Will Bellator and Eagle FC make the Fedor – JDS fight happen?

Fedor Emelianenko

This past Friday night, Eagle FC hosted their 47th event. One of the key observers of the event was Bellator president Scott Coker. In the main event, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos (21-10) was taking on Yorgan De Castro (9-3).

Why was Bellator and Scott Coker watching closely? Well, they were tuning in to see how Junior Dos Santos looked. They wanted to see him look good and pick up a win to potentially set up a big time matchup against Fedor Emelianenko (40-6).

The Last Emperor is nearing retirement and Bellator has been trying to figure out who to book him against for his retirement fight. Eagle FC founder and fellow Russian MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov floated the idea of a co-promotional fight featuring Fedor and JDS.

The idea was well received by Scott Coker. JDS was looking great on Friday night against De Castro. His speed looked very good and he was doing an excellent job working his kicks in with his tremendous boxing. He looked like he was going to cruise to a decision win.

However, the third round saw everything go up in smoke. Dos Santos was stalking De Castro and threw a right straight. When he landed, he landed on the forearm of De Castro. Immediately, his shoulder popped out of place and the fight was called off. JDS lost by injury TKO.

Is the Eagle FC – Bellator fight dead?

After the event concluded, Khabib Nurmagomedov said that he still thinks JDS – Fedor is the fight to make. He believes that what happened shouldn’t deter Bellator from being interested in making the fight considering how the fight went down.

Dos Santos was looking better than he had in a very long time. Yes, I know the opponent was Yorgan De Castro, but I was impressed. Considering the Bellator roster, I think JDS might be the best fight for Fedor. Roy Nelson has tried to throw his name in there, but come on. Nobody is really clamoring for that fight.

JDS is arguably the biggest name Fedor can fight and with a legend like Fedor, his last fight needs to be big. I think Scott Coker and Bellator are still very interested in the fight. The only other fight that could be made is letting Fedor fight for the title against Ryan Bader which is what Fedor wants more than anything.

I think the next month or two are going to be interesting, but either way, we should know who Fedor is facing at the end of the year soon.

Scott Coker’s comments after Bellator 281 and judging in MMA

This past Friday at Bellator 281, the interim welterweight title was on the line. One of the more exciting fighters in the division, Michael “Venom” Page (20-2), was seeking to become interim champion as he took on Logan Storley (14-1).

Both men came into Bellator 281 riding winning streaks. For MVP, he had won six fights in a row after suffering his only career loss to Douglas Lima. Meanwhile, Storley came into the contest riding a two-fight winning streak after losing his first career bout to Yaroslav Amosov.

Speaking of Amosov, the undisputed Bellator champion was supposed to face MVP last Friday. However, he’s currently working to defend his home of Ukraine from oncoming Russian invasions. As a result, Storley stepped in to face MVP for the interim title.

This was a classic striker versus wrestler matchup. Unfortunately, there are times where these kind of matchups generate an extremely boring affair and that is what happened at Bellator 281. When the fight was on the feet, MVP was able to land some solid shots that got the crowd excited.

However, the majority of the fight saw Storley shooting in for takedowns and holding MVP in place. After five rounds, the fight went to the scorecards. Storley was able to secure a solid amount of takedowns, but he never did anything with them. He more just held MVP in place and did zero damage.

With that, there were a lot of questions regarding how the decision would go. In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight and the Bellator interim welterweight title to Logan Storley. MVP suffered his second career loss and the fans were not thrilled with the headliner.

Bellator 281 Fallout

Someone else who didn’t seem thrilled with the headliner was Bellator president Scott Coker. Coker had his post-fight press conference and he seemed uncharacteristically annoyed by the results of the main event at Bellator 281. Coker is normally a guy who doesn’t show a ton of emotion.

Quite the opposite of UFC president Dana White. However, Coker couldn’t hold his tongue after this one. “Honestly, I thought that MVP won that fight,” Coker said. He continued, “You can’t just lay on somebody. You’re not doing any damage, you’re not getting closer to a submission, you’re not creating any threat. You’re just laying on somebody — and to me, that’s not MMA.”

It was honestly a breath of fresh air to hear that from Coker after Bellator 281 and I think it sheds a light on a greater issue with MMA and scoring. Right now, I think there’s too much credit given to fighters who just land takedowns and do nothing with them.

