This Week in MMA #36: Best Clips from Bellator NYC, UFC OKC, and World MMA!
This Week in MMA #36 – highlights and news from the 18 best MMA shows worldwide. Bellator had the strongest offering of the week for a change with their nostaliga filled PPV from Madison Square Garden, and we enjoyed solid shows from UFC OKC and LFA 14. Plus plenty of news and videos on North American MMA and notes from the best global action of the week. Clips thanks to Twitter greats @Jolassanda, @Grabaka_Hitman, @ZPGifs, and more!
Bellator 180/NYC (New York)
Bellator’s first PPV of 2017, and first New York City show ever, certainly delivered in terms of pure nostalgia but – in TWIM’s humble opinion – didn’t deliver a PPV-worthy main card action wise. If you’re a Chael Sonnen (29-15) fan then you got exactly what you were hoping for in the main event, three rounds of Uncle Chael pinning down and smacking an unbelievably stiff -looking Wanderlei Silva (35-13) en route to a unanimous decision win. On the other hand if you were buying a PPV with these two as headliners, and weren’t happy with what you got, it’s a good time to remind yourself that it’s not nearly as fun as it sounds to watch faded old names compete. The co-main event reinforced that notion as onetime unanimous heavyweight GOAT Fedor Emelianenko (36-5) proved well past his expiration date in his KO loss to second-tier world class pro Matt Mitrione (12-5). While it’s not the same as beating Emelianenko in 2011, adding Fedor’s name to his resume is still a serious accomplishment for the former UFC heavyweight who is now 3-0 in Bellator after going 9-5 inside the Octagon.
— AcidHaze (@AcidHaze) June 25, 2017
The trio of Bellator title fights largely disappointed the fans in attendance in Madison Square Garden. First, Ryan Bader (23-5) showed off great head movement, footwork, tactical striking, and just enough of an edge in the takedown game in a largely uneventful but technically solid unanimous decision victory over defending 205 pound champ Phil Davis (17-4). Then, welterweight champ Douglas Lima (29-6) and free agent challenger Lorenz Larkin (18-6) engaged in another 25 minute striking match that saw Lima score the decision win. And the third title fight between defending lightweight champ Michael Chandler (16-4) and relatively unknown Brent Primus (8-0) also fizzled out as Primus caused serious damage to Chandler’s lead leg very early in the fight and ended up winning the Bellator title via injury TKO;
The kicks did way more damage than I thought on first watch. That first low kick was nearly perfect. pic.twitter.com/N58f3aXYvD
— Bestrafer7 (@Bestrafer7) June 28, 2017
Meanwhile Bellator 180’s mixed bag of prospect matchups produced equally mixed results in the Big Apple. Decorated wrestler Aaron Pico (0-1) entered his lightweight clash with recent RFA title challenger Zach Freeman (9-2) with a silly amount of hype for a guy with zero ammy or pro fights on his record. Unfortunately Pico looked like a deer in the headlights as the experienced pro tagged him early and choked him out in seconds:
On the plus side another debuting fighter with some hype, decorated boxer Heather Hardy (1-0), got off to a better start inside the Bellator cage with a first round TKO over Alice Yauger (4-6). Welterweight prospect Neiman Gracie (6-0) had a bit of trouble taking down Dave Marfone (5-3) but once he wore his man down in the second the RNC finish was academic. And SBG Ireland standout James Gallagher (7-0) had no trouble taking down Lyoto’s brother Chinzo Machida (5-3), working to the back, and picking up the most notable win of his young pro career via first round RNC:
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) June 25, 2017
UFC Fight Night OKC (Oklahoma)
As Ref Big John McCarthy pointed out on Twitter, it’s unfortunate that a solid first round performance from Kevin Lee (16-2) in the main event of UFC OKC was overshadowed by a serious case of Yamasuckage. Lee had fellow lightweight contender Michael Chiesa (13-3) trapped in a solid-looking rear naked choke effort late in round one that looked likely to finish when referee Mario Yamasaki decided to panic and arbitrarily jump in while Lee was still alert and yet to tap. Argue all you want about whether Chiesa was going to go out in the next couple of seconds, but this stoppage was flat-out early. Post-fight UFC czar Dana White was extremely critical of Yamasaki, so perhaps if we’re lucky MMA fans will see the consistently poor veteran ref – who has never improved his shaky refereeing skills one whit over his lengthy career – added to the Mazzagatti list and exiled from ruining fights inside the Octagon in the future.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 26, 2017
