MCGRATH: 12 things I learned this weekend in MMA

By David McGrath, MMATORCH contributor

Jessica Andrade
May 11, 2019; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rose Namajunas (red gloves) fights Jessica Andrade (blue gloves) during UFC 237 at Jeunesse Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 237 and Bellator 221 were much hyped and rightly so. Both cards delivered for the most part and the knockouts especially for Bellator were spectacular. Let’s dig in on 12 storylines from the weekend in MMA.

1. BJ Penn needs to stop

Listen, there is no bigger BJ Penn fan than yours truly. The man is a legend who has fought at five different weight classes and may be the greatest 155-er of all time. All that said, he’s 1-9-1 in his last 11 and took another lackluster loss last night to Clay Guida. Penn is a legend. But his in octagon career is long over.

2. Nate Diaz selling wolf tickets again?

We have done so many stop and starts with Nate Diaz that nobody actually believes he will make the walk after his UFC 241 co-main event against Anthony Pettis was announced last night. Diaz’s hard-nosed never say die style makes him a fan fave but what good is that if all we have are memories? Diaz is 33, he is in his athletic prime and needs to actually make the walk to remain relevant, considering he hasn’t fought since August 2016.

3. Michael “Venom” Page is flashy but has no fundamentals

Just watch the ending to MVP and Douglas Lima last night. Page covers distance in the most clumsy, awkward slippery way I have ever seen and gets his leg swept and knocked out stone cold. Be as flashy as you may, but fundamentals are everything. Lima, ever the professional just hung back and waited for MVP to make a mistake. Good call. Lima moves on, and Page is back to the proverbial drawing board.

4. Alexander Volkanovski is up next for the 145 lb title

Volkanovski is riding a 17 fight winning streak. His last loss was at 170 and was FIVE YEARS ago. Say what you will about Frankie Edgar, but he has won just one fight in a row, and he lost in brutal fashion to top contender Brian Ortega. The play at 145 is to book Max Holloway and Volkanovski and also Zabit and Ortega.

5. It’s Time for Jose Aldo to move to 155 pounds

Listen, there are no more matchups for the greatest featherweight of all time at 145. It’s time for Aldo to move to 155 rejuvenate his career and look at fresh matchups.

6. Jake Hager got himself a patsy Saturday night

Don’t be so quick to say that he’s fighting patsies and that is his fault, however. I talked to a Bellator heavyweight Saturday night and he told me the commissions frown upon guys who are unproven fighting big time ranked guys right off the bat. Greg Hardy and Jake Hager will have to take tomato cans off the bat.

7. AJ McKee is a hell of a young prospect

That said, how would he fare in the UFC featherweight division right now? I don’t think he would fare too well. I don’t think he would win over anybody in UFC’s featherweight top 5 right now. He turned in an underwhelming performance against veteran Pat Curran last night.

8. Anderson Silva checked out early last night with a leg injury

Many thought this fight against Jared Cannonier in Brazil would be his swan song. Obviously, the fight was very underwhelming, and the lead up left a lot to be desired. My guess is we will see Silva again, with a more named opponent than Cannonier.

9. The stoppage in the Pitbull- Chandler fight was fine

Pitbull Freire looked awesome and powerful at 155 last night against Michael Chandler. The sequence that lead to Pitbull becoming the 2nd ever Bellator champ-champ was fine to me. Chandler did not defend and ate 5-6 punches. Bottom line if you don’t defend yourself, the ref is going to stop it.

10. The slam that led to Rose Namajuanas losing was perfectly legal

Jessica Andrade got dominated last night. When her chance came, however, she capitalized and won the UFC strawweight title in her home country last night. Perfect execution and a great example of you have to shoot your shot when it’s there.

11. Rose Namajuanas does not want to be a fighter

Her post-fight comments said it all to me. People who are totally invested do not even think those things that she said. I am glad she made enough money to pay off her house, but I don’t expect Rose to be a major factor moving forward with that mindset.


12. Ronda Rousey is still hated

Jeez, anyone else’s Twitter feed blow up with Ronda hate after they showed a 40-second clip of her upcoming interview? She took her ball and went home, and the UFC fans will not forget.

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