Not trying to disrespect the great wrestlers in the sport, but this is not wrestling, this is MMA. You’re supposed to use wrestling to secure a dominant position then look for ways to inflict damage or secure a submission. In the case of the new interim Bellator champion, he did nothing. He just secured a takedown and laid there.

A change in philosophy?

In cases like this, I would actually lean towards scoring a round for the guy on the bottom if the guy on the bottom was pulling a Tony Ferguson and throwing a lot of elbows. Takedowns are a big part of scoring, but they have to mean something and I think it needs to be addressed.

Not sure if things are going to change, but if so, wrestlers are going to have to adapt. Bellator 281 was a classic example of how judging shouldn’t be done. Logan Storley won a wrestling match, but can we honestly say that he won the fight?

What are your thoughts on the topic?

Bellator 280 Main Event Preview: Ryan Bader – Cheick Kongo

Ryan Bader

On Friday, Bellator lands in Paris and they are bringing a heavyweight title fight for the main event. The heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (29-7, 1 NC) will look to defend his title against Paris’ own Cheick Kongo (31-11-2, 1 NC).

It’s crazy to think about this but Kongo has been with Bellator since 2013. Almost nine years with the promotion and he’s getting another crack at the heavyweight title. His last shot at the title also came against Ryan Bader in 2019 at Bellator 226.

That fight was ruled a No Contest after an accidental eye poke. Overall, Kongo is 9-1, 1 NC in his last eleven fights leading up to this main event and title shot at Bellator 280 in Paris.

Ryan Bader is back and he’s seeking another successful defense of his title at Bellator 280. The last time we saw him was at Bellator 273 earlier this year when he won by decision over Valentin Moldavsky.

Bader came into the at fight on a stretch that saw him go 1-2. However, all three fights came at light heavyweight. Bader just signed a new deal with the promotion and he plans on fighting exclusively at heavyweight to finish out his career.

Bellator 280 Prediction

In terms of Friday’s main event at Bellator 280, it’s a tough one. It’s tough for a few reasons. On paper, Ryan Bader should be the clear cut favorite to retain his title. He’s younger, he’s faster, and he has much better wrestling.

However, we’ve seen Bader’s chin look a little weak at times lately. Kongo still packs a helluva punch and if he lands the right shot, I think he can become the Bellator heavyweight champion in front of his home country.

However, I think that scenario is not extremely likely. I think Bader is going to use his standup to mainly setup his wrestling in this fight. Expect Bader to go for multiple takedowns and take this fight down.

To me, it’s not a question on who wins and who loses. The question is how will Bader retain is Bellator title? Will he finish Kongo with ground and pound or will he grind out a decision. I tend to lean towards the latter with watching Bader as of late.

Prediction: Ryan Bader by Decision

Bellator Match Maker: Kyoji Horiguchi – Juan Archuleta

Kyoji Horiguchi

Last weekend at Bellator 279, we saw the Bantamweight Grand Prix kick off with two tremendous matchups. In one of those matchups, the interim bantamweight championship was on the line as former champion Juan Archuleta (25-4) took on Raufeon Stots (18-1).

Archuleta was looking to regain a piece of the Bellator title after losing it to Sergio Pettis. However, Pettis’ teammate Stots had different plans. After going back and forth through the first couple of rounds, Stots ended things quickly in the third with a head kick.

Earlier on in the Bellator 279 card, another former champion returned. That former champion was Kyoji Horiguchi (29-5) and he was taking on grappling expert Patchy Mix (16-1). Horiguchi was coming off of a loss to Sergio Pettis where he was dominating before getting knocked out.

This fight was going to come down to where it took place. Horiguchi needed to keep things standing as he was the much sharper fighter and had much better speed. He showed that at Bellator 279 when there were striking exchanges.

However, in three of the rounds, Mix was able to land takedowns and control the majority of the rounds. For that reason, the judges gave the fight to Mix 48-47 across the board and handed Horiguchi has second straight loss.

Bellator Match Maker

Prior to Bellator 279, the only two men in the tournament to have held gold were Horiguchi and Archuleta. Now, both men are out of the tournament before it reached the semifinals and now they need a new opponent.

