The Saturday Aftermath


In an unusual turn of events, it was a relatively quiet few days of fights with much of the weekend’s main news happening outside of the Cage. UFC took the Octagon back to Japan while Bellator had a low quality card headlined by a fun welterweight bout on Friday after the sport was, again, shown in a wholly negative light – but we’ll get to that.

Better Bellator

That welterweight bout in Bellator was of course Doug Marshall vs. Melvin Manhoef which saw Manhoef sleep his opponent with a right hand in the first (see video below) after an exciting back and forth battle. It might not have been the most meaningful fight in the world but it was the type of matchmaking which can be extremely beneficial to Bellator.

It may not have the talent or stars on or near the same level as the UFC but what Bellator does have is quite a number of interesting fighters out of the Marshall and Manhoef mold who can bring intrigue to the audience without their fights being of huge importance. One of those is definitely Paul Daley. The Brit is maybe the most exciting fighter outside of the UFC and is about to restart his time with the promotion after giving up on getting re-signed by the UFC. Although he probably won’t be in the title picture for a while, Daley is must see TV and will draw a large section of the hardcore audience who are down on Bellator back in. Another example is light heavyweight Liam McGeary who won with an inverted triangle last week and gives some much needed youth and excitement to an old 205 division which looks perfectly set up for him to knock off some of the veterans on his way to stardom. When you talk about excitement and stardom, though, you also can’t look past another Englishman in Michael Venom Page who has the potential to set the MMA world alight with his outlandish Hollywood-style kickboxing. MVP is early in career but with proper matchmaking he can go all the way. When looking at Bellator it’s very easy to be negative; but with the new regime, headed by Scott Coker, in place and a few must-see fighters on the roster there is definitely room for optimism in the months ahead.

UFC Fun In Japan

The UFC Japan event went just about according to plan as a nice card on paper delivered in practice. Johnny Case was the most impressive member of the prelims as he put his opponent to sleep with a tight guillotine in his UFC debut just before the thoroughly enjoyable fight of the night between Kang and Tanaka displayed some of the most exciting ground work in the UFC this year. Rounding out the prelims was a flimsy display from Alex “Bruce LeeRoy” Caceres who gave up his second loss in a row in a flat display against Masanori Kanehara.

The main card was gripping throughout with Kyoji Horuguchi’s demolition of Jon Reyes a highlight. The sole female fight of the night was a drab, lifeless decision win for Miesha Tate over Rin Nakai in a bout best forgotten. The top three delivered in spectacular fashion though as Sexyama put on a career best performance after two years out to win a unanimous decision over Amir Sadollah just before Myles Jury knocked out Takenori Gomi with a thunderous right hand.

Speaking of thunderous right hands, the main event between heavyweight powerhouses Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson had many of them. It was clear from the beginning that this one wouldn’t go the five rounds. Nelson had some success with his rapid right hand early but the superior technique of Hunt had him test the jaw of Nelson increasingly as the round progressed. In the second Hunt was more relaxed after a year out of the cage and was landing combinations at will. Roy Nelson has a titanium chin but even that can only absorb so man blows from a wrecking ball like Hunt. The Super Samoan had success with the left hand/right uppercut combination all night and finished Nelson with the latter midway through the second. The American laid flat in the ground as Hunt celebrated yet another one-punch walk-away knockout. With Stipe Miocic recently booked against Junior Dos Santos and basically everyone else in the heavyweight division coming off of a loss, Hunt has put himself in poll position for a shot at the winner of Velasquez/Werdum. If he doesn’t get that shot, he is surely no more than one win away.

The Dark Side Of Life

The biggest story of this weekend was undoubtedly the light heavyweight trio who exited the UFC, for one reason or another. Thiago Silva was the first to go after videos were released of him with his wife who he allegedly assaulted. Initially, the UFC fired Silva when news first broke in the summer but when charges were dropped earlier this month by his wife the UFC reinstated him before again brandishing the P45 on Friday. It was all just one big mess from start to finish. What the UFC should have done is suspend Silva pending a trial or an independent investigation carried out by the UFC themselves and, based on that evidence, decide whether or not he is worthy of a spot on the roster. They seem to have learned their less though. Another member of the Blackzilians, Anthony Johnson, has also had allegations of domestic abuse put against him. Intelligently, the UFC immediately suspended Johnson indefinitely pending legal proceedings with details of the allegations still emerging. In a dark time for sport in general, MMA is no exception from having to deal with with these ghastly issues.

A Legend Retires

The third man to leave the 205 lbs ranks was PRIDE legend Wanderlei Silva who released a video announcing his retirement in a scathing attack on the UFC via YouTube (See video below) on Friday. In recent times “The Axe Murderer” has been shrouded in controversy following a refusal to take a random drug test. Silva initially ran out on the tester trying to get his sample before going in front of the commission and admitting he had banned substances in his body after treatment to a wrist injury. Silva is still to face the Nevada state athletic commission but any ban would be irrelevant now that he is retired, although a monetary punishment is also a possibility.

Silva, in the long run, will be remembered mostly for his amazing career inside the Cage/Ring. The Brazilian beat names like Sakuraba, Rampage Jackson and Dan Henderson during a glittering career in Japan before transitioning to the UFC. With allegations of steroid abuse in PRIDE, Silva looked a different fighter in America but never lost his insane toughness and ability to put on an exciting fight. His last outing, a win against Brian Stann, may have been the best fight of Wanderlei’s career – a fitting way for one of the men who helped build the sport to go out.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

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