasi’s size would make. I also thought Mousasi would be more cautious in the early rounds because he wouldn’t want to put himself in a spot where he could lose his title. Instead, Mousasi peppered MacDonald with jabs early, got the fight to the ground, and worked some damaging ground-and-pound to get the win. He landed some tough shots on MacDonald.
This was the kind of performance from Mousasi that makes you wonder if there’s anyone in the world who can beat him, Bellator or elsewhere.
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