Fights to make after Bellator 212

By Cole Henry, mmatorch Contributor

Dec 14, 2018; Honolulu, HI, USA; Michael Chandler (blue gloves) defeats Brent Primus (red gloves) during Bellator Hawaii at the Blaisdell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator 212 (Main Card)

Michael Chandler def. Brent Primus for Bellator Lightweight Championship

Michael Chandler is now a three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion, he is arguably the greatest fighter in Bellator history, and some might even argue that he is the best lightweight in the world period. Regardless of the truth, one undisputed fact is that Michael Chandler is a great fighter. He is the king of the Bellator lightweight division even when he isn’t the champion, and now that he is it will be difficult for anybody to dethrone him.

In fact, the next logical challenger for Chandler is somebody that he has already defeated and by KO. But if you were to ask Patricky Pitbull, he would say that lots of things have changed since then. Pitbull has won four straight since the loss, and three of those four wins have come by way of knockout. It’s usually hard to sell a rematch when the first fight ended via first round KO, but this instance is an exception. Pitbull has proven himself to be the best available challenger for Chandler, so he deserves his shot.

Fight to make next: Michael Chandler vs. Patricky Pitbull for Bellator Lightweight Championship

The odd reign of Brent Primus is over and I’m not sure anybody knows what to really think about it. Primus reigned for over 500 days as Bellator Lightweight Champion, but never once defended the belt until this past Friday against Michael Chandler. Most people thought the way that he won the belt in the first place was a bit sketchy, and it really felt like he was just holding onto a belt that truly belonged to Michael Chandler. So, while the result of the fight this past Friday may have been expected, it was perhaps the performance that Primus put on that was not.

Primus has a shocking lack of pro experience for a World Champion, but he showed up to fight and proved that he was at least on Michael Chandler’s level. He isn’t young, despite having only 9 pro fights but perhaps with a few wins, he could potentially earn a rubber match with Chandler. In the meantime, though he will need to earn a legitimate, quality win. His only win over a notable opponent is his victory over Michael Chandler and that fight ended via injury. If Primus can go in and stop a quality Bellator lightweight, perhaps he can speed up the rematch process.

Fight to make next: Brent Primus vs. Ben Henderson

Javy Ayala def. Frank Mir

Javy Ayala has had a fairly interesting career up to this point. He has fought several notable names of the heavyweight division and while they have all been past their primes, it still makes for an impressive looking record none the less. Ayala has competed against the likes of Roy Nelson, and Cheick Kongo, and he holds victories over Sergei Kharitonov and now Frank Mir. He is only 30 years old and could be in for a long career in Bellator if they continue utilizing him in this way. He is a bit like an MMA version of Randy Orton, but his legend fighting tour must come to an end for a bit.

Justin Wren has become a hero in the MMA community to some for his efforts to aid the needy and water-starved in Africa. He also likes smashing people in the cage. Both of these guys need a quality win over a contemporary if they want to be taken seriously as a potential opponent for the winner of the upcoming Fedor Emelianenko/ Ryan Bader Heavyweight Title fight.

Fight to make next: Javy Ayala vs. Justin Wren

Frank Mir has done it all. He is one of the winningest heavyweights in UFC history, he is a former two-time World Champion, a future hall of famer, and arguably the greatest heavyweight submission fighter in MMA history. But he has also seen better days, and they were probably on his mind during and perhaps after the beating that he received at the hands of Javy Ayala. Mir, who is just 2-8 in his last 10 fights, actually looked good in the first round but by the second he’d faded and Javy Ayala starter turning up the pressure. Mir submitted to strikes midway through the second round and looked rather dejected as he stood next to Ayala for the winner’s announcement.

It’s been a long time since the top for Mir, and with two straight losses to start his Bellator career it is now obvious that his career there is picking up right where it ended in the UFC. Mir is still only 39 years old, which isn’t young but when you consider how long he has been competing it is somewhat amazing. He will likely continue fighting once his injuries heal and perhaps a fight with Tim Johnson could work for him. Johnson is another UFC castoff who has started his Bellator career on the wrong foot. If Mir can’t win here it’s hard to say what is next for him.

Fight to make next: Frank Mir vs. Timothy Johnson

AJ McKee def. Daniel Crawford

It’s Hard to say if AJ McKee has truly been tested even once in his thirteen fight Bellator career. He has some very impressive wins, but his opponents are not world beaters. Bellator has taken a “boxing” sort of approach to booking his career. He has been fed low-level opponents and built up into a contender of sorts. Bellator is much better at this than the UFC and you have to wonder what Sage Northcutt’s career would look like had he signed with them instead of the UFC.

McKee is now in a position where some folks are calling for a title shot but it must be stated that despite his success, he is still lacking a name-value win, and he will likely need that before earning a shot in a crowded division. The perfect opponent is Pat Curran. Curran has been ranked as high as the number two featherweight in the world in the past, and while that was long ago, he does remain a top Bellator contender to this day. He was won three straight fights are would provide a very stiff test for McKee, and it could give us a chance to see if he truly is the future of this division.

Fight to make next: AJ McKee vs. Pat Curran

Daniel Crawford is a former BAMMA Featherweight Champion, but he has yet to find success in the big leagues. Crawford is now 0-2 in his Bellator career after starting his MMA career undefeated. AJ McKee was a big step up and its time for a step back down. A fight with Brian Moore is good for now.

Fight to make: Daniel Crawford vs. Brian Moore

Juliana Velasquez def. Alejandra Lara

Juliana Velasquez may have had the performance of the night. She put herself firmly in front of the line when it comes to the title picture and has likely done enough to earn herself a shot. She looked good for three rounds against Alejandra Lara and left little room for any other contenders.

Fight to make next: Juliana Velasquez vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

Fight to make next: Alejandra Lara vs. Anastasia Yankova

Sam Sicilia def. Derek Campos

Sam Sicilia is one of the lesser known fighters to have made the jump from the UFC to Bellator, but he has managed to put together a decent run with the countries second largest fighting league. You get what you get with Sicilia, and that is the ability to hit very hard and to keep moving forward. He has suffered some crucial losses that keep from being considered a contender in the division but with a few more wins perhaps he could change that perception.

Fight to make next: Sam Sicilia vs. Ashleigh Grimshaw


Derek Campos decided to test the waters in the featherweight division but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to come away with his desired result. He has been a Bellator mainstay for quite some time and this loss shouldn’t change that. Justin Lawrence is a guy that despite still being young, has in fact already competed several times in Bellator and the UFC. He was once seen as a noteworthy prospect, but he has since settled into a lesser role in Bellator. Lawrence and Campos are in the same place in terms of rankings but a win for either could help propel them forward.

Fight to make next: Derek Campos vs. Justin Lawrence

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