The UFC put on nearly half a day’s worth of MMA this Saturday, and as expected, there were some great fights and some not so great fights sprinkled throughout.
With two separate Fight Night cards split over two continents, both events were catered to their native audiences and were headlined by rematches were there was little to no demand for a second run through. Over in Belfast, Gegard Mousasi found vengeance at the enigmatic Uriah Hall’s expense while the vastly underrated Ryan Bader dominated an aging veteran in front of Lil Nog’s countrymen. In all honesty, the main events were complete blow-outs, but in achieving their respective victories, both Mousasi and Bader used similar tactics to get the job done and took a page out of the Nurmagomedov playbook to do so.
Heading into both bouts, Mousasi and Bader were thought to hold the clear advantage when it came to wrestling and the pair ensured that the fights played into their favor. In the case of Mousasi and Hall, from the get-go Hall was clearly looking for lightning to strike twice and the fight to stay in his striking wheelhouse as he threatened spin attack after spin attack as his hips were constantly rotating towards his right-hand side. Hall had also seemingly made some adjustments to his stand-up game in a bid to remain more defensively sound for this fight as his hands were held a lot higher than usual but those amendments offered little respite once Mousasi moved in for the takedown.
Dragging Hall down to the mat with a body lock and an accompanying throw over his hip; there was a sense of the inevitable as Mousasi effortlessly pinned the Ultimate Fighter standout against the cage with wrist control being the key component for his success. Holding onto Hall’s left wrist and wedging it underneath his own body, Mousasi grapevined Hall’s legs for extra support and rained down punches under a helpless one handed guard until Marc Goddard was forced to intervene at the end of the first round.
Hours later, Ryan Bader would finish out the first round of his own fight in a similar manner as Bader would pin Nogueira’s arm identically against the cage. You couldn’t help but feel a sense of deja-vu as not only two fighters were using the same technique on their path to victory in the same day but that Khabib Nurmagomedov had dominated Michael Johnson in a similar style just a week earlier. Perhaps the Dagestani has set a new trend for fighters when looking for ground and pound opportunities but Ryan Bader was simply relentless in his quest to find different traps and holds on the mat in order to tee off punches.
When passing to mount, Bader managed to stuff Nogueira’s arm underneath his legs; when posturing up in half-guard he shoved Nogueira’s arm behind the Brazilian’s back – it was unquestionably pure domination on Bader’s behalf before he ultimately put Nogueira away in the third round.
The American is a criminally underrated fighter in the UFC but as his contract comes to a close, he should really be able to hold the UFC over a barrel when it comes to negotiations due to the condition that light heavyweight finds itself in.
In the co-main events, Thomas Almeida returned to winning ways with a TKO finish over Albert Morales while Stevie Ray put in one of his best performances to win a split-decision over veteran Ross Pearson.
The fight was most likely too much, too soon for his opponent. The young Brazilian bantamweight still found himself far too hittable at times. In the pocket, he had brilliant accuracy as his hooks would find their home behind the arms of Morales, but when Morales would return fire, he offered little defense of his own outside of his hands locked in a standard boxing guard. Hopefully, over time, Almeida’s striking will become more balanced outside of his clear penchant for aggression, but if his attentiveness to his corner’s instructions when defending a rear-naked choke are anything to go by, he’ll have no problems with developing as a mixed martial artist.
With Stevie Ray and Ross Pearson, the Scotsman completely nullified Pearson’s slick boxing in the early running as he flicked out a variety of kicks to keep the fight at his range. Using teeps, leg kicks and threatening with a head kick every once in a while, Pearson really struggled to get in on the inside and once he would start to concentrate on the impending kicks, Ray would leap in with a straight left down the pipe.
Pearson eventually grew into the fight with a clear concentration to work the body and some of his brilliant head movement was on display in order to set up his punches. Slipping shots from Ray, Pearson created whole new angles for himself to work with and dug in some gorgeous hooks to Ray’s sides leaving his midriff a pinkish hue once the 15 minutes had elapsed. The fight was eventually called a split decision with one judge completely reversing the others scores with a 30-27 in favor of Pearson and while controversial scorecards aren’t always a bad thing, being able to completely reverse your counterparts while there was a definitive first round win for Ray is quite frankly embarrassing. Hopefully, the judge in question is just incompetent at filling in the scores in the correct columns and not at judging fights. With that being said, in the fight previous, Alexander Volkov can count himself fortunate for coming out on the winning side against Tim Johnson thanks to some more questionable judging.
Speaking of incompetence, Claudia Gadelha took it upon herself to make sure that ‘PRIDE never dies’ as she delivered a head kick to a downed opponent in the form of Cortney Casey. Gadelha had ensured she was comfortable ahead on the scorecards up to that point with her beautiful level changes into the double leg takedown but her momentary lapse of concentration wasn’t even received a warning from the referee. A point deduction wouldn’t have affected the outcome but to completely overlook such a blatant illegal strike was worrying.
