Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis from Bellator 131

Tito Ortiz settled the score with Stephan Bonnar Saturday night, as The Huntington Beach Bad Boy prevailed in the light heavyweight main event of Bellator 131. Ortiz used his superior wrestling skills to score a split-decision win over Bonnar.

Ortiz …

Tito Ortiz settled the score with Stephan Bonnar Saturday night, as The Huntington Beach Bad Boy prevailed in the light heavyweight main event of Bellator 131. Ortiz used his superior wrestling skills to score a split-decision win over Bonnar.

Ortiz came up with huge takedowns in the first and second rounds. Two judges saw him winning all three rounds, while one judge saw Bonnar taking two of three frames.

After the bout was over, Ortiz was still fuming at some of the comments Bonnar had made leading into the fight. As Bonnar played the pro wrestling-like heel as the decision was read, lying face-first on the mat, Ortiz doused him with water and flipped him the bird to rub the victory in his rival’s face.

Ortiz and Bonnar have been at odds for quite some time, and everything finally came to a head at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. In the end, it was the 39-year-old Californian who got the last laugh.

This was one of the most anticipated fights in Bellator history for several reasons. Both Ortiz and Bonnar enjoyed a ton of success in UFC, and this happened to be The American Psycho’s first bout outside UFC since 2004.

It also marked the end of Bonnar‘s two-year stint away from the Octagon. He picked Ortiz as his return opponent, and the self-proclaimed People’s Champ intended to make him pay, according to MMAJunkie.com.

“I take it very personally, and I can’t just let it slide by,” Ortiz said. “This guy wants to come out of retirement and fight me? He got his wish. He’s a fake. He’s a phony. The guy’s a joke, and he’s an embarrassment to the sport.”

Ortiz didn’t try to hide his disdain for Bonnar during the build toward their encounter, but Bonnar wasn’t shy about reciprocating either, per MMAJunkie.com.

“I think if I tried to like him, it wouldn’t work out,” Bonnar said. “They’d put us together, (and) everything that came out of his mouth would be like, ‘Agh, blarf. This guy’s an (expletive).'”

Amid the verbal barbs being fired in every direction, Ortiz made sure to reaffirm his commitment to excelling in the cage:

It was extremely difficult to predict how either combatant would fare in this particular fight due to the amount of variables involved. While Bonnar is two years Ortiz’s junior, nobody was quite sure how he would react to being out of the game for two years.

In addition to that, Bonnar entered Bellator 131 nursing a toe injury. He broke his toe just a few weeks prior to the bout but downplayed its significance, according to MMAWeekly.com (h/t Submission Radio):

I broke my toe a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t missed a work out. It just hurts. Tape it up and push through it and that’s how it’s always been. It’s really no problem. … I made it through the worst. Really, after you break the bone—whether it’s a little foot bone, a hand, or toe—those first few weeks after you break it, oh those are the worst. But after those two weeks, it just keeps getting better.

There is no telling how much that toe injury may have impacted Bonnar, but one can only assume that it made facing a difficult opponent that much tougher.

Nobody is going to feel sorry for Bonnar, though, and there is no question that Ortiz has little compassion. He was able to pull off the victory, and the circumstances surrounding it don’t matter much at this point.

Ortiz and Bonnar delivered with a hard-hitting affair Saturday night. Both men figure to be reaching the twilight of their respective careers soon, but their performance at Bellator 131 suggests that they can be key cogs for the company moving forward.

 

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Werdum vs. Hunt Results: Winner, Recap and Analysis from UFC 180

Fabricio Werdum took care of business as expected Saturday in Mexico City by defeating Mark Hunt to become the interim UFC Heavyweight champion at UFC 180, but it didn’t happen the way most would have expected.
After a shaky first round that saw him h…

Fabricio Werdum took care of business as expected Saturday in Mexico City by defeating Mark Hunt to become the interim UFC Heavyweight champion at UFC 180, but it didn’t happen the way most would have expected.

After a shaky first round that saw him hurt by a few hard  shots from Hunt, Werdum picked the perfect spot to land an immaculate flying knee to Hunt’s face.

The shot sent the Super Samoan to the mat. Werdum pounced and pounded out the fallen Australian. Referee Herb Dean called an end to the fight in the second round.

Hunt seemed to be dictating the pace and walking Werdum down, but the Brazilian set a trap and sprung on his opponent to claim the win and the interim title.

