Bellator 134 Results: Winners, Scorecards from the British Invasion Fight Card

Bellator 134 features a good number of compelling scraps on Friday night. The card is billed as the British Invasion because of the amount of fighters competing who hail from the United Kingdom. The main event features light heavyweight champion Emanuel “Hardcore Kid” Newton against dangerous British contender Liam McGeary.

There were also preliminary bouts before Friday’s main card began. Here’s a look at the results per Spike.com and Spike TV. Just below the table is a breakdown of the other main card bouts.

 

Vassell Dominates Sokoudjou

Linton Vassell chalked up a win for the United Kingdom at Bellator 134: The British Invasion. He dominated Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and earned a second-round TKO victory. Vassell was dominant from the beginning of the bout.  

He used his advanced grappling skills to wear Sokoudjou down and flatten out his opponent to gain the stoppage win. Sokoudjou couldn’t offer any resistance as Vassell pounded his helpless foe until the referee called a stoppage to the bout.

There was a time when Sokoudjou was a promising and dangerous striker. That time has clearly passed. The loss snapped his modest two-fight win streak in Bellator and ended any chance he would have at challenging for the light heavyweight title any time soon.

That was the first in the international contest.

 

Ward Takes out Millender

It only took Brennan Ward a minute and 37 seconds to dispose of Curtis Millender in the first main card bout. Ward was decisive and aggressive in taking the fight to the ground. 

Ward used a powerful right hand to drop Millender. You can see the shot here via the tweet from Zombie Prophet:

Almost immediately, Ward gained the advantageous position on his opponent’s back. He secured the rear-naked choke to get the win.

 

Daley Batters Santos En Route to Decision Win

Andre Santos deserves credit for his toughness, but Paul Daley’s assault was relentless. Daley landed a hard right hand that hurt Santos in the first round. At one point it looked as if the Brit might secure the early stoppage, but Santos proved to be durable.

In the second round, Santos had a few moments of his own. He landed a good left hand midway through the frame, and gained the dominant position on Daley’s back when the bell sounded. Daley never appeared to be in trouble, but Santos had stemmed the tide.

In the final round, Daley again took control with his aggression. A well-placed knee dropped Santos and opened up a huge gash on the Brazilian’s head. It looked as if Santos might tap out from strikes, or even be stopped by the referee.

Surprisingly, Santos made it to his feet and secured a takedown and mount position. He didn’t have the gas to do any real damage from the position, but his toughness was exemplary. Daley earned the decision, but Santos made him work for it. The win ran the UK’s edge to 2-0 on the night.

This fight was supposed to be for the Bellator welterweight title, but champion Douglas Lima had to pull out with an injury.

When the fight was over, Lima didn’t exactly sound supportive after his rival emerged victorious. 

The trash talk will only add to the flame once these two actually meet in the cage.

 

Lawal Wins a Snoozefest

Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal won one of the most boring fights you’ll see in any organization. Facing a much larger man, Lawal used his wrestling superiority to put Kongo on his back for the majority of the fight.

Kongo had no answer for Lawal’s takedowns. The jabs and straights that Kongo threw in an attempt to keep distance didn’t work. By the midway point of the second round, Kongo was gassed and Lawal had his way.

The stats presented by Jason Floyd of the MMA Report tells the clear story of this bout.

Surprisingly, one judge saw the fight for Kongo. Unless he forgot which bald guy was Kongo, it’s hard to understand that scorecard. Nonetheless, the right guy got the decision and this horrible fight came to an end.

 

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Rousey vs. Zingano: Odds, Comments and Predictions for UFC 184

One by one, Ronda Rousey has emphatically finished every challenger that’s come her way. Fight by fight, Cat Zingano hasn’t let anyone stop her on her march to the top. 

At UFC 184, the two undefeated women will stand across from one another in the Octagon and only one will leave with that precious zero in the loss column.

The odds-on favorite to be that woman is Rousey. The champion’s undefeated streak is a little different to her challenger’s. Zingano has had to escape the clutches of defeat. She’s looked mortal. She’s been taken down in each of her UFC bouts thus far.

