This past Saturday night, the three largest promotions on the planet earth, UFC, Bellator and WSOF all held events.
Below we will grade all of the events from Saturday night, as well as give our final verdict.
Who won Saturday’s MMA triple header?
UFC 180 – B+
In the evening’s main event, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez was expected to defend his crown against number one contender and fellow TUF Latin America coach Fabricio Werdum, however the champ pulled out due to injury. This was a big hit, as the event was the first time the promotion made the trip across the border into Mexico. Stepping in for Velasquez was Mark Hunt and the two would end up fighting for the UFC Interim title. Other injuries on the card happened as well, as both main card fighters Joe Lauzon and Diego Sanchez were forced out of action.
The UFC event wound up being UFC Fight Pass caliber in terms of name value, but the top three fights on the PPV portion of the card made up for that. During the preliminary portion of the card, a fight between Jessica Eye and Leslie Smith brought fans to their feet. Midway through the first round, Eye landed a nasty punch to the ear of Smith and it exploded. During the second round, “Evil” targeted that ear again and the doctor was forced to stop the fight, as Smith’s ear was basically falling off of her head. The Ricardo Lamas vs. Dennis Bermudez bout was the fight that turned the night around. Lamas put a hault to Bermudez’s seven-fight winning streak with an outstanding performance, earning a first round submission victory. In the co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum stunned Jake Ellenberger with a first round rear-naked choke to continue his undefeated streak. And while the main event wasn’t what it was expected to be, Hunt and Werdum performed. Twice Hunt dropped the Brazilian, but if was midway through the second round that Werdum landed a well timed knee and finished Hunt by TKO to earn the Interim Heavyweight Title.
Bellator 131 – B-
This fight card was completely built around a main event between two fighters past their prime — Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar. It was interesting that the organization decided to go with this bout as the top slot, as the co-headlining slot was a match-up between Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks taking on former champ Michael Chandler in an anticipated rematch.
Ortiz and Bonnar was a tad better than expectations. The two gassed very early, but constantly pushed for a finish. Ortiz won a split-decision, because of his takedowns. Following the decision, Ortiz gave Bonnar the finger and continued to trash talk him during his post-fight speech. The grading would have been much higher if the Brooks vs. Chandler bout were the main event. This fight was spectacular, with Brooks retaining his title with a TKO in the fourth round, after a great back and forth battle. Each and every fight other than the main event on the SPIKE TV main card was finished within the distance.
Bellator 131 was a fun card in general. President Scott Coker turned up the heat, with new entrances and production, as well as announcing the first three events of 2015.
WSOF 15 – C-
World Series of Fighting was hoping to win the night with three title fights. Unfortunately that dropped to two, after Melvin Guillard missed weight for his lightweight title shot against champ Justin Gaethje.
The World Series of Fighting event did not live up to the hype at all. With two title fights and a fight between their lightweight champ and a former UFC fighter, the card had all the markings on paper to be fantastic. Ultimately it fell short.
Let’s start with the prelims, they were just that, preliminary and lacklustre to say the least. Even though four out of the six fights on the under card was a finish, none of them did anything for building star power for the WSOF company. Kicking off the main card was a very bleak fight between Jorge Patino and Eric Reynolds, which ended in a decision. The women’s strawweight title was up for grabs next and it went as everyone had expected it to — Jessica Aguilar punished Kalindra Faria for five rounds earning herself the judges nod. In the co-main event, the non-title fight between lightweight champ Justin Gaethje and Melvin Guillard was exciting for the one round that Guillard was able to keep up with Gaethje, but after he began to lose steam, the champ poured on the pressure and earned himself the unanimous decision. In the evening’s main event, middleweight champ David Branch proved he has all the making to be a superstar, as he finished former UFC title challenger Yushin Okami by fourth round TKO.
The Final Verdict
Nine times out of ten, the UFC will beat out any opponents if they are matched up on the same night. However, coming into Saturday, Bellator and World Series of Fighting had a lot of steam. Especially with the UFC losing a number of their high name value competitors due to the injury bug. In the end, like everyone expected, the big shot organization wound up taking home the cake. The UFC 180 main card demolished both Bellator and WSOF’s, as four of the five fights were first round finishes. Top that off with a main event that brought the Mexican crowd to their feet and the UFC easily won on a night that was almost too much mixed martial arts for any true fan.