Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson knocks out Jose Augusto at Bellator 258

Anthony Rumble Johnson

In the co-main event of Bellator 258, we saw the final quarter-final matchup in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson (22-6) was making his promotional debut against Jose Augusto (7-2, 1 NC).

Originally, Rumble was set to take on Yoel Romero in the co-main event tonight. However, Romero didn’t pass the pre-fight medicals and as a result, he was pulled off of Bellator 258.

The promotion decided to move forward with the Grand Prix and Jose Augusto got the call. Augusto just fought and won a month ago and he trains under the Pitbull brothers.

Augusto just made his Bellator debut back and April and he seemed more than ready to take on the challenge of Rumble Johnson. This is the first fight for Rumble Johnson in four years. The last time we saw him was at UFC 210 when he lost for the second time to Daniel Cormier.

Daniel Cormier is the only man to defeat Rumble in his last fourteen fights. Rumble was released from his UFC contract and signed an exclusive deal with Bellator. His debut was one of the more hyped Bellator debuts in recent memory. He was looking to make quick work of Jose Augusto tonight.

Bellator 258 Recap

Round 1

The Bellator 258 co-main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Rumble immediately takes the center of the cage and starts working his feints. A big leg kick from Rumble is countered by a 1-2 from Augusto.

Another good leg kick lands for Rumble. Rumble putting some pressure on Augusto and he throws a good push kick that backs Augusto up to the fence. Augusto tries to establish his jab, but he’s a bit out of range.

A really nice combination lands for Augusto. Augusto lands a right hand and you can tell he injured his hand. He tries to shake it out, but it’s clearly compromised. Rumble turns up the pressure afterwards.

Another right hand lands for Augusto, and he turns in pain. Rumble turns up the pressure and starts landing bombs, but Augusto isn’t backing down. A huge left hook lands for Augusto and down goes Rumble.

Incredible turn of events and Augusto is going for the finish. Rumble gets up and shoots for a takedown. Rumble lands the takedown as he tries to recover. The first round comes to a close and Rumble survives. 1-0 Augusto after one here at Bellator 258.

Round 2

Rumble definitely looked a little weary entering the second round at Bellator 258. He tries to start the striking with a leg kick, but he was a bit out of range. Augusto lands a good body kick to start his striking.

Solid lead left hook lands for Jose Augusto. Big left hook to the body lands for Augusto. Augusto is a one-handed fighter, but he’s winning the striking here. Nice jab lands for Augusto.

Rumble looking extremely tentative here in the second round. Then out of no where, a huge 1-2 lands from Rumble and Augusto is out. Rumble wins his Bellator debut by knockout.

Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson def. Jose Augusto by KO – Round 2

Bellator announces move to Showtime and Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Bellator MMA has been relatively quiet since the calendar moved over to 2021. However, they’ve been making big moves behind the scenes that would further the promotion’s vision in 2021.

Today, Bellator announced that they have agreed to a deal with Showtime and Showtime will now become the exclusive home for their events. Just last year, Bellator announced they had a deal with CBS Sports Network, but the Viacom promotion is shifting gears.

Showtime decided to get involved and both sides agreed that it would be best to move the promotion to Showtime. Bellator will also be moving their events back to Friday nights after a brief stint on Thursdays.

In addition to announcing the new deal with Showtime, Scott Coker announced some exciting news in terms of the light heavyweight division. By far, the light heavyweight division is the best that Bellator has to offer.

They made some huge signings in the last year and they are ready to capitalize. Coker announced today that Bellator would be starting a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix that will start on April 9th.

Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

The Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will kick off on April 9th. In the first quarter final matchup, Corey Anderson (14-5) will be taking on Bellator newcomer, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1).

Also on April 9th in the main event of the evening, Ryan Bader (27-6) will be taking on Lyoto Machida (26-10). Bader is the Bellator heavyweight champion and just lost his light heavyweight title last year to Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Of course, the matchup everyone wanted to see takes place on April 16th. Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) will battle it out. However, despite the hype behind this matchup, it will not serve as the main event on April 16th.