On the plus side there were a couple of nice bouts in the other featured attractions. Strawweight Felice Herrig (13-5) continued to show off her improved strength, conditioning, and grappling skills in a very difficult and hard-fought win over the stronger and larger Justine Kish (6-1). Veteran middleweight Tim Boetsch (21-11) also got into the act as he showed perpetually overweight Johny Hendricks (18-7) where his ceiling’s at in the 185 pound division via nasty second round TKO:
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 26, 2017
Notable decision winners included Tim Means (27-8) who picked at dangerous but low-gas Dominican welterweight Alex Garcia (14-4) over three rounds; eternal belcher Clay Guida (33-17) who snapped a recent losing skid by totally overwhelming busted would-be contender Erik Koch (15-5); and Dennis Siver (23-11) who outlasted a ragged BJ Penn (16-12-2) en route to a lopsided decision nod. Meanwhile lightweight Tony Martin (12-3) skipped his usual wrestling assault and showed off a strong striking game to handily defeat Twitter rival Johnny Case (22-6), and top 10 strawweight Carla Esparza (12-4) used her grappling skills to fend off young Ukrainian contender Maryna Moroz (8-2).
But we’re all about the finishes here at TWIM. And that’s exactly what LFA viral sensation Dominick Reyes (7-0) produced in his short notice big show bout against Denmark’s Joachim Christensen (14-6). Look out world, we just may have a serious light heavyweight talent on our hands in the super-athletic 6’4” KO artist:
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 26, 2017
Meanwhile husky light heavyweight Jeremy Kimball (15-6) may not have quite the ceiling (or frame) that Reyes has, but he evened his UFC record at 1-1 and produced a highlight to remember when he took out Josh Stansbury (8-4) with a nice first-round anchor punch:
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) June 25, 2017
LFA 14 (Houston, Texas)
In their 14th edition of 2017, Legacy Fighting Alliance crowned a pair of new champions. The main event was a close five round battle between Brendan Allen (7-2) and Eryk Anders (8-0) that was far from conclusive. Nonetheless, former college football star Anders was awarded the unanimous decision and the Legacy 185 pound belt. The co-main event reached a far more decisive climax as Roberto Sanchez (7-0) secured the inaugural Legacy 125 pound belt with a third round armbar finish of Jerome Rivera (7-1):
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 24, 2017
Meanwhile on the LFA 14, we received yet another high-profile reminder that it doesn’t matter how great an 0-0 fighter looks in the gym when they haven’t yet proved a thing inside the cage. Exhibit C: Colbey Northcutt (0-1), who showed off Sage-like ground skills in her second round ground-and-pound TKO loss to fellow debutante Courtney King (1-0):
Courtney King def. Colbey Northcutt by 2R TKO HL (LFA) pic.twitter.com/8U1OzBAB0P
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 24, 2017
Global MMA Report: West to East!
Cage Warriors 85 (Bournemouth, England)
When 27 year old Polish middleweight Oskar Piechota (9-0) stepped in on late notice to fight British slugger Jason Radcliffe (11-3) in the main event of Cage Warriors 85 on UFC Fight Pass, fight fans were tempted with the prospect of a serious brawl between two proven finishers. Instead the multi-faceted Piechota simply blasted through Radcliffe with strikes in just 32 seconds and claimed the Cage Warriors middleweight title for his efforts. Is it too late to get the Piranha Grappling Team star on the upcoming UFC Gdansk card?
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) June 24, 2017
This wasn’t a strong Cage Warriors card by any means, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few highlights. Bellator vet Martin Stapleton (19-5) got back in the win column and picked up his sixth victory in seven outings with a unanimous decision nod over Germany’s Donovan Desmae (9-4). And swole veteran Lee Chadwick (23-13) entertained the Bournemouth crowd with a first round heel hook of Estonian middleweight Andrei Manzolo (15-6):
From one heel hook to another….
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) June 24, 2017
Tanko FC 5 (Leeds, England)
Tanko FC’s fifth event was supposed to feature a main event between Cage Warriors lightweight vet Tim Wilde (10-3) and onetime ACB starter Lewis Monarch (7-2). Instead, the cage fell apart after the second amateur fight of the evening. Oops!
