This Week in MMA (4/10-4/17): Glover Teixeira Stops Rashad Evans, Patricky Pitbull Tops Kevin Souza, Rafael dos Anjos’s Next Title Fight Announced
This week in MMA featured some interesting and exciting developments, along with a number of awesome contests at Bellator 152 and UFC on Fox 19, and especially with the relatively lacking past few weeks considered, there really was a lot to appreciate.
Let’s take a look at what this week brought MMA fans!
Glover Teixeira Stops Rashad Evans, Namajunas Tops Torres at UFC on Fox 19
As a whole, UFC on Fox 19 wasn’t bad, especially considering the last-minute removal of Tony Ferguson due to injury, and Machida-Henderson 2 and Dober-Makhachev as a result of Machida and Makhachev’s failed drug tests (on a related note, Hendo has been re-booked against Hector Lombard at UFC 199).
In the main event of the evening, the heavy-handed Glover Teixeira did what he does best, striking hard and early on the chin of Evans, and ultimately winning via first-round KO. This is only the second time that Evans has been finished in his career and the first time that he’s been finished in round one.
It was an awesome win for Teixeira, and a match between him and Anthony Johnson, as many are clamoring for, makes a lot of sense. While Evans still has a number of available options and fights, he should take some time off and see what makes the most financial sense, at this point in his career. Perhaps when Machida returns from his presumably lax suspension, Evans could rematch him.
In the co-main event of the evening, TUF veterans Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas battled across three rounds. Although the fight was relatively competitive, it always felt as though Namajunas was just one step ahead, and this point was even more apparent on the scorecards, as “Thug” secured the unanimous nod.
Before that, Khabib Nurmagomedov returned to the Octagon against Darrell Horcher and looked about as good as was expected. Horcher was a very game opponent, and he certainly put up a better fight than many anticipated, but like so many others athletes (including the current champion), he became overwhelmed with the wrestling of the Dagestani, ultimately succumbing to a second-round TKO while trapped on the ground.
It will be interesting to see Horcher compete with a full camp behind him, and for Nurmagomedov, receiving a shot at the belt after a win like this, which although impressive, came against a man making his UFC debut, doesn’t make sense. As Tony Ferguson’s recovery time isn’t expected to be too long, a fight between him and “The Eagle” should be re-booked.
The main card kicked off with an interesting battle between Hacran Dias and Cub Swanson, which saw the elite striking of Swanson ultimately prevail despite a first round that may have gone the way of Dias. Swanson revitalized his career with this much-needed unanimous-decision win.
From the prelims, John Dodson’s successful return to bantamweight, which saw him finish Manny Gamburyan via first-minute TKO, as well as Michael Chiesa’s excellent second-round rear-naked choke of Beneil Dariush, stand out as some of the best wins (although Michael Graves and Santiago Ponzinibbio also claimed victory in impressive fashion).
As was said, this was a solid card and a great precursor to next week’s UFC 197 event.
Bellator 152: Patricky Pitbull Defeats Kevin Souza, Alessio Sakara Thrills Hometown Crowd, Finishes Brian Rogers
Despite the tape delay, the MMA portion of Bellator’s debut in Italy was pretty enjoyable.
In the main event of the evening, Patricky Pitbull defeated the late replacement and UFC vet Kevin Souza by unanimous decision. Despite finding some success in the first round, Souza would ultimately find himself overwhelmed with the technique of Pitbull’s striking and perfectly timed takedowns.
In the co-main event, Alessio Sakara lit a fire underneath the Torino crowd as he defeated Brian Rogers via second-round TKO. The always-powerful Rogers found some success exposing the comparatively weak ground game of Sakara in the first stanza, but as fatigue set in in the second, the elite boxing of the Italian allowed him to find the finish.
As was expected, A.J. McKee and Anastasia Yankova both picked-up dominant first-round wins over outmatched opponents.
Bellator 152 was a reasonable event, but the real treat comes next week at 153, when Benson Henderson battles Andrey Koreshkov for the welterweight strap, and a number of additional outstanding match-ups go down.
Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin to Coach TUF Latin America 3
UFC legends and former champions Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin will coach The Ultimate Fighter Latin America season three. This is an interesting choice for the show, and honestly, one that will probably pay off; both men are interesting individuals and great coaches—watching them adapt to Argentina will be awesome as well.
This move, though, and a number of others have been made to keep TUF interesting, which after so many seasons, is difficult to do. Personally, I thought the TUF Live season was great (albeit difficult to shoot and schedule on the UFC and the network’s end), and a return to this format would be a breath of fresh air for viewers.
UFC Announces Several Awesome Fights
The UFC also announced several intriguing match-ups this week:
Rafael dos Anjos versus Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title on July 7th
This top-notch contest will stream exclusively on Fight Pass, and if you weren’t planning on subscribing to the digital service before, this may change your mind. Both men are elite, both men are exciting, and both are sure to put on an incredible show here.
BJ Penn versus Dennis Siver at UFC 199
It will be interesting to see if all of the work with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn pays off for Penn, but the reality of this fight—and his last several—is that he has nothing left to prove. Especially with a win here, Penn should think about hanging the gloves up for good as he’s more than made his mark in the UFC and the sport of MMA, and at literally no point in his career have financial considerations affected his decision to compete.
Clay Guida versus Brian Ortega at UFC 199
This is a stylistically appealing contest that could propel Ortega’s career with a win and mark the end of Guida’s long UFC run with a loss.
Jessica Andrade vs. Jessica Penne at UFC 199
How Andrade will cut an extra twenty pounds is anybody’s best guess, but this solid strawweight fight is certainly worth watching.
WSOF 31 Gets Three New Fights
WSOF 31, which is scheduled for June 17th, has greatly improved in quality with the addition of three new main-card bouts: Luis Palomino vs. Sheymon Moraes, John Howard vs. Thiago Meller, and Chris Barnett vs. Justin Willis.
These are all solid contests—especially Palomino-Moraes—that shouldn’t be missed.
Ben Askren Glides Past Nikolay Aleksakhin at ONE 40
Finally, former Bellator champion and elite fighter Ben Askren, to the surprise of few, dominated yet another opponent, this time, a young, explosive, and skilled up-and-comer in Nikolay Aleksakhin, at ONE 40.
Although Aleksakhin achieved some minor success on the feet, the high-level wrestling and top game of Askren were simply too much and allowed him to secure a unanimous nod.
The rest of the card was home to solid action, albeit from fighters that the vast majority of North American fans are unfamiliar with.
This week in MMA was one of the best in a while, and next week stands to be even better thanks to Bellator 153 and UFC 197.
Enjoy the fights!