See where I’m going with this? To me, the next matchup for Bellator is very easy to make. The move is to pair the former champions against each other with the winner staying relevant in the title picture despite being out of the Grand Prix.

Horiguchi has never lost two consecutive fights in his career. Now, the former Bellator champion has and his back is against the wall. Archuleta has also lost two consecutive fights for the first time in his career.

Both of these former Bellator champions need a win and both will be desperate for one. That should translate to an excellent fight and it’s the one the promotion should look to make.

Where the Bantamweight Grand Prix stands after Bellator 279

This past weekend, we saw the first round of matchups in the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix. Two fighters punched their tickets to the semifinal round and an alternate punched his ticket to a quarterfinal matchup.

Things got started at Bellator 278 on Friday night when Danny Sabatello (12-1) took on Jornel Lugo. Sabatello was able to put on a great performance and he also got an A+ in terms of his post-fight promo.

His decision victory punched his ticket to the quarterfinals where he will meet Leandro Higo in June. Then, the action turned to Saturday night where we saw the biggest matchups of the weekend at Bellator 279.

Kicking things off was a matchup between Patchy Mix (16-1) and Kyoji Horiguchi (29-5). Horiguchi was coming off of a brutal loss to Sergio Pettis where it looked like he had the bantamweight title won. After dominating three and a half rounds, Horiguchi was caught with a spinning backfist.

Given his long track record of success, I really liked him to advance at Bellator 279. However, Patchy Mix had other plans. Mix was able to land takedowns in three rounds and secure top position long enough to secure the rounds. In the end, all three judges gave him the fight 48-47.

Bellator’s New Interim Champion

Following that matchup, we saw the interim title on the line between Raufeon Stots (18-1) and former bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (25-4). Originally, Stots was supposed to face Sergio Pettis for the undisputed bantamweight title at Bellator 279.

However, Pettis tore his ACL and was forced out of the Grand Prix. That’s how this interim title came to be. Stots looked tremendous in this matchup, but Archuleta was able to hold his own until the third round.

In the third round, Stots landed a big headkick which floored Archuleta. A few follow up elbows led to the referee stopping the fight and awarding the Bellator interim bantamweight championship to Raufeon Stots.

Here is where things currently stand after this past weekend:

In terms of who should be favored moving forward, I don’t know how you don’t bet on Raufeon Stots. Outside of a quick spinning backfist loss to Merab Dvalishvili years ago, Stots has been perfect in his professional career.

He continues to look better and better and I don’t see anyone stopping him from winning this Bellator Grand Prix. If I was to predict the finals, I would say that we are heading for a matchup between Stots and Patchy Mix with the winner lining up to welcome back Sergio Pettis.

Cris Cyborg a free agent after Bellator 279 title defense; Where will she end up?

This past Saturday night in the main event of Bellator 279, the women’s featherweight title was on the line. One of the greatest of all time Cris Cyborg (26-2) was defending her title for the second time against the very tough Arlene Blencowe (15-9).

The two had previously fought at Bellator 249 with Cyborg getting the second round submission. It looked like this fight was going to end in a stoppage as well, but Blencowe wasn’t going to go out easy.

In the first half of the fight, Cyborg brutally dropped Blencowe with a right hand. The fight looked close to being stopped but Blencowe held on. She was able to hold on and take all the punishment that Cyborg dished out.

Not only was she able to take it, she came back and won a round at Bellator 279. While it might not sound like much, winning a round was a big win for Blencowe overall in the grand scheme of things. That being said, it was a runaway win for Cyborg and another successful title defense.

What’s next after Bellator 279?

With her victory on Saturday at Bellator 279, Cyborg officially hits the free agent market. Her first deal with the promotion comes to a close and she went 5-0 during this run which included winning the featherweight title and defending the belt four times.

That being said, she’s going to be open to suitors and she made it clear that she wants the biggest fights for her fans. Let’s address the biggest promotion in the room and that’s the UFC. Cyborg was the UFC featherweight champion before getting knocked out by Amanda Nunes.

Her and Dana White don’t have the greatest relationship and it’s really hard to see Cyborg going back. However, the UFC has done difficult deals in the past and if they could resign Tito Ortiz a couple of times, a Cyborg deal could get done. However, the Bellator champion is unlikely to return.

