Bellator season 9 review: What worked, what didn't and what to do next
It was perhaps the most pivotal and controversial season in Bellator's history. From an ill-fated moved to pay-per-view to a run-in with their former (and now current) champion to record ratings and one of the year's best fights, Bellator had quite a ride in season 9.
I've watched all the events. I even attended one of them. We've read all the interviews, seen all the sights, heard all the talk. In review of season 9, here's what worked, what didn't and an assessment of what's next...
UFC Fight Night 35 adds Amagov vs. High, Houston vs. Smith, Edwards vs. Nijem
The UFC’s January return to Georgia was given three new fights with welterweights Adlan Amagov vs. Jason High, middleweights Brian Houston vs. Trevor Smith and lightweights Justin Edwards vs. Ramsey Nijem.
UFC officials recently announced the bookings, which take place at UFC Fight Night 35 on Jan. 15 at Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The night’s main card airs on FOX Sports 1 following prelims that stream on MMAjunkie.com. Official placement for the bouts was not revealed.
With the additions to the card, UFC Fight Night 35 now includes:
Constantinos Philippou vs. Luke Rockhold
Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton
Ovince St. Preux vs. opponent TBA
Lorenz Larkin vs. Brad Tavares
Adlan Amagov vs. Jason High
Brian Houston vs. Trevor Smith
Justin Edwards vs. Ramsey Nijem
Brandon Thatch taking time off to heal, retool fighting style
It happened quickly, that Brandon Thatch took the UFC’s welterweight division by storm.
With first-round stoppage wins in his first two fights with the promotion, including a “Knockout of the Night” win in his debut, the Coloradan is admittedly still soaking in all the buzz from his fast start – which includes eight straight wins before signing with the UFC.
But now Thatch (11-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is ready to sit back for a moment, nurse up and come back healthier – and, he hopes, even better...
Kobold Out, Sarah D’Alelio Faces Tonya Evinger At Invicta FC 7
An injury has forced bantamweight veteran Kelly “Blood Red” Kobold out of her planned fight at Invicta Fighting Championships 7 on December 7th in Kansas City, Missouri.
In Kobold’s place, Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio has stepped in to face off against Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger on the card.
The change was first announced on Inside MMA tonight. D’Alelio is coming off of a close loss to Lauren Murphy at Invicta FC 6 in July. She had won three of her past four fights prior to the setback.
Evinger recently competed on TUF 18 and brings a three-fight winning streak into her Invicta FC debut.
Heath Herring starts fight promotion in Argentina
For the last five years, it’s become increasingly hard to tell Heath Herring from a red herring. The "Texas Crazy Horse" spent a dozen years in the cage facing the full scroll of heavyweight giants in Pride and the UFC before a vague contract dispute with the latter sort of sent him off like a tumbleweed down the 101 freeway towards Hollywood.
Since that night five years ago in Minneapolis, back when he was bull-rushed and battered by Brock Lesnar at UFC 87, he has been cast as the prototypical bad guy in every kind of B-film known to never touch the silver screen. He went onto the World Series poker circuit, and ebbed and flowed with the cards that came down the river. He became a stuntman...
Reza Madadi Calls Out Anton Kuivanen at SC9: “I Got the Belt. Come and Get It!”
We might have a proper Nordic super fight coming up in the near future. Sweden’s top lightweight Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi just
stormed the cage at Superior Challenge 9 in Gothenburg and announced that he wants to fight Finland’s best lightweight Anton Kuivanen.
This was just moments after the Finn had scored a first round knock out over Diego Gonzalez who had Madadi in his corner.
John Lineker cut 11 pounds in one week with Dolce Diet
John Lineker could have earned a shot at the flyweight title with his fourth consecutive victory inside the Octagon, but the fact that he missed weight in three of his five UFC fights played against him.
Lineker scored three knockouts in a row in 2013, the last one over Phil Harris at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England, and he guarantees you won’t see him miss weight anymore.
Bjorn Rebney considering Daniel Straus-Pat Curran 3 for next Bellator 145 title fight
BETHLEHEM, PA. – Daniel Straus avenged one loss earlier this month, and he’s on track for a shot at avenging another one, as well.
But that’s only if Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney doesn’t flip the script on things just a little bit.
