By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Contributor
Bellator Europe 8 and UFC 253 were both this past weekend. Let’s get to the rundown.
Bellator Europe 8
GOOD/BAD- Will Fleury vs. Kent Kauppinen
Fleury grounded Kauppinen en route to the decision win. Not super exciting but good win for Fleury.
GOOD- Mike Shipman vs. Pietro Penini
They traded big shots and then Shipman got a takedown and worked his ground-and-pound. Wash, rinse, repeat. Shipman got the decision win, good win for him.
GOOD- Costello Van Steenis vs. Fabian Edwards
This was a close fight but van Steenis edged out Edwards and got the decision win. Both guys fought hard but van Steenis was just a little better. Good win for van Steenis.
GOOD/BAD- Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Matthews
Sanchez charged around a lot in this fight, but didn’t score much of anything solid. The other day Conor McGregor posted an exchange between himself and Dana White, where McGregor said he wanted to fight Sanchez. White said they’d lose their promoters license if they booked that, and it’s hard to disagree. Conor has fully embraced the sideshow aspect of his career. He wants to fight a guy clearly way beneath his level? Come on. He’s also recently talked about fighting Manny Pacquiao. Whatever pays the bills, I guess. He might as well cash in while he can, though he should know he sacrifices whatever credibility he has left when he does this.
Anyway, back to this fight. Matthews just beat the hell out of Sanchez here. Diego was too tough to be finished but it was clearly a mismatch. Matthews won the decision, good win for him.
GOOD- Brad Riddell vs. Alex Da Silva
This was a solid slugfest that Riddell won by decision. Good win for him.
GOOD- Hakeem Dawodu vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
Tukhugov started strong but faded late while Dawodu started late but turned it on in the latter rounds. Dawodu won by split decision, good win for him.
GOOD- Ketlen Vieira vs. Sijari Eubanks
Yet another solid fight that ended in decision. I’m not going to attach a BAD to any of these fights because they’ve been fine but there’s been a lot of close decision fights on this card. I’m sure some of it is the Diego Sanchez-Conor McGregor talk and how McGregor looks so weak wanting to fight Sanchez, and maybe some of it is my disbelief at watching #3 Oklahoma choke to Kansas State and watching Texas Tech gag away a 15 point lead in 4 minutes to lose in overtime to #8 Texas but I’m feeling salty tonight. Anyway, Vieira won the decision, good win for her.
GOOD- Brandon Royval submits Kai Kara-France
Royval dropped Kara-France with a spinning elbow and then started going for submissions. He didn’t lock any in but he threatened a few times in the first round. The second round started the same and this time Royval did lock in a guillotine after Kara-France tried for a takedown. Good win for Royval.
GOOD- Jan Blachowicz stops Dominick Reyes
Not much action in the first round, unfortunately. Blachowicz did land some solid strikes but Reyes didn’t do much of anything. Things picked up a little in the second round as they traded strikes. Blachowicz rushed forward and this time he dropped Reyes and finished him off on the ground to win the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Good win for Blachowicz as he captures gold.
GOOD- Israel Adesanya stops Paulo Costa
Costa took a lot of damage in the first round, likely in the hopes of taking punishment to deliver punishment. That didn’t work out, though, as Adesanya beat the hell out of Costa. The second round saw Adesanya continue to deliver the pain as he dropped Costa and finished him off to successfully defend his UFC Middleweight Championship. I don’t know who’s next but they’re going to have a hard time beating Adesanya. He hasn’t shown a lot of weakness in pushing his record to 20-0. I’ve seen too many of these unbeatable looking fighters lose to say that no one will beat Adesanya but they’re going to have to bring it like they’ve never done before to beat him.
Given Adesanya’s height of 6’4″ it’s only a matter of time before he moves up to light heavyweight. Hell, I could see him moving up to heavyweight eventually. That might not happen happen until he nears forty years old but you never know for sure. A guy that tall would fit right in at heavyweight. However, there’s no question he’ll move up to light heavyweight eventually. And I’m sure he’ll enjoy tremendous success there as well. Good win for Adesanya, this was a great way to end the card.
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