XFN 3 (Prague, Czech Republic)
The last time we saw five-fight UFC bet Viktor Pesta (11-4) inside the cage at UFC Phoenix, he was on top of top-15 heavyweight Alexey Olynyk in mount yet somehow managed to succumb to an Ezekiel choke from the bottom. The 26 year old Pesta took the first step toward a world-stage return this past weekend in his native Prague when he took out solid KSW vet Michal Kita (17-9) via second round ground and pound. Pesta did some nice work from the crucifix position before finishing things from mount. Despite the embarrassing submission loss in his last Octagon outing, don’t count Pesta out just yet as his four losses have come to top-level talents Olynyk, Marcin Tybura, Derrick Lewis, and Ruslan Magomedov.
Warriors of Life Championship (Wisniowa Gora, Poland)
Fun name for this odd minor league show from Poland. I’m pretty sure that heavyweight Wojciech Bulinski (11-2) could have used a better opponent than poor John Green (0-2) of Haiti, who tapped to strikes just 34 seconds into their contest. The 33 year old Pole is on a nice-looking seven fight win streak but seems happy to spend most of his time beating up on relatively hapless opposition. Meanwhile welterweight prospect Marcin Pawlowski (4-1) faced a slightly more legit foe in Grzegorz Bialas (8-12) and came away with an RNC just 97 seconds in.
Shooto in Osaka (Osaka, Japan)
This event featured a few top Japanese flyweight contenders trying to impress the Shooto brass and earn a title shot against reigning champ and TUF 24 finalist Hiromasa Ogikubo – learn all about the Shooto promotion and the runup to this event thanks to MMA Today JMMA expert Based Dongeezus. Yoshiro Maeda (35-16-5) certainly did his best to impress in his 54 second TKO win, but it came against unqualified last second opponent Yong Hwan Kim (0-2) of South Korea after both Takumi Tamaru and Go Minamide dropped out of the bout. Tadaaki Yamamoto (15-8) may have sealed the flyweight title shot for himself with an upset in the main event, a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated Hayato Ishii (9-1). Meanwhile Jin Aoi (6-0) kept his own undefeated roll going with a flying knee-induced KO of featherweight journeyman Takumi Nakayama (19-17).
Hex Fight Series 9 (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
The highlight attraction of Hex 9 was light heavyweight talent Jim Crute (5-0), who shows smooth movement and plus athleticism for a big man and continues to add striking skills to his solid ground game. Crute needed only 83 seconds to dispose of late notice replacement Ben Kelleher (12-11) via arm triangle and keep his perfect finishing record intact:
The Brute Jimmy Crute remains undefeated and has stormed his way to the top of the Light-heavyweight division. Now with the most prestigious Light Heavyweight belt around his waist, he has earned Tapology.com's #1 ranking within Australasia.Tickets to Hex Fight Series 10 (Perth) are now on sale from www.hexfightseries.com
Posted by Hex Fight Series on Monday, June 26, 2017
Other notable winners on this pretty decent card included undefeated bantamweight Trent Girdham (6-0) who took out BRACE tourney seminfinalist Luke Catubig (8-7), Strikeforce vet JJ Ambrose (29-7) who scored a three round unanimous decision over underwhelming former UFC lightweight Ben Wall (8-7), and James McGlashan (6-4) who shut down the prospect hype behind lightweight Aidan Aguilera (4-1). Plus there was a truly exotic submission in the show’s opening bout, as featherweight Suman Mokhtarian (6-0) put away Rodian Menchavez (4-2) with something called a tepee hold:
— Barrele la pierna (@Barrelelapierna) June 26, 2017
US/Canada/South America Regional Rundown (East to West!)
Conflict MMA 43 (Columbia, South Carolina)
In the main event of this pretty solid FloCombat card, onetime 300+ pound superheavyweight Brandon Sayles (5-1) showed off a new sub-265 pound physique and plenty of athletic skills to boot as he scored a second round KO over Conflict MMA regular Adrian Henderson (8-3). Just check out the height on that flying knee below! Other notable winners on this card included featherweight Da’Mon Blackshear (4-0) who snagged the Conflict 145 pound title with a fourth round RNC of Aalon Cruz (4-2), and featherweight Varon Webb (9-3) who took a unanimous decision from Edward Massey (4-1).