Rousey has retained her undefeated status with the kind of dominance that meant she spent exactly one minute and 22 seconds defending her belt in the Octagon last year. Her average fight lasts two minutes and 37 seconds.

Still, this is MMA. Coming off a card that featured 10 upsets in 11 fights, assuming is not a prognosticator’s friend in this sport. 

Here’s a look at the tale of the tape, latest odds and build up to the main event, along with a prediction as to who will emerge with the belt around her waist on Saturday night.

 Odds via Odds Shark as of Thursday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

 

What They’re Saying

Ronda Rousey isn’t usually one to mince words. She’s almost as well known for her willingness to say whatever is on her mind as she is for her ferocity inside the cage. 

Yet, you’ll be hard pressed to see many disparaging or even aggressive quotes addressed toward Cat Zingano. Holly Holm or Arianny Celeste may be a different story, but the champion hasn’t had much to say about the opponent she’ll meet in Los Angeles because she doesn’t see much point in saying much, given Zingano’s toughness, per Elias Cepeda of Fox Sports:

Cat is different because not only is she undefeated but she has the kind of indomitable spirit that I haven’t seen exhibited by anyone else, at the level that she has. …

She’s been down in fights before, and every single time, she’s come back and finished the other person. And given everything she’s been through lately in her life outside of fighting, I really feel like she’s one of those people that’s impossible to intimidate, so I don’t even try.

While Rousey describes the toughness and perseverance that Zingano has demonstrated in her career, another word to describe the contender could be quiet. The challenger doesn’t have much of a history of pre-fight talk and hype. Unsurprisingly, there hasn’t been much talk about Rousey from the Alpha Cat’s camp.

That doesn’t mean she isn’t confident, though. “I don’t feel like she’s been challenged the way she will with me,” Zingano told Michael Martinez of UFC.com. “I feel like I’m a different, complete pedigree than anyone she’s ever been against, and I think she knows that as well.”

There’s some truth to Zingano’s statement. She represents a challenge Rousey has yet to face in her title reign. We’ve seen Rousey take on good grapplers but none who appear to be as big and strong as the Alpha Cat.

One look at the third round of Zingano’s fight with Miesha Tate reveals the type of power and—cardio—Rousey will be dealing with. Zingano finished that fight with brutal knees to Tate after nearly falling prey to an armbar in the second round.

 

Prediction

On paper, Zingano has a path to victory. That’s more than could be said for most of Rousey’s opponents. 

Given the power that Zingano has proved she has on the feet, and the cardio it took to pick up three of her nine career victories by way of (T)KO in the third round, hypothetically, Zingano’s odds of winning increase with every round she survives. 

For all of Rousey’s greatness, her cardio is not something we’ve seen tested. The champion has been out of the first round just once: a third-round submission of Tate.

With Zingano earning the same result, her ability to finish fights as the rounds go by is more proven. If she can just find a way to make it out of those first one or two rounds without submitting, she could set up an interesting three rounds to close out the fight.

However, there’s just one problem with that theory. The challenger has been known to get off to slow starts. Amanda Nunes landed 21 significant strikes to Zingano’s three in the first round of her most recent UFC bout. Tate also outlanded her in the first frame of their bout.

There’s also the fact that she was taken down by both Nunes and Tate. 

As Rousey pointed out in her quote, Zingano has made a living out of rallying despite the odds. But that’s a different order entirely when going against a fighter of Rousey’s caliber.

Rousey by first-round submission (armbar).

 

All bout and card information via UFC.com. All statistics via FightMetric unless otherwise noted.

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Invicta 11: Last-Minute Main Card Predictions for Cyborg vs. Tweet

Friday night, the biggest women’s MMA weekend in history kicks off in Los Angeles with Invicta 11. Live on Fight Pass, the card is a stacked deck with one of the best females in combat sports history in the headliner, as well as contenders and prospects scattered throughout.

Cris “Cyborg” Justino defends her Invicta Featherweight Championship against Charmaine Tweet. It’s a bout in which not only the belt is being defended, but speculation runs wild about a potential Ronda Rousey showdown.