Vai Cavalo entered the fight as a heavy favorite, according to Odds Shark, and he made good on that advanced billing by getting past the Super Samoan to keep an eventual meeting with Cain Velasquez alive.

Werdum was initially supposed to take on Velasquez at UFC 180, but a knee injury knocked him out, per Marc Raimondi of FoxSports.com. Even without his headline opponent in the fold, the 37-year-old Brazilian star made the most of his revised matchup.

“I’m definitely a little disappointed and this will take a little bit from the fight, because Cain has such a big following there and support,” Werdum said. “It’s disappointing Cain won’t be there, but it’s still a historic, great event.”

While the fight likely ended up being a bit easier for Werdum than it would have been with Velasquez standing across from him, the main event change definitely impacted the star power of UFC 180 significantly.

The company did its best to sell Werdum vs. Hunt as a marquee bout, but Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter wasn’t buying it:

Although the fight may have been somewhat lacking in terms of drawing power, both Werdum and Hunt increased interest by being vocal in the media during the weeks leading up to their clash.

Hunt was especially boisterous despite entering UFC 180 with a pedestrian record of 10-8-1. Even as a substantial underdog, he announced his intention to stop his accomplished opponent, according to Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com:

Werdum was undeterred by the trash talk, though, and he made it clear that he had an all-business mentality regardless of his opponent, per UFC’s official Twitter account:

After defeating Hunt, Werdum now has five straight wins to his credit. An eventual clash with Velasquez seems inevitable, but the former champion has an uphill climb as he works his way back from a ruptured MCL.

That means Werdum may have to fight again before getting a crack at Velasquez, but that is most definitely the fight that MMA fans are waiting for.

As for Hunt, this may have marked the last big opportunity of the 40-year-old heavyweight’s career. He was unable to take full advantage of it, which means a precipitous fall down the card is likely.

Werdum and Hunt did everything they could to salvage UFC 180 by putting on a good show, but the predictable result prevented the event from living up to expectations.

 

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Aldo vs. Mendes 2 Results: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis

Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes locked horns for the second time Saturday at UFC 179, but the result was ultimately the same as Aldo retained the UFC featherweight title in front of his home fans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The judges all scored the fight 49-…

Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes locked horns for the second time Saturday at UFC 179, but the result was ultimately the same as Aldo retained the UFC featherweight title in front of his home fans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The judges all scored the fight 49-46, per Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole:

The 28-year-old Brazilian star improved his career record to 25-1, while Mendes fell to 16-2 in suffering his first loss since getting knocked out by Aldo nearly three years ago. Aldo’s unbeaten streak also grows to nearly nine years, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer:

Mendes started off the fight well, hitting Aldo with a nice left hook in the first. However, Aldo regained his composure and control of the bout. That round set the tone for what was a thrilling back-and-forth affair.

The fight nearly ended in the third, with Mendes connecting on a massive uppercut on Aldo that had the champion reeling. Aldo responded in kind with an uppercut of his own and attempted to end things right then and there, but Mendes avoided the danger.

The fourth round was Mendes’ best of the fight. He peppered Aldo with strikes but couldn’t find the combination that would put the champion out. The fifth was another close round, with each fighter getting some offense in. But Aldo didn’t make any major mistakes and sealed the victory.

Although there was quite a bit of time between their first and second fights, the bad blood between Aldo and Mendes didn’t wane at all. Shots were fired in both directions during the lead-up to the bout, although “Money” Mendes was largely the aggressor in that regard.

According to UFC on Fox, Mendes wasn’t shy about announcing his intentions prior to Saturday’s clash:

He even went so far as to suggest that Aldo would struggle to beat him due to recent changes in his personal life, per Damon Martin of FoxSports.com.

I think lately he’s just got a lot on his plate. He just got married and had a baby recently. Those two things are very, very time consuming. Those extra days you’d be spending those extra hours in the gym, now he’s rushing home to be with his wife and baby. So those extra hours that he’s missing out on, those are the hours I’m putting in, in the gym. … I think I’ve caught up and passed him up. I truly believe this is my time. We’ve seen his reign for a while, but I’ve studied him, I’ve fought him. I truly believe it’s my turn.