Straus (22-4 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) won the Bellator featherweight title at Bellator 106, outpointing Pat Curran (19-5 MMA, 9-2 BMMA), the man who handed him a loss in April 2009. As champion, he’s scheduled to face Patricio Freire (21-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA) next after “Pitbull” won the Season 9 featherweight tournament a week ago.
GSP mentor : if he doesn't retire, i will no longer be in his corner
Canadian MMA pioneer Kristof Midoux took Georges St-Pierre under his wing when the UFC welterweight champion was only 16, and has served as a mentor since.
Immediately after GSP's split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 last Saturday night, the champion made ambiguous remarks about needing time off, maybe forever, citing unnamed personal issues. This is turn spurred UFC president Dana White to remind St-Pierre that as champion he can retire, but cannot shelve the title for an indeterminate period of time, while he sorts out whatever is beleaguring him.
Midoux has now given mutliple interviews with the French Canadian press, saying he thinks it is time for St-Pierre to retire, and go out as one the greatest champions in mixed martial arts history. If he doesn't, Midoux says he will no longer be in the champion's corner.
Midoux added that if St-Pierre took a year or two off, he could then return at fight whoever the new champion was, with Midoux's approval and support.
Midoux's quotes below come courtesy of the journal de montreal, and google translate.
"He had given so much during the fight, he was a little upset and he did not know what he said, "explained Midoux. "This is why people do not really understand."
"He expected to take a break, time to rest, but he still wanted to fight. The final decision will be him."
"I think Georges will abandon his belt and there will be a world championship without him. The decision is up to him and I expect him to come back from vacation to sit and talk with him.
"But he is aware that he needs to rest. It must leave room for other things in his heart."
"If he decides to return, for any reason, I will not be in his corner. I do not want to see him suffer more, having accomplished what all dream to accomplish.
"He has another life that awaits. I think he has many other things to do, instead of trying to find out who is the strongest in the world, because he has proved that it was him. "
"I do not see any fighter right now who deserves to fight against him. I would be the first to tell him he can not withdraw because there is such and such person he must beat before doing so. Let them all fight for a good year to see who emerges from the crowd."
"If someone keeps the belt for two years, then, perhaps, I would stay in his camp. He would still be young at 34, and then, he would be completely regenerated. "
In another interview, Midoux took issue with White's response to GSP's talk about taking time off, and says White recanted the next day.
"George was a little disturbed," said Midoux. "But the difference between him and me is that he is really nice, even when you have to be nasty."
"What was said and done by Dana White was not correct. It confuses some roles. White enters the octagon to put on the belt. Georges goes there to fight as if his life depended on it. Georges is a lion that has respect, and White is a buffoon without respect."
"Few people know it, but the next morning he (White) called George and told him 'I'm sorry, I watched the fight again and you have indeed won. I spoke under the influence of emotion.'"
"George told him he did not worry, he understood. He owes nothing to anyone, he fought all his life."
"If I were (GSP), I would ask for a public apology from White, who should say to the media that George has really won the fight.
"Second, I would tell him to send people to test whether Hendricks is natural or not. At this point, it would show me that he is a good boss and he does things as they should be done."
"(GSP) looked me in the eye, and asked if he had won. I told him I would have been the first to tell him if I thought he had lost."
"If he had really lost, and the judges gave him a false victory, I would have told him to take the belt and put it back to Hendricks. We have never accepted a victory that was actually a defeat."
"It was a very hard fight. I told Georges you won, but you got hit a lot. he was damaged. He was at the end of his strength, but he won that fight."
Next Fight Will Be The Last For Rich Franklin
It's been a year since Rich Franklin last stood in the Octagon. A former Ultimate FIghting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion, Franklin has always been one of the most well-rounded fighters on the roster. His opponent Cung Le, was the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion.
Donald Cerrone meets Adriano Martins at UFC on FOX 10 in Chicago
The UFC’s two most recent “Submission of the Night” winners have been booked to face each other in January.
Fresh off his win a week ago against Evan Dunham, Donald Cerrone (21-6 MMA, 8-3 UFC) will meet Adriano Martins (25-6 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in a lightweight bout when the UFC returns to Chicago for UFC on FOX 10. UFC officials announced the new fight booking on Saturday.