This Week in MMA (4/3-4/10): Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes Announced for UFC 200
This week presented some intriguing MMA contests from the UFC’s debut in Croatia, and a number of exciting match-ups were announced as well. Let’s take a look at the action!
Junior dos Santos Defeats Ben Rothwell, Lewis Stops Gonzaga at UFN 86
All in all, UFC Fight Night 86 was a pretty good card that featured some especially notable contests.
In the main event, former champion Junior dos Santos used his movement, range, and boxing expertise to repeatedly tag Ben Rothwell over the course of twenty-five minutes, ultimately securing a unanimous decision. Rothwell never gave up, and in fact, found some success of his own, but dos Santos simply stuck and moved too well.
In the co-main event of the night, Derrick Lewis stopped Gabriel Gonzaga in the first round with strikes. “Napao” found some success on the ground, but “The Black Beast” was able to return to his feet and show-off his devastating power. Now 1-4 in his last five, Gonzaga may very well be cut following this defeat. If he does stick around, though, it’s important that he finally transition fight camps (however unlikely this is).
Other fights that stand-out from the night are:
- Maryna Moroz vs. Cristina Stanciu, a back-and-forth battle which saw Moroz walk away with the decision.
- Zak Cummings vs. Nicolas Dalby, a generally fun contest that saw the tough-as-nails Dalby leave it all in the cage, despite losing the decision.
- Alejandro Perez vs. Ian Entwistle, which saw Perez finish his opponent with strikes in the first round, and was generally an odd bout.
- Jared Cannonier vs. Cyril Asker, wherein Cannonier recorded a vicious knockout victory by utilizing marvelous technique and timing.
Besides the pacing, UFN 86 was once again good, and certainly a solid way for Croatian fans to enjoy their first live UFC event.
Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes Announced for UFC 200, Many Additional Bouts Revealed
Possibly the most prominent bout announced this week, Tate-Nunes should be a great fight when it goes down at UFC 200. It’s interesting that, as subsequent reports indicated, the UFC didn’t offer Tate or Holm a rematch of their first contest; the promotion must be dead-set upon booking Rousey against Holm next, as the rematch is all but certain to sell well.
Other contests revealed by the UFC this week include:
Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Cezar Ferreira at UFC on Fox 19 on April 16th
Always the company man, Bamgbose has stepped-up on late notice yet again, this time replacing an injured Caio Magalhaes. Given the trouble that “Mutante” has had with heavy-handed strikers in the past, he’ll need to be alert and on top of his game to come out ahead here, even with the late notice considered.
Darrell Horcher vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on Fox 19 on April 16th
Horcher may be talented and have a long and successful UFC career ahead of him—who knows, maybe he’ll even pull-off the upset here, especially with Khabib’s long layoff considered— but regardless, this is a terrible match-up in just about every sense.
John Makdessi vs. Mehdi Baghdad at UFC 199 on June 4th
This should be a fun fight between two athletes who need a win to assure their stay in the UFC.
Cat Zingano vs. Julianna Pena at UFC 200 on July 9th
It will be good to see both Zingano and Pena compete again, as it’s been over one year since the former has set foot inside the Octagon, and at the time of the fight, it will have been about seven months since Pena fought in the UFC. It’s interesting that Pena is jumping directly into the deep end as well.
Ross Pearson vs. James Krause, Scott Askham vs. Anthony Smith, and Jingliang Li vs. Anton Zafir at the TUF 23 Finale on July 8th
Pearson-Krause should be a barnburner as each talented lightweight is known not only for commanding impressive victories but also, throwing caution to the wind in the process.
Smith is on a roll, and after Askham’s impressive triumph over Chris Dempsey, this fight makes a lot of sense.
Li-Zafir should be especially awesome because it provides each talented athlete with a large stage—on US soil, with a number of US fans watching—to show their skills. Especially in Li’s case, although he has been impressive inside the Octagon, he hasn’t really achieved an appropriate amount of notoriety among US fans and more broadly, fans outside of his home country.
Although nothing was announced officially, UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos indicated that a bout between himself and Eddie Alvarez could be on the horizon. This would be a fun fight that would allow the ever-improving and highly underrated Alvarez to, win or lose, prove his abilities to doubting fans.
Also, the UFC announced that TUF 24, the next season of the long-running Ultimate Fighter reality show, will feature flyweights and that the winner will fight champion Demetrious Johnson for the belt.
Frankly, the UFC has nowhere else to turn, and it’s a good problem to have. Assuming that Johnson defeats Henry Cejudo, he will have cleaned out the division and then some; if he’s not willing or ready to jump to bantamweight for a super fight or generally, new contenders have to be found, and this is a surefire way to do so.
Frank Mir Fails Drug Test, Early Results Indicate
Preliminary drug test results conducted by the USADA have found an abnormality in the sample offered by former champion Frank Mir, and he has been suspended, at least for now, until the backup test results have been confirmed.
Mir fell to Mark Hunt via first-round KO at UFN 85, and as he himself said, a positive test and suspension here would mark the end of his career. Wherever things progress, fans have a lot to thank the former champion Mir for, as he has been one of the most prominent fighters in the UFC and the sport of MMA for quite a few years.
Bellator Signs Two New Fighters, Announces Several Solid Fights
Bellator didn’t take the week off by any means but instead used the small available time before their solid Bellator 152 card on April 16th to make some notable announcements.
First, two major signings were announced as James Gallagher and Guilherme Vasconcelos have joined the promotion.
Vasconcelos is a thrilling one-time UFC competitor who was also featured on TUF, and as he has improved and grown tremendously as of late, he is a fantastic addition to Bellator’s middleweight division, which like that of the UFC, will benefit from new talent.
Gallagher is a fantastic addition to the promotion. The undefeated featherweight trains alongside Conor McGregor at SBG Ireland, and after McGregor’s success, the UFC made a big mistake by not pushing Titan, RFA, Legacy, or another regional promotion that they’re connected with to sign him, allow him to rack-up a few more fights, and then springboard this momentum into the UFC.
Moreover, the day after McGregor KO’d Aldo, at the very latest, the UFC should have been making arrangements to sign every fighter at SBG; Gallagher’s success isn’t guaranteed, and he may not seem like an overly big deal now, but this same sort of inaction is what has allowed Bellator to nab so many prospects who later blossom into top-level divisional contenders.
Patricio Freire’s original Bellator 153 opponent, John Teixeira, was injured and subsequently replaced by the always-game Henry Corrales. Corrales is a very bright prospect that is evidently always willing to rise to the occasion, and this fight is frankly just as good as, or better than, the original.
Also announced this week was Douglas Lima versus Chidi Njokuani in the co-main event slot of Bellator 156 on June 17th. This battle between two talented strikers should please fans and impact the divisional landscape in the process.
Bellator Dynamite 2 will be headlined—at least the MMA portion—by Quinton Jackson and Satoshi Ishii on June 24th. This is a pretty solid fight, and for those complaining about Rampage not competing in the UFC, it’s important to remember that his last fight in the Octagon was against Fabio Maldonado; fun fights are the way to go for the longtime veteran, and the UFC brass knew this as well.
This week in MMA delivered some solid fights and developments, but next week stands to be even better, as both the UFC and Bellator have shows scheduled.
Enjoy the fights!