The UFC and Bellator are offering some awesome fights this weekend
This is going to be a big Saturday night for fans of MMA. Both the UFC and Bellator are putting on events with some great potential fights on them. I still wish that the two cards were running Friday & Saturday instead of both on Saturday, but such is life. At any rate, you should be flipping back and forth and DVRing both events to make sure you don’t miss a thing. So without any further hesitation, here are the five can’t miss fights for your viewing pleasure this weekend.
5. Jon Fitch vs. Paul Daley – Bellator 199
This has the potential to be a boring fight, but it also has the potential to be fun. The expectation going in is that Jon Fitch will want to take Daley down immediately, and smother him. So if Daley is unable to keep the fight standing, he could very well spend his final 15 minutes in Bellator on his back frustrated.
Daley is not at all happy with his current situation in Bellator. He feels he’s being played for a fool, and he’s just tired of it at this point. Listening to him talk recently it seems as if he’s growing tired of MMA in general. He will be looking to make an impact in this fight, so maybe he can get the highlight reel stoppage he needs to get him back in the flow of things.
Jon Fitch is making his Bellator debut and with a win, he’s immediately in the title picture. It’s a compelling matchup and has important ramifications for the Bellator Welterweight division. It’s definitely worth a watch.
4. Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida – UFC 224
Whatever you think about the career of Vitor Belfort, his last fight is something you probably want to see. He’s one of the elite competitors in the history of MMA, and despite his issues with PEDs and TRT back in the day, Vitor was magic. His early UFC fights with Wanderlei Silva, Scott Ferrozo, and Tank Abbott were absolute classics. He’s been more down than up lately, losing four of seven, although his loss to Kelvin Gastelum was ruled a no-contest after Kelvin tested for elevated marijuana levels. He’s just at the point where his fight mileage and an ever-changing body has caught up with him. This is his last hurrah.
Lyoto lost three in a row, before snapping that streak in his last fight against Eryk Anders. He’s still a very slick defensive fighter who’s style proves awkward for most. It’s hard to believe that Lyoto is only two years younger than Belfort. I think it’s a clear testament to how to treat your body and how much you get out of it in return.
This is a fun fight stylistically and it’s important for Vitor’s legacy. It’s a fight you’re just not going to want to miss. It will be talked about Monday morning in your office.
3. Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington – UFC 224
Amanda Nunes is really an amazing fighter who is just underrated by many. She’s a star of rare talent and because she’s not attacking busses or yelling look at me, she goes far too unnoticed. She’s one of the pound for pound best in the sport, just outside my top five and she will have a showcase opportunity this Saturday night.
Raquel Pennington is a game, talented fighter, but I feel like she’s being thrown into the deep end of the pool here. I think if she can withstand an early onslaught and drag the fight into the late rounds, she has a chance, I just don’t see that taking place. I think Pennington will get stung early and finished in the first round. It’s not an indictment on her talent, more of a statement of Nunes’ greatness.
2. King Mo Lawal vs. Ryan Bader – Bellator 199
This is another quarterfinal in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. This is an interesting fight where two Light Heavyweights are meeting in the tourney. Ryan Bader also happens to be the Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, and I think he’s the second favorite to win this whole tournament. Whoever wins will meet Matt Mitrione in the next round, and I feel the winner of that fight wins this whole thing.
This is a match between two fighters with amazing wrestling pedigrees. As we’ve seen time and again, when two wrestlers meet, it often turns into a standup war. I lean towards Ryan Bader being able to control the standup exchanges and wind up on top if and when the fight his the canvas.
This is going to be a really competitive fight and I think of all the fights this weekend, it’s the second most interesting and one you certainly won’t want to miss.
1. Kelvin Gastelum vs. “Jacare” Souza
I love this fight! I think Jacare is one of the scariest men in the UFC’s middleweight division. His standup is very good, but his grappling is truly elite. He has world-class submissions and Kelvin will have to be VERY careful to not get tied up on the ground. I think Kelvin has some of the most consistently improving standup in the UFC and he could finish Jacare standing.
I think this fight will give us the next middleweight contender, and in my opinion, the next Middleweight champion. Jacare has lost twice in his last 13 fights, and those losses came to the two men who are set to fight for the title in Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker.
Kelvin Gastelum has won two of three, stopping Tim Kennedy and Michael Bisping, but losing a fight to Chris Weidman. He also knocked Vitor Belfort out but was stripped of that win after his USADA test showed he had partaken in too much of the puff, puff, pass. If he is able to defeat Jacare, he’ll immediately be in the mix at Middleweight.
I just can’t wait for this fight, I think it’s one of the most compelling fights in recent memory.