Bellator 212, Bellator 213, and UFC on FOX 31 were both this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.
GOOD- Derek Campos vs. Sam Sicilia
Campos could have been finished in the first round, Sicilia was nearly finished in the second, and the third ended without anything major happening but Campos controlling things but not being able to finish the fight. Sicilia won by split decision in a good fight.
GOOD- Alejandra Lara vs. Juliana Velasquez
Lara had some success early but then Velasquez turned up the heat and took over. Velasquez landed some big punches throughout the fight and won the split decision. Probably should have been unanimous but whatever.
GOOD- A.J. McKee submits Daniel Crawford
Crawford had a little success on the feet early but then McKee got a takedown and went to work, locking in a choke to get the submission win. McKee needs to be fighting guys at the top of the division, it’s time.
GOOD- Javy Ayala submits Frank Mir
Ayala busted up Mir early and Mir just never recovered. He was bleeding and that took him out of his gameplan and from there, Ayala just went to town and beat him up. Mir doesn’t seem to have a whole lot left but it’s the heavyweight division so maybe he does, hard to say for sure. A good win for Ayala.
GOOD- Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus
This was for the Bellator Lightweight Championship, and it delivered big time. I give Primus a lot of credit, he fought like hell even though he was outmatched. Chandler was just better tonight. In pretty much every category, he was the better fighter. However, Primus never stopped. This was an outstanding fight. Maybe it’s because I like both guys, but I was really into this fight. Chandler won the decision and adds even more to his Bellator bio. Great stuff here from both guys.
GOOD- Nainoa Dung stops Kona Oliveira
Oliveira got Dung to the ground in the first round and hit him with some big shots. The second round saw some of the same but also Dung battling back and hitting Oliviera with some big shots of his own. In the third round, Dung got Olivier down and worked his way to full mount, where he proceeded to start unloading on Oliviera until the ref stepped in. Big John McCarthy was one of the announcers and acted like it was an early stoppage but when a fighter is in full mount unloading hell on the guy, what’s the ref supposed to do? I would much rather the stoppage be too early than too late.
GOOD- Liam McGeary stops Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
What happened here was basically Mo wasn’t able to land many takedowns and the ones he did land, McGeary got right back up from them. McGeary wore King Mo down and finally finished him with some hard shots about a minute into the third round. Good win for McGeary.
GOOD/BAD- Neiman Gracie submits Ed Ruth
Truth be told, I wasn’t really feeling this fight. I should have been, though, as Gracie was working his grappling and such, but it just felt inevitable that he would submit Ruth. The only question seemed to be when. Maybe it was the energy of the people I was watching this with, but this fight just seemed to drag and felt dull. That’s probably not fair, as Gracie was doing his thing, but he got the nice submission in the fourth round to advance in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix.
GOOD/BAD- Lyoto Machida vs. Rafael Carvalho
Another fight that I wasn’t feeling, especially at the start. Machida started slow and I thought “Here we go again” as I was expecting a typical Machida fight where he fights in quicksand for the first half of the fight before his alarm clock goes off and he realizes he better do something before he loses. That’s basically what happened here as he didn’t do much in the first round except get his nose bloodied. He came out looking fairly good in the second round but it was really close. In the third round, Machida came out and got some takedowns, which likely sealed the deal for him. Machida won the split decision.
GOOD/BAD- Ilima-Lei Macfarlane submits Valerie Letourneau
This was for the Bellator Women’s Flyweight Title and I hate to say it, but this was still another fight that wasn’t all that great. I sound like a broken record but the first two rounds were just meh. The third round saw Macfarlane get a takedown and start attacking on the ground, going for multiple submissions before finally locking in a tight triangle for the tap. Good win for Macfarlane.
UFC on FOX 31
GOOD- Charles Oliviera submits Jim Miller
Not a whole lot to say here. Oliviera got Miller down and locked in the rear-naked choke and that was it. Took a little over a minute. Miller has obviously slipped but Oliviera is also really good. Nice win for him.
GOOD- Rob Font vs. Sergio Pettis
Font was the bigger man and he took full advantage of it. Pettis showed nice toughness, but he couldn’t overcome the size and Font won the dominating decision.
GOOD/UGLY- Edson Barboza stops Dan Hooker
Hooker showed a toughness the likes very few have ever shown because Barboza beat the hell out of him for multiple minutes. Barboza was great as he worked every part of the body. Hooker was done halfway through the second round, yet the fight continued until almost halfway through the third round. I don’t see how this fight wasn’t stopped a lot sooner. Barboza was clearly better and all extending the fight did was allow Hooker to get beat up more. The cageside doctor should have stopped it, his corner should have stopped it, the referee should have stopped it.
The notion of “Let a fighter work through it” is just dumb. 99% of the time, this is exactly what happens. Yes, there have been very rare occasions where a fighter comes back from a beating like this and wins but those are flukes. It almost never happens. I don’t want to make a federal case of this or anything, but sometimes you just have to be real and say it’s not happening tonight. It’s better to fight another day than take a beating so bad it takes months to recover and possibly shortens your career. That said, good for Barboza.
GOOD- Al Iaquinta vs. Kevin Lee
Iaquinta came out and won the first round to me. Lee won the second and third rounds, but then Iaquinta won the fourth and fifth rounds clearly. Iaquinta won the decision and Lee thought he won, but I think this was the right decision. Iaquinta hurt Lee several times in the last few rounds, nearly finishing Lee at the end of the fifth round. He looked really good. Lee looked good in the fight, though I don’t know about that outfit he wore as he arrived at the arena, I didn’t think that looked all that good. Iaquinta was just better. He landed the more damaging shots.
Iaquinta called out Conor McGregor after the win. Hell, I’d love to see that fight. It could be something really special. I don’t know if it’ll actually happen, especially given the way Iaquinta talks to and about the UFC, but I guess it depends on how much money they think that fight would make. This was a great win to end a weekend of fights.