The UFC and Bellator were both back this past weekend putting on shows that “on paper” were set to be highlighted by heavyweight contests. This didn’t end up being the case for Bellator as they lost their headline fight of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione had to be scrapped just hours before the event was set to start. This moved the co-headliner of Josh Thomas vs. Patricky Freire in the light weight division up to the headliner. Over with the UFC, Derrick Lewis took on Travis Browne with Johny Hendricks vs. Hector Lombard as the co-headliner. 11 fights in total so lets get into it.
Josh Koscheck (17-10) vs. Mauricio Alonso (12-7)
Koscheck is a UFC veteran and was making his Bellator debut, but hadn’t won a fight in 5 years and hadn’t had a fight in 2 years. I’m not going to say that had a serious impact on this fight, because who knows, but Alonso used his reach advantage well and tagged Koscheck with a nice overhand right that sent him back then caught him with a left uppercut against the cage that dropped him. Big John had little choice but to step in when he did and this one didn’t make it out of the first round. I don’t know what kind of a deal Koscheck signed with Bellator, but at 39 years-old and going down in the first round like this it might be time to hang up the gloves. Alonso looked impressive, but Koscheck didn’t really look like tough competition.
Brooke Mayo (0-0) vs. Veta Arteaga (2-1)
Lots of drama in this fight. Mayo making her debut looked good through two and a half rounds, but then she got caught with a shot while she was on the ground and the swelling over her left eye came on quick. This was enough for Big John to step in and call for the doctors with less than a minute to go in the third round. I don’t know that Mayo would have won the fight if it had gone to the judge’s scorecards as she was taking a lot of shots in the 3rd round, but she certainly wanted to finish the fight pleading with the doctors to let her continue. Tough break for a fighter trying to establish themselves in a division that Bellator seems to be promoting heavily.
Francisco France (13-4) vs. Anatoly Tokov (24-3)
Here’s what I can say about this fight. France looked very good in the opening round and Tokov didn’t look great when he got taken down. He did eventually get out of the various submission attempts, but he was on the ground for a long time and it likely cost him the round on every judge’s score card. If France would have stuck to his strategy, he could have possibly won this fight, but he decided to try and trade punches for some reason and he got caught with one that knocked him down and Tokov didn’t give him time to recover. Tokov had some nice ground and pound and landed about 3-4 big unanswered shots and the referee had no choice but to step in and call this one at 2:24 of the second round.
Cheick Kongo (25-10-2) vs. Oli Thompson (17-9)
These two guys were former training partners and friends, which was kind of the big/only story coming into this heavyweight fight and due to the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione fight getting scrapped this was moved up to the co-headliner. Here’s what you can say about heavyweight fights that go to the judge’s scorecards, they’re most likely boring. This was no exception. The first round started off good for both fighters with a nice exchange, but this one just went off the rails for Thompson in the last two rounds. Kongo was able to keep him on the ground and pretty much just land shots at will. He never really attempted any serious submission holds, but his size advantage made it nearly impossible for Thompson to get back to his feet. This has been the “bad wrap” on Kongo, that his fights aren’t “pretty” or “entertaining” and after watching this fight I can see that. His style isn’t flashy and this fight was certainly not “entertaining” to watch.
Josh Thomson (22-8) vs. Patricky Pitbull (16-8)
Hard to believe that Bellator could have asked for anything more than what they got out of these two fighters for their headline fight. It was pretty even through the first round with Pitbull landing one big shot that knocked Thomson down but wasn’t able to finish him. That finish came in the second round, maybe you could call it controversial, as an inadvertent headbutt from Pitbull rocked Thomson and sent him to the mat. When he regained his feet, but was clearly still on rubber legs, Pitbull hit him with a beautiful uppercut that left him sprawled out on the mat. Two quick shots later and it was all over.
Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand about Bellator. They’re inconsistent. I don’t mean the fighting. The fighting is more or less always the same. When I watch a Bellator event I’m fairly certain that I’m going to see quite a few knock outs, I might see a submission and I’ll probably see one to two fights go to the judge’s scorecards. What I mean with inconsistent is the production value and things of that nature. For example, why aren’t they interviewing every winner after the fight? Why are they picking and choosing people? I would have liked to have heard Patricky Pitbull call someone out, or Cheick Kongo demand a title shot. But no, I got Veta Arteaga and Anatoly Tokov, who had to talk through an interpreter. Also I understand that they haven’t been around for a really long time, but they need to stop with the UFC references. Lets face it, if you’re fighting in Bellator, there is a very good chance that you are just getting started in pro MMA or you’ve had a run in the UFC and are either past your prime or couldn’t hang with elite fighters. That’s not to say that this is true for all fighters in Bellator, but it sure is for a lot of them. Talk about the fighters past sure, hype who they’ve beat, but stop name dropping the UFC, they damn sure aren’t doing it for you.
That’s it, all and all I thought the card was pretty good. What did you guys think? Let us know in the comments.
Image from www.bellator.spike.com