Fight Notes: Bellator 206
Pairing up with streaming upstart DAZN (which is, lamentably, pronounced "Da Zone"), Bellator MMA opted to throw some big names at the inaugural event and I simply had to see how things panned out. The prelims were a little less exciting than the usual Bellator fare, which typically fit the moniker myself and fellow Twitter fans have bestowed upon them: "the human sacrifice hour." The main card was broadcast exclusively on DAZN, which offers a free first month as a trial, so technically it didn't cost anyone anything to watch the event. Here is what I thought of the 6 main card bouts.
Gegard Mousasi def. Rory MacDonald by TKO (punches and elbows) @ 3:23 of Round 2
Current Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald shocked me when he opted to move up to middleweight and face the current title-holder, Gegard Mousasi. While I respect MacDonald's willingness to challenge himself, I thought it was a poor match-up. It turns out my instincts were correct; by the time the first of Mousasi's jabs landed, the fight seemed to be well beyond MacDonald's ability to control it. The entire first round was one-way traffic, as Mousasi pieced the Canadian — who he also significantly outsized — up with precision striking.
The second round saw Rory attempt to turn the fight into a grappling match, but that ended poorly after a sloppy attempt at pulling guard. Mousasi wasted little time advancing from guard and eventually took the mount position and bludgeoned Rory until he tapped to strikes. As much as I credit Rory's courage for taking such a tough fight, in retrospect it was a big mistake; Mousasi looked like a grown man beating a teenager. There is a reason weight classes exist, and lest we not forget that Mousasi is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. Hopefully Rory didn't incur too much damage and will be able to defend his title in the weight class he belongs in — welterweight.
Quinton Jackson def. Wanderlei Silva by TKO (punches) @ 4:32 of Round 2
This fight was.... A thing that happened. A very lamentable, depressing thing I might add. Both fighters looked like pudgy, washed up shells of their former greatness. Jackson looked more like Glazed Hampage than the Rampage of old, and Wanderlei Silva looked like a world-weary beach dad rather than a former terror of the 205 division. Both men moved like they were underwater, and Rampage significantly outsized Wanderlei.
The first round saw some very slow, sloppy exchanges, as both guys went for it and tried to flurry the other. Wanderlei even cracked Rampage with a couple of good shots, but was unable to follow-up on them. After the first round, both seemed winded despite the glacial pace of the fight. In the second frame, Jackson was the 'fresher' fighter, relatively speaking, and was able to continue smothering Wanderlei against the cage and eventually flurried him with punches and earned a TKO, mercifully ending this ghastly spectacle.
Aside from financial problems, I don't know why Wanderlei, in his advanced years, and having been hit by a car last year, would give Quinton Jackson a chance to even up their rivalry at 2-2, but it happened. I sincerely hope Silva retires from fighting, but I doubt that will happen, as I am sure promoters see a bit more name value to be wrung from his tattered remnants. I knew Jackson would win as, despite having not given two shits about fighting in a decade, he hasn't been knocked out in a very long time. Rampage aged better, came to the fight bigger, and notched a very predictable win. Now, let us never speak of this again.
Douglas Lima def. Andrey Koreshkov by Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 3:04 of Round 5
This fight was a gruelling bore to watch until the final round, to be honest. Both fighters were extremely well matched, and Lima had improved his wrestling by leaps and bounds since their last meeting. Koreshkov clearly expected to be able to take Lima down at will, as in their last fight, and had no plan B once it was clear that was not going to happen. This lead to a frustrating amount of clinching against the fence, and very little striking. Then, in the final round, after a striking exchange that saw both take some good shots, Lima sprawled on a takedown attempt from Koreshkov. From there, Lima landed a few hard shots, transitioned to his opponent's back and sunk in a rear-naked choke that put the Russian to sleep!
Aaron Pico def. Leandro Higo by TKO (punches) @ 3:19 of Round 1
The hype Bellator has been laying on Pico is unreal, but so far — after a brief stumble, losing his pro debut — he has delivered the goods, and a bunch of ultra-violent finishes. This fight was no different, as Pico took little time in figuring our Higo's game and then began pressuring him with strikes. Higo's durability is the only reason the fight lasted as long as it did, with Pico just battering him with body and head shots. Higo was pretty much out on his feet, and the ref was a little late stopping what ended up being an utter mismatch. Higo is no slouch, though he is removed from his prime, but Pico made him look like a complete novice in what was supposed to be the phenom wrestler's toughest test to date. Very impressive and exceptionally violent.
Keri Melendez def. Dakota Zimmerman by Split Decision
What looked to be an ostensible jobber match for the wife of Gilbert Melendez turned into more than she bargained for. Zimmerman showed up to fight, and almost armbarred Melendez in the first round. The rest of the fight was fairly evenly matched, but Zimmerman had habit of pulling guard and then not being able to do anything with it. So, even while she was fishing for submissions, Zimmerman looked to be losing the fight and 2 of the 3 judges agreed. Not a great bout for either, but Zimmerman proved that she wasn't a complete push-over and I'd like to see what improvements she can make with proper training camps and more time. Melendez continues to grow, but thus far I'm not overly impressed.
Gaston Bolanos def. Ysidro Gutierrez by TKO (punches) @ 1:37 of Round 2
Bolanos controlled most of the fight, which was a strictly stand-up affair. Gutierrez seemed game, but ended up getting tagged a bunch of times in the second round. The end came when Bolanos landed a left-hand right behind the ear of Gutierrez, which set up the finishing flurry of successive right hands. Another good showing for Bolanos who has shown good hands and a propensity for nasty body kicks.
Published: October 7th, 2018.