HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 177 and UFC on FOX 24 including from Whittaker over Souza, Demetrious’s win

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Demetrious Johnson (photo credit Ron Chenoy © USA Today Sports)

Bellator 177 and UFC on FOX 24 were this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.

Bellator 177

GOOD – Adam Borics submits Anthony Taylor: Borics was patient and waited for his opportunity and when he got it, he submitted Taylor late in the first round. Nice win for Borics in his home country of Hungary.

GOOD – Lena Ovchynnikova stops Helen Harper: Harper did well in the first round and got Ovchynnikova in danger, but Ovchynnikova persevered and started beating on Harper and ended up getting the TKO win in between the second and third rounds. Nice win for Ovchynnikova.

GOOD/BAD – Daniel Weichel vs. John Teixiera: The fight itself was okay. It was solid and had good effort, but it was just kind of there. Weichel won by split decision but it looked as though Teixiera probably should have won. Not a hugely controversial decision or anything, but one that is at least somewhat questionable.

BAD/UGLY – Leandro Higo vs. Eduardo Dantas: This was a bad fight that got even worse. The pace was so slow that you would think you were watching an episode of The Walking Dead. Dantas just ran backwards with Higo running after him for far too long here. The first two rounds were bad enough but things got even worse in the third, prompting prolonged booing from the crowd. Dantas got the split decision win to retain his Bellator Bantamweight Championship in a fight that everyone will forget by next week, if they haven’t already. This does hurt the stock of Dantas, though, because when you turn in turds like this one, it lowers peoples desire to want to watch you in the future.

UFC on FOX 24

BAD/UGLY – Renato Moicano vs. Jeremy Stephens: This fight was essentially a carbon copy of the Bellator 177 main event. The first two rounds were dull, but the third round turned that up (or down, depending on how you want to look at it) a notch. Moicano got on his bike and ran from Stephens for basically the entire third round, just as Dantas ran from Higo from Bellator 177. In both cases, it was a pathetic display that actively discourages people becoming MMA fans.

GOOD – Robert Whittaker stops Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: Whittaker made a huge statement here. Jacare got him down in the first, but Whittaker was able to immediately disengage and avoid any danger. From there, he started picking Jacare apart and rocked him a few times. He kept turning up the heat and eventually got the stoppage win. This was enormous. Jacare isn’t a guy you just get a stoppage on; he’s tough as hell, but Whittaker stopped him. Unfortunately, the logjam at middleweight is unbelievable so Whittaker is going to have to beat another high-rated guy to get title shot consideration.

Obviously, Yoel Romero has the strongest case for a title shot. However, Gegard Mousasi also has a good case for a shot. And now, so does Whittaker. The problem is, UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping is supposed to fight Georges. St. Pierre sometime before any of those three guys get their shot. And there’s no way all three of them wait for a title shot. Romero can wait, but Mousasi and Whittaker likely have to fight each other in order to get a title shot. Or the UFC could have Mousasi fight Luke Rockhold and Whittaker fight Chris Weidman, or some other combination of that. The point is, this is a win that ordinarily would get Whittaker a title shot but because of the way the UFC has been giving title shots, he’s going to have to win at least once more before getting his shot.

GOOD – Rose Namajunas submits Michelle Waterson: Both women showed good toughness and technique as they battled early. Namajunas was getting the edge in most of the exchanges until she saw her opportunity and caught Waterson with a brilliant headkick flush in the jaw. It was amazing that Waterson didn’t immediately go out from that, that was a crushing shot. Namajunas jumped on her and worked for the rear-naked choke. Waterson fought hard, but Namajunas was just too tenacious and forced the tap. Big win for Namajunas, who is now in line to fight the winner of UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade from UFC 212 next month. This is a tough loss for Waterson, but she can get right back into the mix with a big win or two.

GOOD – Demetrious Johnson submits Wilson Reis: Johnson tied Anderson Silva’s record for the most consecutive title defenses with his tenth straight defense here, and he did it in style. He was so quick and on-point in this fight that it appeared at times that Reis gave up trying to hit him. Of course that’s not true, Reis was trying his hardest, but Johnson is just so good that he makes quality fighters look bad. There was pretty much nothing Reis could do as Johnson set the tone and pace for the fight, as he always does. He ended up getting the submission win in the third round, which is impressive given the ability of Reis on the ground.

The question is, is Johnson the best fighter in the world right now? Is he the best fighter of all-time? The first question is easy to answer. Yes, Demetrious Johnson is the best fighter in the world right now. Who would you put above him, his track record speaks for itself. The question of is he the best all-time is a lot harder to answer. I’m a Fedor Emelianenko guy so it’s hard for me to call anyone else the greatest, but I will say that Johnson might very well end up being the greatest when he’s done. He has no real weaknesses, you’re just going to have to be better than he is at everything. His cardio, his wrestling, his grappling, his striking, he’s good at all that. His defense is great, too. He’s beatable, but it’s going to take a tremendous effort from someone to do so. Added on top of all his ability and techniques is the fact that he’s one of the fastest fighters (if not the fastest) to ever step foot into the cage. That all adds up to a package that doesn’t seem possible. Yet he exists and he continuously goes out there and beats whoever is put in front of him.

I don’t know if or when Johnson will ever lose, but I do know that I’m glad that I’ve been able to watch him fight over the years. He’s on the precipice of history and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon. Records are made to be broken, but Johnson might put the consecutive title defense record so far out there that it’ll never be broken. That would be an amazing feat, and one we should all be glad we’re witness to.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 176 and UFC 210 including Mousasi-Weidman, Rumble retirement

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

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