HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 219 and UFC Fight Night 149, plus Conor McGregor “retires”

by frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor

Mar 30, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Edson Barboza (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Wells Fargo Arena. Gaethje won the fight. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator 219 and UFC Fight Night 149 were both this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown then quickly hit on Conor McGregor “retiring” last week.

Bellator 219
GOOD- Joe Schilling vs. Keith Berry
Schilling showed an improved ground game and was able to reverse Berry a few times and escape danger. He opened up a gash on Berry with a big elbow on the ground and just generally outworked Berry en route to the decision victory. Good win for Schilling.

GOOD/BAD- Andrei Koreshkov vs. Mike Jasper
Koreshkov is just the better fighter. He didn’t really seem to turn it on in this fight but he didn’t need to. He did enough to win the decision, maybe a little more, but this wasn’t a great fight. It was nice and solid, but Koreshkov fought to not lose rather than win. I can’t really blame him too much because a loss here would have been really bad, but this was just an okay fight.

GOOD- Daniel Straus submits Shane Kruchten
Straus floored Kruchten with a big left hand and jumped on him, sinking in a rear-naked choke to get the submission win. Big win for Straus as he returns from a serious motorcycle injury.

GOOD- Brandon Girtz vs. Saad Awad
Both guys were throwing big shots and landing good counters and this was just a back and forth fight. Girtz was usually coming out ahead in the exchanges, which is why he won by decision. This was a fun fight. Both guys showed toughness and tenacity by continuing to come forward despite a lot of punches and kicks thrown and landed. Girtz seemed to have a little better cardio and I think that played a big part in his win. Good win for Girtz.

UFC Fight Night 149
BAD- Sodiq Yusuff vs. Shaymon Moraes
This was a close fight but it was also dull. They fought like they were underwater. Maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought, but I didn’t care for this much at all. Yusuff won the decision.

BAD/GOOD- Paul Craig submits Kennedy Nzechukwu
This was a slow and dull fight as well. The GOOD comes from the finish, which saw Craig reverse a bad spot right into a triangle for the submission win. That was really cool. The rest of the fight? No.

GOOD- Michelle Waterson vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
I’m a Waterson fan so I probably like this fight more than I might have otherwise, but I thought it was good. Waterson was on her game and she made it very tough for Kowalkiewicz to get anything going. Waterson won the decision and she’s in the mix for a title shot. Hard to say what the UFC does but she’s got to be on the shortlist. Good win for Waterson.

GOOD- Josh Emmett stops Michael Johnson
Johnson was winning this fight almost the entire way. With less than a minute to go in the third round, Emmett blasted Johnson with a huge right hand that ended the fight. That was crazy, he was getting beat up the whole time, then catches Johnson with a big power shot and that’s it. That’s a hell of a counter and a really tough way for Johnson to lose.

GOOD- Jack Hermansson submits David Branch
This took less than a minute. Hermansson tossed Branch to the mat and slapped on a guillotine. It was stunning because Branch is a good grappler but Hermansson got him good. Wow. Big win for Hermansson.

GOOD- Justin Gaethje stops Edson Barboza
Barboza got hurt early and Gaethje just kept coming forward. He was relentless, as you expect, and Barboza had no answer. A big right hook from Gaethje puts Barboza down and out halfway through the first round. I love watching Gaethje fight. It’s absolutely incredible to see him fight. He’s the most exciting fighter I’ve ever seen in MMA. I don’t say that lightly, as there’s been a bunch of others who were incredibly exciting, but Gaethje is just special. What a great way to end the card, three straight jaw-dropping finishes. Good win for Gaethje.


Conor McGregor announced his retirement last week. Let’s get right to it, I don’t believe it for a second. Not a single second. There’s no way McGregor is actually retired. He will fight again for the UFC by the end of 2019. I can see him fighting in the UFC this summer. I don’t buy that he’s actually retired, I think it’s some ploy. I don’t know if it’s connected to this at all, but McGregor has been accused of sexual assault in Ireland. I don’t know the details of the case so I won’t comment on that.

I didn’t even want to put this news in here but McGregor is the biggest name in MMA so I figured I should at least address it. I don’t know anyone who believes he’s actually retired. If I had to guess, he’s just trying to get more money from the UFC and when they start looking at the buyrates for some of their shows, they’ll throw money at him and we’ll get some statement from him saying “I’m back!” The over/under is probably about three months from now, maybe four if they’re feeling defiant. The UFC’s match-making is unpredictable at times, but I think this is very predictable. It feels like we’ve all seen this movie before.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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