Fight Notes: Bellator 214
Bellator's first show of 2019 started off with an action-packed undercard while the main also delivered brutal finishes and highlights of its own. The main card featured a single fight going to decision, while the other 4 bouts combined for just over 5 minutes of in-cage time — no one was under the impression they were being paid by the hour tonight. The only real downside to all the quick finishes was the fact that we got to see a lot of commercials, but otherwie Bellator 214 was a fun, enjoyable show. Bellator crowned their first dual champion, and saw one of their most highly touted prospects get derailed — and put to sleep — again. Here's my rundown of the whole show:
Heavyweight Grand Prix Final
Ryan Bader def. Fedor Emelianenko by KO (punches) @ 0:34 of Round 1
As a long-time MMA fan, this was just depressing; Bader clipped Fedor with a left-hook that dropped him in the opening seconds of the fight. A few follow-up punches were all that was needed to get the fight waved off in just over half-a-minute. While I didn't doubt Bader's ability to end the fight quickly, I didn't want to see it end like this — with a legend of the sport getting blasted to sleep without providing a shred of offence. Not that this is any sort of new revelation, but Fedor's sell-by dated was passed years ago. Given the lack of depth in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, it is quite conceivable that Ryan Bader is able to defend both of his belts over the next year. Fedor needs to seriously consider hanging up the gloves at this point; I know there was talk of Fedor being ill prior to the fight but I don't think that had much bearing on the outcome.
Henry Corrales def. Aaron Pico by KO (punches) @ 1:07 of Round 1
Well... This could not have gone worse for Bellator, who have been pushing Pico incredibly hard since his pro debut — which he also lost by KO. Pico staggered Corrales early with a good punch, but then decided to brawl with his opponent and paid dearly for it. Corrales took a bunch of shots but kept his wits about him, eventually landing a counter-right that shut Pico's lights out, and followed-up with another pair of shots before his opponent fell to the canvas, completely limp. Corrales just upset Bellator's chosen one, snatching a win in a supposed title eliminator; the Bellator push is just utterly cursed at this point. Pico is still a solid talent, but Bellator has booked him against opponents with combined records of 73-29, so going 4-2 isn't the worst — it's actually quite impressive. Still, Pico needs to stop thinking he's strictly a striker and / or learn some stand-up defence.
Jake Hager def. JW Kiser by Submission (arm triangle choke) @ 2:09 of Round 1
Not much to see here; Hager did what we all expected, clinched up right away, and quickly took Kiser to the mat. From the ground, Hager took his time, first attempting a kimura before securing an arm triangle which he managed to complete despite being right next to the cage. It's hard to say what this means for Hager's future, but he did exactly what he needed to do in his debut MMA fight. Hager took one shot and controlled the rest of the fight, we'll see how he does against better competition but he's didn't look terribly out of place in this fight. Heavyweight is a garbage fire of a division, so the fact Hager looked somewhat competent means he could go pretty far.
Juan Archuleta def. Ricky Bandejas by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
The first round saw Archuleta shooting, unsuccessfully, for a lot of takedowns. Bandejas was able to stuff all of his opponent's shots and spent most of the round circling away from him and throwing a minimal number of strikes. A decent opening round, but I gave it to Archuleta. In the second, Archuleta was shooting for fewer takedowns — and was just as unable to comoplete one — while Bandejas kept him backed against the cage, throwing single shots. I had it tied going into the third; Archuleta was still shooting for takedowns, but Bandejas' takedown defence was impressive. Archuleta kept up the pressure, while Bandejas continued to throw insufficient volume of strikes. I gave Archuleta the third and the fight.
Adel Altamimi def. Brandon McMahan by Submission (armbar) @ 1:16 of Round 1
This was a really quick fight. The end game when McMahan seemed to look for a double-leg, but Altamimi went for a guillotine. They clinched a bit, then Altamimi transitioned to a kimura, which got McMahan down to the mat, and then switched to an armbar to force a tap just over a minute into the first round. Hard to glean much from that fight, but Adel Altamimi's grappling looks sharp. The downside of such a quick finish was the main card had to churn out 15 minutes of filler, mostly in the form of commercials.
These are abreviated notes due to the lack of name value and brevity of the majority of the fights during the Bellator Human Sacrifice Hour.
- Thor Skancke put Jesse Merritt to sleep with a beautiful north-south choke at 4:26 of round 1.
- Jesse Roberts took a grindy split-decision win over touted grappler AJ Agazarm.
- Weber Almeida TKO'ed Odan Chinchilla at 3:04 of round 1 with a punch, head-kick, punch combo. Solid win.
- Art Rivas scored a TKO over Sean Johnson, in a sloppy-fun heavyweight bout at 4:30 of round 1.
- Jay Jay Wilson gave us another quick one, tapping Tyler Beneke with a rear-naked choke at 1:31 of round 1.
- Ryan Lilley notched a highlight reel headkick KO over James Barnes at 1:03 of round 1.
- Craig Plaskett took a unanimous decision (30-27x) over Ian Butler in a bit of a plodding grinder.
- Demond Torres strangled Steve Ramirez in the final minute of round 1, with an arm triangle.
The undercard was briskly paced; at one point, there was a ~5 minute span where we got a KO and submission. There were 2 other undercard fights that I assume were run as postliminary bouts, which I did not see. I will never understand the practice of postlims...
Published: January 27th, 2019.