With that, let’s make some last-minute predictions for the Invicta 11 card.

 

Cris “Cyborg” Justino vs. Charmaine Tweet

The featherweight bout should be an interesting one. While it’s basically unanimous that Justino will retain her belt in vicious fashion, Tweet is not somebody to count out.

Despite Tweet’s not-so-sexy win percentage, she has won five out of her last six bouts, with her only loss coming to another top featherweight in Julia Budd. All of those wins come by finish as well, including the majority of them by submission.

That would be her best opportunity for victory. However, despite how good her ground game is and how physically imposing she can be, Justino has a good ground game herself and is probably the most physically imposing fighter in women’s MMA.

On the feet, this is no contest. Cyborg has incredible muay thai and power, especially from the clinch where she destroys opponents with huge knees and punches.

This is pretty simple to pick. Tweet is the right opponent at this point, but Cyborg is in a class of her own.

Prediction: Justino def. Tweet via KO.

 

Mizuki Inoue vs. Alexa Grasso

Two of the youngest and brightest prospects in all of WMMA are on display in the co-main event. Both Alexa Grasso and Mizuki Inoue have an extremely promising future and should give us a glimpse of two up-and-coming contenders here.

Grasso is a striker with an undefeated record. She is a brutal knockout artist, possessing good power, technique and movement. Her ground game is a little bit of a question mark at this point, but if she can keep it upright, she can beat anybody.

It’s especially impressive that it took her less than two minutes to put Alida Gray’s lights out, a fighter who challenged Jessica Aguilar for her WSOF belt.

Inoue has been in the spotlight a longer time, despite not even being 21 years old (Inoue is 20, Grasso is 21). Inoue is a well-rounded fighter who has fought some tough competition, including Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Bec Rawlings, Ayaka Hamasaki and Alex Chambers.

This is a tough matchup to call. I think that Inoue‘s established clinch and ground game are the key factors in this bout, and Grasso will learn a lot in taking what should be a fun fight.

Prediction: Inoue def. Grasso via unanimous decision.

 

DeAnna Bennett vs. Norma Center

DeAnna Bennett was on the fast track to a flyweight title shot, but she now drops to strawweight in the hopes to not only score a UFC bid but a shot at the Invicta title. She meets a tough prospect in Norma Center, who should give her all she can handle.

Bennett has had success at both 135 and 125 pounds. Instead of being complacent, she goes to a division where her size won’t be a detriment anymore, as she is a shorter fighter with good range despite that discrepancy. 

Center takes this bout on short notice, but the last time she did that for Invicta she gave Joanne Calderwood a hell of a fight. She is more of a ground fighter, though I find it hard to believe she will be able to wrestle down Bennett, a good wrestler in her own right.

Bennett’s striking is the difference, as displayed in her bout with Michelle Ould. Center is tough and can hang, so she will surprise many with her grit and determination.

Prediction: Bennett def. Center via unanimous decision.

 

Irene Aldana vs. Colleen Schneider

The second top Mexican prospect on this show, Irene Aldana has star potential and a cult following that adores her power and prowess. Her aspirations for the UFC will take center stage when she goes up against a TUF 18 veteran in the form of Colleen Schneider.

Outside of a blemish against UFC fighter Larissa Pacheco, Aldana has been a terror to opponents with her powerful, aggressive brand of striking. She has knockout power for days, mixing in strong knees and kicks to compliment her dynamite punches.

She will have to be wary of the takedown, though, as her ground game, like that of her teammate Grasso, is also a bit of a question mark. Schneider trains with Josh Barnett and has a strong wrestling game, which transitions to a heavy top game on the ground.

Schneider will be at the disadvantage of a size discrepancy, which, mixed with the fact that Aldana will make her uncomfortable from the opening bell, will be a hard mountain to climb. Aldana pushes the pace and lands strikes, eventually earning the victory in vicious fashion.

Prediction: Aldana def. Schneider via TKO.