In my opinion, this is a two-horse race. This is going to come down to Bellator and PFL. When PFL resigned Kayla Harrison, they made a promise to her that they would do everything they can to get her a massive fight for her legacy.

That massive fight would be a showdown with Cyborg. The potential fight with Cyborg is why she almost signed with Bellator in the first place. With the incentive to build that massive fight, I think PFL is going to come strong with a big offer.

However, Bellator won’t go easy and I see them making a huge offer to retain Cyborg. Cyborg is also very happy with Bellator and has a great relationship with Scott Coker. If I was to make a guess today, I would say she resigns and stays with Bellator. However, it’s going to be interesting to watch.

Fallout after Bellator 278: Will Juliana Velasquez get an immediate rematch?

Last night in the main event of Bellator 278, the women’s flyweight title was on the line. Juliana Velasquez (12-1) was looking to defend her title against veteran Liz Carmouche (17-7) who was getting her fourth chance at a world championship.

Throughout Carmouche’s career, she’s made it close to the mountain top. However, she’s never fully climbed up and grabbed the title having gone 0-3 in her three attempts to capture a UFC title. This was her first opportunity to capture gold with Bellator.

Through the first three rounds of the fight, it looked like she was going to come up short once again. Velasquez was controlling the fight and she was really getting the better of the exchanges throughout. After three rounds, she was winning 30-27 on all three judges scorecards at Bellator 278.

In the fourth round, Carmouche was able to secure a dominant position on the ground. She worked her way into a mounted crucifix position in the final minute of the round. With 20 seconds left, she started throwing elbows at Velasquez.

Referee Mike Beltran took a close look and decided to jump in. Velasquez immediately showed frustration in protest while Liz Carmouche was celebrating winning the Bellator flyweight championship.

Fallout of Bellator 278

First and foremost, as someone who has followed and covered the sport for a long time, I’m very happy for Liz Carmouche. It was so great seeing her finally get the championship she had been working so hard for. However, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Was the stoppage at Bellator 278 a good one. The answer to that question is emphatically no. It was a terrible stoppage and I think universally people would agree that Mike Beltran made a mistake in stopping the fight when he did.

Yes, Carmouche was landing good shots. However, none of the shots were doing any real damage to Velasquez and she wasn’t in that position very long. We’ve seen referees let the crucifix position go on for a while before stopping it.

Beltran stopped the fight as if Velasquez was out. The quick trigger on the stoppage is likely going to lead to Bellator booking an immediate rematch. While I’m happy for Carmouche, you have to feel for Velasquez who had control of the fight and saw her title and 0 taken away by a premature stoppage.

The video to the stoppage is below. What do you think?

Bellator 279 Preview: Will Juan Archuleta or Raufeon Stots become interim bantamweight champion?

Juan Archuleta

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 279, the Bantamweight Grand Prix will officially kick off. In the co-main event the interim bantamweight championship is on the line as former bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (25-3) as he takes on Raufeon Stots (17-1).

Now, originally Stots was supposed to face off against teammate and reigning Bellator champion Sergio Pettis. However, Pettis tore his ACL which forced him to withdrawal from the fight and the Grand Prix. Thus, we have this interim title fight.

Now, Stots takes on the man who Pettis beat for the title. Stots has been sensational since joining Bellator back in 2019. He’s been perfect at 5-0 and overall he’s won nine fights in a row leading up to tomorrow night.

However, he’s facing his toughest test to date in Juan Archuleta. Like Stots, Juan Archuleta has been sensational since joining Bellator. After signing back in 2018, he’s gone 7-2 which included capturing the bantamweight title.

His two losses have come against Sergio Pettis and at featherweight against Patricio Pitbull. He’s one of the best in the promotion for a reason and he’s ready to get back to the Bellator title tomorrow night.

Bellator 279 Prediction

I love this matchup and I think the two bantamweight fights are the true headliners for tomorrow night’s Bellator card. Raufeon Stots might be the best bantamweight in the promotion.

His wrestling and overall skillset is something to watch. He’s truly sensational with the pace that he can put on guys and his combination of speed and technique is fun to watch. His lone loss was due to a spinning backfist where he got caught. Outside of getting caught that one time, he’s been dominant his whole career.