In addition to criticizing Aldo as a fighter, Mendes also bashed him in the media for a perceived lack of effort regarding the promotion of their encounter at UFC 179, according to Mike Bohn of USA Today:

Rather than sitting idly by, Aldo decided to fight fire with fire. The Brazilian champion had bragging rights after beating his American opponent decisively in 2012, and he made it clear that he didn’t believe Mendes has improved significantly since then, per Combate.com (h/t Fernando Arbex of BloodyElbow.com).

I see no difference in his game. He’s still the same person with the same game. He’s maybe more confident but there is nothing that I can see to tell: ‘Oh, the guy has a better striking now.’ No. He has never had a bout with a good striker and fought three rounds against him. In the cage we’ll see who evolved more.

With so much vitriol being spewed between two of the best fighters in the world, Marc Raimondi of FoxSports.com was one of many who eagerly anticipated their rematch:

Aldo and Mendes didn’t disappoint, but now that their bout has come and gone, the focus shifts toward where they each go from here.

The champion has already defeated many of the top contenders within the featherweight division, including Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar, Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung. That leaves controversial Irishman Conor McGregor as the next logical opponent.

It has long been assumed that McGregor would fight the winner of this contest, and Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter views it as a virtual lock:

If that is the case, then Mendes will likely have to work his way back through the ranks against the likes of Edgar, Lamas and other skilled featherweights.

Perhaps Mendes will get another shot at Aldo or even a match against McGregor down the line, but Aldo definitely proved Saturday that he is still the king of the featherweight division.

 

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Johnson vs. Cariaso Results: Winner, Recap and Analysis

Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson entered his UFC 178 bout with Chris Cariaso as a massive favorite, and Mighty Mouse didn’t disappoint as he successfully defended his title via second-round submission.
UFC on Fox tweeted the result:

The reigning …

Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson entered his UFC 178 bout with Chris Cariaso as a massive favorite, and Mighty Mouse didn’t disappoint as he successfully defended his title via second-round submission.

UFC on Fox tweeted the result:

The reigning champion took control of the fight from the outset. His ability to dictate the fight whether standing, in the clinch or on the mat showed he was the better fighter from the start. The flurry that rocked Cariaso at the end of the first round showed Mighty Mouse could finish it.

The second round was all about domination in the grappling department for Johnson. From the outset he was able to take the challenger to the ground and do what he wanted. After landing some ground-and-pound from the crucifix, the champion added the submission victory to his record via kimura.

The 28-year-old Johnson improved his career record to 21-2-1 and hasn’t lost since falling to Dominick Cruz nearly three years ago. Cariaso, on the other hand, is now 17-6 and unlikely to receive another title shot in the immediate future.

This win also marks Johnson’s fifth successful title defense since becoming the inaugural UFC flyweight champion. He is quickly becoming one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

There wasn’t much belief among MMA pundits that Cariaso had a legitimate shot to win on Saturday. He was on a bit of a roll with three straight wins entering the fight, but Greg Savage of Sherdog.com didn’t view him as a true threat:

That feeling was ultimately confirmed, but Johnson made it clear prior to the fight that he didn’t intend to take the underdog lightly. According to Bleacher Report’s Duane Finley, Johnson was extremely complimentary of his opponent before their encounter.

He is a good matchup, and Chris (Cariaso) is a tough guy. He always comes to fight and is a very durable guy. He’s able to take a lot of punishment and is always game. He’s always up to fight, and I think it is going to be a good one. My camp and I are prepared, and we are ready to go out there and fight.

Cariaso didn’t exactly offer up the same level of respect. In fact, Kamikaze dismissed his underdog status and insisted that he would take it to the champion, per Marc Raimondi of FoxSports.com.

“He’s going to get dominated,” Cariaso said. “Everybody has always been beatable. Looking at Mighty Mouse, yeah he’s been dominant in his last couple of fights, but I definitely see holes in his game, and I definitely think he’s beatable.”

Perhaps Johnson is beatable, but Cariaso simply didn’t have the tools necessary to get the job done. This fight was his big break; however, he’ll have to make way for a new challenger the next time Johnson puts the title on the line.

Johnson has taken on and defeated all comers during his run as flyweight champ. According to UFC.com, John Dodson, Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall are the next three in line for a shot at the title, but Johnson has already defeated all of them.

He has also beaten No. 5 John Moraga, so it is possible that No. 4 Jussier Formiga could be an option. Cariaso has already lost to Formiga, so that bout would make sense to some degree.

Regardless of who Johnson faces next, it is safe to assume that he will be a significant favorite. Much like Jon Jones has dominated the UFC light heavyweight division, Johnson is starting to do the same in the flyweight ranks.