AMMO FL 2 (West Springfield, Massachusetts)
CES and WSOF welterweight vet Leon Davis (10-3) picked up two solid wins on AXS TV in 2016, but so far in 2017 he’s only faced seriously outmatched competition. This time out Davis picked up that easy money with an academic first round RNC of the very busy, but rarely successful, Jay Ellis (13-68).
MaxxFC 32 (Aguada, Puerto Rico)
A few local talents earned wins on this card against very level opponents including middleweight Jason Ramos (8-1), flyweight Christian Rodriguez (11-2), and lightweight Michael Irizarry Ortiz (7-2). But it’s pretty tough to tell if there’s any legit talent afoot when the promotion only books squash matches.
Action Fight 5 (Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil)
Very slow week in Brazilian MMA, but FNG vet and top Brazilian women’s bantamweight Rosy Duarte (10-4-1) was in action at this regional show. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite to plan for Duarte, as she had to settle for a draw against upstart Sidy Rocha (3-3-1).
Warrior FC: Middlesboro Mayhem (Middlesboro, Kentucky)
There was just one pro fight on this southern regional show, but somehow it’s the only FloCombat bout whose main event got the video package treatment this weekend. That featherweight contest saw Tenessee’s Nick Baker (4-1) use strong ground-and-pound in the third round to escape with a split decision nod over Virginian Chachi Tabor (1-3):
Posted by Warrior MMA on Sunday, June 25, 2017
Pure FC 7 (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Pure FC 7’s all-Wisconsin main event saw undefeated 24 year old welterweight Mark Lemminger (6-0) keep his perfect finishing streak intact against KOTC and Legacy vet Frank Schuman (7-4). Schuman is known for his all-out early fight assault, but Lemminger managed to weather the storm and finish off his man with strikes in round two. The co-main saw Milwaukee native Tim Hiley (4-0) thrill his hometown crowd with a second round RNC of journeyman Eddie Larrea (22-40).
Conquer FC 4 (Richmond, California)
California’s Conquer FC broadcast their latest show on FloCombat, though the streaming provider was too engrossed with covering the Bellator PPV to produce much coverage (or any highlight videos) of the event. In the first of two featured contests, onetime can’t-miss Bellator wrestling prospect (sound familiar?) Shawn Bunch (7-3) scored a five round decision over fellow Bellator alum Rodrigo Lima (12-4) for the Conquer bantamweight belt. And the main event 145 pound title fight also went 25 minutes as three-bout Bellator veteran Jeremiah Labiano (11-5) knocked off 22 year old Jackson-Wink prospect Stephen Cervantes (7-3) by unanimous decision.
— Slim (@FiLthyJeRmz) June 25, 2017
BFL 49 (Coquitlam, British Columbia)
Not much eye-catching on paper about this Battlefield Fight League offering, which exists behind a substantial paywall – though the Canadian promotion bizarrely posted walkout videos for all of the fights onto their Facebook page. Note to regional promoters: you’re doing your fighters and yourself a disservice if you don’t release media clips highlighting what goes on at your show, and I’m not talking about the walkouts. The most notable fight on the card saw 6’3” BFL welterweight champ Chris Anderson (6-0) add the promotion’s middleweight title to his collection with a round one injury TKO win over Jared Revel (5-2). After the bout BFL posted on social media about how Anderson should be signed to the UFC. Novel idea: Perhaps big shows would be more interested in your fighters if their home promotion actually produced some fight clips to promote them!
King of the Cage: Flashback (Oroville, California)
King of the Cage kept up their furious pace with a California event that saw Team Alpha Male bantamweight Benito Lopez (7-0) stay perfect with a first round TKO over journeyman Musa Toliver (10-12-1). Plus a new KOTC strawweight titlist was crowned in the co-main when Stephanie Frausto (6-6) defeated Germany’s Angela Danzig (2-3).
X-1 47 (Honolulu, Hawaii)
The latest edition of Hawaii’s longest-running promotion saw former Strikeforce heavyweight Lolohea Mahe (10-4-1) earn a decision win over 25 year old fellow Hawaiian Ray Lopez (4-2). Only the third round is available on the X-1 Facebook page, and it looks like Mahe may have used ground-and-pound as the impetus for scoring his third straight victory.
Posted by X-1 World Events Mixed Martial Arts on Sunday, June 25, 2017