 

Full Card Predictions

145: Cris Justino def. Charmaine Tweet via KO

115: Mizuki Inoue def. Alexa Grasso via unanimous decision

115: DeAnna Bennett def. Norma Center via unanimous decision

135: Irene Aldana def. Colleen Schneider via TKO

115: Jamie Moyle def. JJ Aldrich via unanimous decision

115: Brianna van Buren def. Amy Montenegro via unanimous decision

125: Christine Stanley def. Laura Salazar via unanimous decision

125: Aspen Ladd def. Ana Carolina Vidal via unanimous decision

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Rising Star Marion Reneau Wants Miesha Tate, Alexis Davis in Next Fight

Marion Reneau made a big impression in her first two fights.

Now she wants to capitalize on that momentum with a bout against a top contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.

“Let’s go for the top,” Reneau said Thursday in an interview with MMAjunkie Radio (h/t MMAJunkie.com). “Let’s go for Miesha Tate. Let’s go for Alexis Davis. Let’s go for those girls who are right next to No. 1. Let’s go.”

Tate is currently ranked No. 2 and Davis No. 3 in the official UFC women’s bantamweight rankings. Davis is currently set to fight Sarah Kaufman in April, but Reneau‘s essential point—that she has earned a fight with a contender—still holds.

Reneau (6-1) made her UFC debut not even two months ago. She was an underdog to world-class grappler Alexis Dufresne but looked every bit the favorite. She outstruck the overmatched Dufresne for three full rounds and earned a convincing decision victory which included memorably lopsided judges’ scorecards of 30-26, 30-26 and a very rare 30-25.

Just six weeks later, she was at it again. Once again the underdog, this time against Jessica Andrade, Reneau overcame an early knockdown to tap out Andrade with a triangle choke less than two minutes into the first round.

“It was super-important for me to show my jiu-jitsu,” Reneau told reporters after the fight. “There was a comment made where my brown belt was mentioned as equal to her blue belt, and I had to show it that this didn’t make any sense. I am a legitimate brown belt. My brown belt can’t match your blue, ever.”

Reneau‘s sense of urgency is understandable. Not only is she rolling with a huge head of steam, but she is actually closer to the end of a conventional professional athlete’s timeline. The California native is 37 years old and as such may not have a massive number of fights in front of her, despite her relative youth in the sport.

To date, Reneau‘s wins have been so emphatic, her microphone presence so polished, that UFC president Dana White was compelled to do something he rarely does: apologize in public. Reneau had previously tried out for The Ultimate Fighter but was told she was too old for the reality show.

“She looked awesome, and I have to publicly apologize to her,” White said to the media after her victory over Dufresne. “She tried out for The Ultimate Fighter, and I told her she was too old. So I was wrong again.”

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Don’t Worry, Ronda Rousey Fans, She’s Still a Long Way from GOAT Status

The soundtrack to Ronda Rousey’s UFC career has always been a ticking clock.

Rousey is so special, her talent so glaringly cant-miss, that we’ve always known we couldn’t keep her forever. Someday, somebody’s going to come along and offer her a boatload of money for a job that doesn’t involve getting punched in the face, and then she’ll be gone.

Each time we’ve watched Rousey defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title—as she will against Cat Zingano on Saturday at UFC 184—we’ve been haunted by fears that it could be the last time. When she spent a substantial stretch away from the cage during 2013 to appear in a couple of movies, we thought it was the beginning of the end.

But perhaps there’s suddenly good news on that front. Leading up to her clash with the undefeated Zingano, there is actually less trepidation about a potential Rousey retirement than ever before.

Maybe that’s partly because there are big-money challenges right around the corner from people like Holly Holm and Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Maybe it’s partly because, if anything, our fears overlooked the champ’s own competitive fire.

Suddenly, Rousey sounds like she’s in no hurry to leave us behind.

At a press event earlier this week, she said she’ll fight until she considers herself the greatest of all time. At any weight class. Man or woman.

“I’ll know when I reach the point, like, ‘OK, I’m the most dominant and the greatest of all time,’” Rousey said, via MMAFighting.com’s Mark Raimondi. “I know that I’m there and I’ll be ready to hang up my gloves and move on. But whether or not anyone else sees it that way doesn‘t matter. Because I’ll see it that way.”

