HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 176 and UFC 210 including Mousasi-Weidman, Rumble retirement

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Gegard Mousasi vs. Chris Weidman at UFC 210 (photo credit Kevin Hoffman © USA Today)

Bellator 176 and UFC 210 were this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.

Bellator 176

GOOD – Djamil Chan vs. Valeriu Mircea: This was a really close fight, with the second being the deciding round. Mircea won the majority decision. It’s a nice win for him and a fairly good fight.

GOOD – Mihail Nica submits Samba Coulibaly: Nice made quick work of things here, getting the anaconda choke locked in just over 30 seconds into the first round.

GOOD – Anatasia Yankova vs. Elina Kallionidou: Yankova controlled things throughout but Kallionidou showed fight. Yankova was all over Kallionidou, but Kallionidou kept coming and hitting her with punches and elbows and anything she could throw at her. This was a pretty good fight, but Yankova was just a bit better. Nice win for Yankova.

GOOD – Rafael Carvalho stops Melvin Manhoef: Both guys were pretty tired when this fight ended in the fourth round. That lead to some sloppy moments as well as some bad lack of action, but all in all, this was good. Carvalho came out ready to prove his previous controversial win over Manhoef was just a taste of what he can do, and he delivered. A huge headkick knockout emphatically ended things and left no doubt. Carvalho was well on his way to a decision win anyway, but it’s great to get a clear finish. That knockout was a good way to end the evening. Big win for Carvalho as he retains his Bellator Middleweight Championship.

UFC 210

GOOD – Charles Oliveira submits Will Brooks: Brooks was completely outclassed in the grappling department. Oliveira took him down twice and made it look easy. He was all over Brooks and got the submission about halfway through the first round. Oliveira looks really good at lightweight, but Brooks needs to start from scratch and figure some stuff out.

GOOD – Thiago Alves vs. Patrick Cote: These guys were both banging and trading the whole fight. They were both also taking some big shots and kept coming forward. Cote almost got finished in the first round, but he survived and showed good toughness. Alves won the decision. Cote retired after the fight, which is surprising because he looked like he could still fight if he wanted to. I’m happy for him, though, to go out on his own terms. Now he can enjoy retirement and move on to the next phase of his life. This was a good win for Alves.

GOOD – Cynthia Calvillo submits Pearl Gonzalez: Gonzalez kept pushing the pace, but Calvillo was landing a lot of shots. Gonzalez showed some really good toughness and was able to fight out of danger a few times, but eventually Calvillo wore her down and got the submission win. This is her second good win in quick succession, in just over a month.

GOOD/BAD/UGLY – Gegard Mousasi stops Chris Weidman: Weidman was his usual self, throwing a high volume of often sloppy strikes, but pushing the pace quickly and landing some good shots. Mousasi landed good stuff of his own. It was an entertaining fight, one that Mousasi was winning. Then it happened. In the second round, Weidman had his hands on the ground, trying to avoid knees from Mousasi. However, Mousasi kind of pulled Weidman up, just as Weidman was starting to raise his hands off the mat and that’s when Mousasi landed two hard knees to the head of Weidman. The referee thought the knees were illegal and halted the fight. Weidman was either hurt badly and seconds way from being finished or was purposefully exaggerating in an attempt to game the system. Either way, he lost. There was a consultation and it was determined that the knees weren’t illegal. But then the cageside doctor said Weidman couldn’t continue and the fight was stopped, with Mousasi awarded the victory.

There’s been some talk of a rematch, but I don’t really agree with that. One of two things happened in this sequence. Weidman was hurt so badly from the knees that he was about to be finished anyway. Or he was exaggerating the extent of his injuries in order to try to get a cheap DQ win or points deducted from Mousasi or something like that.
Based on what I saw, I believe Weidman was hurt very badly and Mousasi was seconds away from finishing him. So I don’t think a rematch is in order. Given the state of the UFC Middleweight Division, though, and how backed up it is with contenders, maybe they go that route? I would rather see Mousasi fight someone else, though, someone who a win over would give him a title shot or very close to it.

This is a big win for Mousasi and a bad loss for Weidman, who’s now lost three in a row. Mousasi is a free agent now, so all this talk might be for nothing, but one thing’s for sure – he’s put himself in a prime spot to get a nice contract very soon.

GOOD – Daniel Cormier submits Anthony “Rumble” Johnson: I expected Cormier to wrestle and Johnson to do everything he could to keep the fight standing. Instead, Johnson initiated the wrestling. Even when he hurt Cormier with something, he went for a takedown instead of going in for the stoppage. We know Rumble has the power to stop anybody, so why would he choose to try to wrestle a really good wrestler? The gameplan seemed so bizarre and crazy, it was literally the opposite of what we all expected. Cormier took over and got the submission in the second round. Johnson seemed to play right into Cormier’s hands.

After the fight, Johnson announced his retirement. This was even more surprising than Patrick Cote’s retirement from earlier in the night. He could still beat most other fighters, but as with Cote, I’m glad for him that he’s going out on his terms. He was always one of my favorite fighters in the cage because I loved the excitement he brought and I hope he enjoys retirement and the next phase of his life.

As for Cormier, he called out Jimi Manuwa and said Jon Jones doesn’t exist until he’s eligible to fight again. I’d like to see Manuwa and Cormier fight, but I also would like to see Jones fight Cormier again. The UFC would surely want to go with Jones-Cormier 2, but I guess we’ll have to wait to see how this all plays out. I don’t know if anyone can assume that Jones stays out of trouble long enough to have this fight with Cormier, but I’m sure we’ll find out if he can.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 175 including Rampage vs King Mo

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @hydenfrank.

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