Even if nobody can pose a legitimate threat to Johnson’s crown, he has quickly developed into one of UFC’s top fighters due to his transcendent ability. Cariaso experienced it firsthand at UFC 178, and he will hardly be the last.

 

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Alvarez vs. Cerrone Results: Winner, Recap and Analysis

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s ascent up the lightweight ranks continued Saturday night with an impressive unanimous decision victory over UFC newcomer Eddie Alvarez at UFC 178.
MMA Junkie tweeted the scores for the fight:

After an extended feeling out pe…

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s ascent up the lightweight ranks continued Saturday night with an impressive unanimous decision victory over UFC newcomer Eddie Alvarez at UFC 178.

MMA Junkie tweeted the scores for the fight:

After an extended feeling out period for both fighters highlighted by leg kicks, Alvarez showed the explosiveness that created the hype surrounding his debut. The former Bellator champion rocked Cerrone with a flurry of dirty boxing.

But putting away a veteran contender like Cerrone is not an easy task. Cowboy not only survived the flurry, but rebounded to mount some offense as the first frame came to its conclusion.

Round 2 opened with Cerrone maintaining the distance and utilizing leg and body kicks to seize the momentum. With Alvarez lead left leg clearly affected by Cerrone’s kicks, Alvarez looked to take the fight to the mat, but was unsuccessful.

With each fighter seemingly claiming a round, the final round provided the stage for a dash to the finish. Neither fighter failed to live up to their end of the bargain. Despite apparent limited motion due to the leg kicks Alvarez put together some combinations, but it was once again Cowboy who was able to land the more impressive strikes.

With 1:30 left in the final frame another leg kick from Cerrone buckled Alvarez and finish the fight with top control.

Alvarez made quite a name for himself at 155 pounds with Bellator, but some were skeptical about his ability to make the transition to a higher level of competition. The Silent Assassin was thrown into the fire immediately and ran into a buzz saw in the form of Cerrone.

The Alvarez vs. Cerrone encounter was one of the most highly anticipated fights in quite some time. Both combatants have a penchant for exciting the crowd, and they didn’t disappoint in that regard. According to UFC Tonight, Alvarez knew what he was getting himself into when he signed up to fight Cerrone:

While Alvarez was stepping into a difficult situation against someone as aggressive as Cerrone, it was a high-reward fight for both men with the winner potentially getting a future shot at the UFC Lightweight title in the near future.

Cerrone represents a rare breed of fighter, which is likely why much of the focus was on him prior to Saturday’s event. The 31-year-old star doesn’t hesitate to fight anyone put in front of him, and he competes far more frequently than any other top fighter.

As pointed out by TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, the Alvarez fight marked Cerrone’s ninth in a little over two years:

Alvarez entered Saturday’s bout as the fresher fighter having competed just thrice in the same amount of time that saw Cerrone fight on nine occasions. That is clearly a routine that works for Cerrone, though, as he didn’t appear to be worn out whatsoever.

Cerrone also isn’t much for strategy or game planning. Prior to UFC 178, Cerrone even admitted to Damon Martin of FoxSports.com that he had never previously seen an Alvarez fight.

I’m familiar with him. I’ve never seen the guy fight, which is crazy I know. I hear that all the time ‘you’ve never seen him fight?’ The only video I’ve seen of Eddie is this little pre-clip they showed for the fight. That’s it. I haven’t Googled him, I don’t care. On my radar? Not really. I don’t give a (expletive). Just whoever they give me.

Cerrone has had a lot of success with that care-free attitude, and it worked to his advantage yet again at UFC 178. Perhaps Cerrone was playing coy to create the illusion that he wasn’t worried about Alvarez. Regardless of his true motivations, Cerrone was obviously well prepared. 

 

Alvarez is now 0-1 in UFC and 25-4 overall. He was the Bellator Lightweight champion before moving up to UFC, so the 30-year-old native of Philadelphia knows what it takes to win gold, but he’ll now have to wait his turn in line behind Cerrone and others.

Conversely, the win makes Cerrone to 25-6 with one no contest. It also extends a five-fight winning streak that has him on track to potentially get a rematch with Anthony Pettis should he defeat Gilbert Melendez later in the year.