This obviously is a very Ronda Rousey thing to say. If her goal, however, is to keep fighting until she can lay legitimate claim to being the GOAT, it should set our minds at ease.

She’s got a long way to go before she’s even in that conversation.

As good as Rousey has been, she’s only been in the UFC a hair longer than two years. To be considered a serious threat to usurp fighters like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre or Fedor Emelianenko for all-time great status could take another decade.

Remember that from 2001-09, Emelianenko won more than twice as many fights in a row (27) as Rousey has had in her entire career (10). Prior to his initial loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 153, Silva likewise reigned as middleweight champion for more than six-and-a-half years. That’s longer than Rousey has even been a professional fighter.

Silva additionally went 3-0 fighting at light heavyweight and unified his title with the Pride welterweight championship when he beat Dan Henderson at UFC 82. Emelianenko ruled Pride during a time when its crop of heavyweights was the best in the world and had legendary rivalries with greats like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop.

Could Rousey ever surpass the accomplishments of these great champions? Maybe, but she’d have to stick around an awful lot longer than we’ve previously thought possible.

Could she ever eclipse the promotional power of St-Pierre? Maybe not ever.

During his two stints as welterweight champion from 2006-13,GSP established himself as the UFC’s king of pay-per-views. The 13 events where he appeared as champion averaged a bit more than 758,000 buys each. Rousey’s drawing power, meanwhile, is a bit murkier.

She took on Miesha Tate in the co-main event of UFC 167, which—with Silva-Weidman II as its other main event—sold an estimated 1.025 million units. Likewise, her most recent appearance against Alexis Davis, as the co-main of UFC 175 (supporting Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida), also sold well, at an estimated 545,000 buys.

Yet the two events she has headlined on her own have been significantly less successful. Neither her UFC 157 debut against Liz Carmouche nor her UFC 170 fight with Sara McMann crested 500,000 buys. What does that mean, exactly? Nobody is sure, though her meeting with Zingano this weekend might shed a bit more light on the subject.

If the event outperforms expectations, perhaps it will be seen as a sign that Rousey is bringing significant numbers of paying customers to the table. If it doesn‘t? It could mean she’s still got a way to go.  

One thing we can say without reservation, however: Rousey is no St-Pierre. She’s no Emelianenko. She’s no Silva. Not close. Not yet.

None of this is her fault, by the way. She’s been nothing short of a revelation since coming to the UFC from Strikeforce in 2013. You can’t watch her fight or cut an interview or just stand there in a room without being struck by her innate charisma. She has it. She has “it” to spare.

But she’s not the greatest MMA fighter of all time. Not by any meaningful metric.

In fact, at this stage in the game it’s impossible to know if Rousey will ever get the chance to vie for GOAT status. Surely she’s already a step behind fellow champion Jon Jones in that race to the top. Unless Jones unexpectedly breaks stride, she likely won’t ever catch him.

The UFC also hasn’t done Rousey’s legacy any favors, preferring to couch the 135-pound division as a one-woman show. Every great fighter needs great competition, and so far Rousey hasn’t had a ton of it. Unless future foes like Zingano, Holm or and/or Cyborg prove to be more formidable than her past opponents, it’s tough to see Rousey building a resume that will stack up alongside other all-time greats.

In any case, she doesn’t seem to care about resumes. Or metrics. Or what anybody else thinks. Not caring, in fact, is one of her defining characteristics and a big part of her considerable star power.

“I’m trying to be as dominant as possible,” she said, via Raimondi. “… But I can only control what’s put in front of me to control, not how people perceive my accomplishments.”

Rousey’s accomplishments to date have been phenomenal. But if what she wants is to be regarded as the greatest of all time, it won’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in two years and four fights in the UFC. It won’t happen tomorrow. It won’t even happen next year.

But hey, if that means we get more time with Ronda Rousey, nobody will complain.

 

Statistics on pay-per-view buys courtesy of Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t MMAPayout.com).

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