Elsewhere, Kamaru Usman and Artem Lobov put in arguably the best performances of their careers as they bested Warlley Alves and Teruto Ishihara respectively. Usman had primarily been seen as a wrestler of the Jon Fitch mold up until Saturday night but he comfortably outworked the heavy handed Alves on the feet with some smart hooks and body strikes. Lobov also managed to get the better of his counterpart on the feet as he walked Ishihara down to the cage and landed an overhand right with frequent success and even landed a standing hammer fist, a strike that fellow SBG stablemate Aisling Daly has used in the past.
Perhaps the biggest buzzes coming from the night of fights, however, was that of Kyoji Horiguchi who bested Ali Bagautinov and Kevin Lee’s massive potential as Lee finished the impressive Magomed Mustafaev in Belfast. Not one to sit back and let his impressive technical submission do the talking, Lee took to the mic and put the whole lightweight division on blast with a special mention of audience member Conor McGregor to get some headlines. Horiguchi took the opposite approach though as he extended his winning streak to three on his quest to return to challenge Demetrious Johnson by landing some big strikes when Bagautinov would burst forward in a bid to increase the impact of his punches.
All in all, Saturday night held a lot of fun for the combat enthusiast and that’s all without mentioning Bellator’s brilliant main event and the technical bout between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Next up is a fight card from ‘down under’ as Robert Whittaker takes on Derek Brunson in a middleweight bout that’s bound to create fireworks so check back here in a weeks time but make sure to keep up with the latest MMA news, right here on MMALatestNews.com
Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes
Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.
Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).
In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.
Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”
In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.
This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video
Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.
The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.
Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)
Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.
RN: 265 lb.
MM: 255 lb.
Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.
PF: 155 lb.
DC: 154 lb.
Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.
HH: 126.25 lb*
AJ: 125 lb.
Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.
LM: 203.75 lb.
VN: 205 lb.
Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.
TW: 145 lb.
JS: 142.25 lb.
Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)
Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
RS: 155.5 lb.
RL: 156 lb.
Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout.
MK: 135.75 lb.
GT: 135 lb.
Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.
RC: 145 lb.
TE: 146 lb.
Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.
JT: 205.5 lb.
WH: 203 lb.
Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.
MS: 156 lb.
DH: 155.25 lb.
Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.
PN: 163.5 lb.
KX 164.5 lb.
Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
TH: 154 lb.
PC: 155.5 lb.
*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.
UFC 221 Rockhold vs. Romero Live Results
UFC 221 marks the first event hosted by the promotion in Western Australia. UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia at the Perth Arena. The co-main event features Australian star, Mark Hunt against Curtis Blaydes. In the main event, Luke Rockhold looks to earn the Middleweight interim title when he takes on Yoel Romero. Romero is not eligible to earn the interim Middleweight title due to the fact that the Cuban missed weight. Yoel Romero replaced the original headliner of the card, Robert Whittaker. Whittaker, current Middleweight champion, withdrew from the event due to a serious case of mistreated staph infection.
FIGHT NIGHT BONUSES:
Fight of the night: Li Jianliang vs. Jake Matthews
Performance of the night: Jussier Formiga, Israel Adesanya
MAIN CARD – PPV – 10PM/7PM ETPT
- Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (13-3) – Catchweight (187.7) bout
- Result: Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold via KO (punch) 1:48 round 3
- Mark Hunt (13-11, 1 NC) vs. Curtis Blaydes (8-1, 1 NC) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
- Tai Tuivasa (8-0) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker via TKO (punches and elbows) 2:18 round 1
- Jake Matthews (12-3) vs. Li Jianliang (14-4) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jake Matthews def. Li Jianliang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
- Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs Saparbek Safarov (8-1) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (kimura) 3:54 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- Damien Brown (17-11) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown via split decision (29-28, 29-28 Kim, 29-28 Brown)
- Rob Wilkinson (11-1) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (punches) 3:37 round 2
- Jeremy Kennedy (11-0) vs Alexander Volkovski (16-1) – Featherweight bout
- Result: Alexander Volkovski def. Jeremy Kennedy via TKO (punches) 4:57 round 2
- Jussier Formiga (20-5) vs Ben Nguyen (17-6) – Flyweight bout
- Result: Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen via technical submission (RNC) 1:43 round 3
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 6:30PM/3:30PM ETPT
- Ross Pearson (21-12, 1 NC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (19-8-2) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Teruto Ishihara (10-4) vs. José Alberto Quiñónez (7-2) – Bantamweight bout
- Result: José Alberto Quiñónez def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Luke Jumeau (12-4) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27)
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