However, claiming the interim Bellator title is not going to be an easy task. Juan Archuleta has tremendous skills and he’s very good on the feet. He trains with one of the best in the world in TJ Dillashaw and he’s going to be prepared for tomorrow night.

One thing we know about Juan Archuleta is that he’s battle tested and can go five rounds. We haven’t had to see that from Stots in his Bellator career. That might play a factor tomorrow night just like it did when Archuleta fought Patchy Mix.

However, I think this fight goes down differently. I think that Stots bags the first three rounds before the final two get very competitive. In the end, this goes to the scorecards and Stots has his crowning moment becoming Bellator’s interim bantamweight champion.

Prediction: Raufeon Stots by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 279 Preview: Kyoji Horiguchi – Patchy Mix

Kyoji Horiguchi

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 279, the Bantamweight Grand Prix will kick off. One of the featured bouts pairs former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4) against former title challenger Patchy Mix (15-1).

Out of all the opening matchups of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix, this is the one I’m the most excited for. In one corner, you have the former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi.

Horiguchi won the Bellator title back in 2019 and then vacated the belt. He returned to Bellator in December to try and win it back against Sergio Pettis. Horiguchi was dominating Pettis through three rounds. However, he was caught with spinning back fist in the fourth round and lost by KO.

Now, he’s looking to get back on track. Standing in his way is the grappling phenom Patchy Mix. Last time we saw Mix was back at Bellator 270 when he submitted James Gallagher in the third round of their fight.

Mix has won back-to-back fights since losing in his title fight against Juan Archuleta. This is a really tough fight for Mix, but if he can win, he will prove that he’s going to be a very tough out in the Bellator Grand Prix.

Bellator 279 Prediction

To me, this is going to be one of those fights that’s decided based on where it takes place. Let me be clear, Kyoji Horiguchi is one of the best fighters in the world, not just in Bellator.

He was walking through Sergio Pettis prior to getting clipped in December. Outside of that loss, he only has two other defeats since 2012. One was to Kai Asakura, a loss he’s already avenged, and the other was to arguably the greatest of all time in Demetrious Johnson.

Patchy Mix is insanely dangerous on the ground. If this Bellator 279 contest hits the mat, Mix can win by submission. However, I think we are going to see a lot of striking and it’s hard for me to see Mix outstriking Horiguchi.

Mix will hold his own, but I expect Horiguchi to get the win here. Too much skill and I think he shows tomorrow night why he should be the favorite to win this Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.

Prediction: Kyoji Horiguchi by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 279 Preview: Is there any chance Cyborg loses her title?

Tomorrow night in the main event of Bellator 279, one of the greatest female fighters of all time returns to defend her title. Reigning featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (25-2) is back as she takes on Arlene Blencowe (15-8).

This fight is a rematch from 2020 when these two headlined Bellator 249. That night, Cyborg rolled through Blencowe on her way to picking up the second round submission. It was actually the first submission win in the career of Cyborg.

Since losing in her first title fight against Cyborg, Blencowe has looked solid. She’s fought twice most recently at Bellator 271 in November when she picked up a decision win over Pam Sorenson.

Cyborg has also fought twice since the first time her and Blencowe fought. She also last fought at Bellator 271 when she knocked out Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh in the first round with a vicious right hook to defend her title.

Bellator 279 Prediction

The odds on this main event are extremely lopsided and they should be. Since they first fought at Bellator 249, I haven’t really seen enough from Blencowe that would lead me to believe that she’s the one to defeat Cyborg.

Cyborg has ran through every opponent that she’s fought in Bellator. Her contract is coming up and I really don’t see her losing this fight as she prepares to re-enter the free agent market.

Wherever Cyborg wants this fight to be, she’s going to take it there. Blencowe has very solid standup, but she’s at a huge power and speed disadvantage. Those advantages for Cyborg are so overwhelming that I just don’t see how Blencowe gets through them.

Cyborg is going to finish this fight quickly and retain her Bellator title. The storyline after this fight will not be the performance, it will be what comes next after her dominant victory.

Prediction: Cris Cyborg by TKO – Round 1