If nothing else, this fight proves that the lightweight division may very well be the crown jewel of UFC. There are so many viable contenders capable of putting on fight of the year candidates on any given night. Alvarez and Cerrone are two of the best in that regard, and they will continue to anchor pay-per-views for a long time to come.

 

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Weidman vs. Machida Results: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis

Chris Weidman continued his impressive run through the best competition MMA has to offer, as he successfully retained his UFC Middleweight Championship Saturday against Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 via unanimous decision.
MMA Junkie tweeted out the result…

Chris Weidman continued his impressive run through the best competition MMA has to offer, as he successfully retained his UFC Middleweight Championship Saturday against Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 via unanimous decision.

MMA Junkie tweeted out the result:

Round 1 of the title fight came and went without too much action. While Machida appeared content to sit back in his karate stance and wait on Weidman, The All-American’s leg and body kicks were the only thing to stand out in the round.

As the fight progressed into the second, it appeared that it would be the same song and dance until Weidman scored a takedown with just under a minute left. The Dragon would ultimately make his way back to the feet but not before the champion scored some ground-and-pound.

Although Machida showed more signs of life in the second round, the third round would be much more in the champion’s favor. After securing a takedown early in the round, he also tagged Machida multiple times in the stand-up department. With Machida’s face bloodied and battered, Weidman once again went to work on the ground.

But defending the belt against a contender like Machida is never easy. Weidman’s first career fourth round was a difficult one, as The Dragon rallied behind a clean left hand that stunned Weidman and opened up more and more scoring opportunities as the round carried on.

Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report noted the apparent exhaustion of Weidman:

The fifth and final frame gave fans fireworks as both combatants looked to earn the finish. However, it was Weidman who highlighted the round with a timely takedown that appeared to have sealed the round for the champion.

Weidman entered the fight as the favorite after defeating UFC legend Anderson Silva twice. Weidman proved that he isn’t a flash in the pan by beating another of the biggest names the sport has ever seen.

The All-American improved his perfect record to 12-0 and continued to establish himself as the class of the middleweight division. The 36-year-old Machida put up a fight, but he had a difficult time keeping up with a younger and sprier opponent.

For Weidman, this win is very much about validation. While it isn’t quite fair to say that his wins over Silva were considered a fluke by some, there were definitely reservations regarding his status as an elite fighter. 

According to Mark La Monica of New York Newsday, Weidman set out to prove that he deserved that designation, and that is precisely what he did.

After becoming champion and then beating Anderson Silva a second time, a hundred percent I had to change my mindset. But it happened naturally, right away.

All these new goals started coming up inside me, boiling up to where instantly I had something else to search for and I wasn’t able to feel comfortable with what I’ve already accomplished. I moved on to “I have to dominate everyone in my weight class.”

This next fight, I want to set myself apart from everyone else, let everybody know that I’m going to be the guy here for a while.

With Weidman looking for respect, and Machida hoping to knock off the fastest-rising star in MMA, there was plenty to like about this fight going in. Although the bout seemingly wasn’t as hyped as most, those within the sport knew that it would be a good one.

Fighter Cathal Pendred pointed to Weidman vs. Machida as the fight to watch during a stacked week of MMA action:

Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter echoed those sentiments as well:

While there is no question that Machida entered Saturday’s contest with confidence based on everything he has accomplished over the course of his career, he was well aware of the caliber of opponent he was about to face, per Marc Raimondi of FoxSports.com.

“There’s no doubt he’s the champion,” Machida said. “He’s the best there is in the weight class right now. He won those fights. You can’t take away those merits.”

Machida learned firsthand just how good Weidman really was as the 30-year-old champion was able to take down yet another big name. With several massive victories in a row now on his resume, it is difficult for anyone to call Weidman a fluke at this point.

From Machida’s perspective, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. He is still capable of competing with some of the very best fighters in the world, but he is getting up there in age, and there is no doubt that retirement will become a hot topic.

Weidman has no such worries. Intriguing contenders will line up to get a shot at him, with Vitor Belfort potentially leading the way. Belfort was originally supposed to take on Weidman rather than Machida, but the banning of testosterone replacement therapy caused the can to be kicked down the road since Belfort was a beneficiary of that, according to Damon Martin of FoxSports.com.

Beating a guy like Belfort would be another feather in Weidman’s cap, but doing so won’t be easy if UFC decides to go in that direction. It is a fight that fans would unquestionably love to see, though, especially after Weidman proved his worth at UFC 175.

 

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