Instead, that honor will belong to the Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov. Nemkov will be competing in the tournament and defending his title against Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). An absolutely stacked field and fight fans should be very excited about this Grand Prix.

Corey Anderson says Bellator is better than the UFC at light heavyweight

Corey Anderson

2020 turned out to be an eventful year for Bellator‘s Corey Anderson (14-5). When the year started, Anderson was one of the top contenders in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He appeared to be one win away from a title shot.

However, Jan Blachowicz (27-8) starched Anderson in February to claim that top contender status. After Anderson was knocked out, he had a series of health concerns that kept him from competing. These health scares also had him reevaluate his career.

Anderson decided to go to the UFC and ask for more money. When the promotion wasn’t willing to, he asked for a release to be able to look around in the market. The UFC released Anderson and Bellator signed him almost immediately.

It turned out to be the first of several moves like this for Bellator. After signing Anderson, Bellator would go on to sign Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) after they were released from the UFC.

Those top three contenders join the likes of Vadim Nemkov (12-2), Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC), and Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). It’s safe to say that Bellator’s light heavyweight division has never been better.

In fact, it’s so good that Anderson believes it’s the best on the planet. Anderson told MMA Fighting, “I just feel right now Bellator has the upper hand. Jones has left. They’ve got these hype trains. These young guys UFC has coming in they’re trying to hype up but I feel like their legitimacy aren’t like the vets that were there that are in Bellator now.”

Bellator or the UFC?

If we are going to go on pure name recognition, it’s hard to argue Corey Anderson’s point. Bellator has some serious name power in their light heavyweight division. However, it is the best in the sport?

In all honesty, if you’re looking at the totality of their top five, it might be. The UFC’s top contender is Glover Teixeira (32-7) who was knocked out in 14 seconds by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Then again, there’s also Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) in the UFC’s top five. Prochazka stopped Bellator’s champion, Vadim Nemkov, when the two of them faced off a few years ago.

Another interesting wrinkle to throw into things is the light heavyweight debut of Israel Adesanya (20-0). Stylebender is fighting Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title in March.

Anderson definitely has an argument that Bellator is just as good if not better at 205 than the UFC. However, I believe the best light heavyweight in the world right now is Jan Blachowicz with Jon Jones moving up.

Overall, the UFC has a deeper division due to the amount of fighters on the roster and they have younger contenders. While Bellator is right there, I would still give the advantage to the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, the UFC.

Bold 2021 predictions for Bellator MMA

Patricio Pitbull Freire

2021 is already promising to be a massive year for Bellator MMA. The promotion made some major progress in 2020 despite having to shut down for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bellator put on some tremendous fights in 2020. However, it was their string of signings in the second half of the year that had the MMA world buzzing. Bellator really stacked their light heavyweight division.

Bellator added Yoel Romero (13-5), Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6), and Corey Anderson (14-5) to their light heavyweight division. All of the former top UFC contenders parted ways with the UFC this year.

As soon as they hit the open market, Bellator scooped them up. In doing so, the promotion has put together a light heavyweight division that is certainly capable of competing with the UFC’s light heavyweight division.

There are so many things to watch for with Bellator in 2021. I wanted to do some bold predictions for the promotion for what will happen in 2021. If these predictions come true, there are going to be some shocked MMA fans.

2021 Bellator Bold Predictions

Patricio Pitbull leaves 2021 without a title

For my first bold prediction I’m looking at Bellator’s two-division champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4). Pitbull is widely considered to be the best fighter that Bellator has on the roster. He’s arguably the best fighter in the promotion’s history.

He currently is the Bellator lightweight and featherweight champion. However, there has been whispers of him vacating the lightweight championship. Pitbull became the lightweight champion when he defeated Michael Chandler (21-5) in 2019.

However, Pitbull is small for the weight class. He mainly moved up to lightweight to challenge Chandler to avenge his brother’s (Patricky Pitbull) knockout loss to Chandler. He has yet to defend the lightweight championship.

I’m going to say that Patricio Pitbull vacates the Bellator lightweight championship to focus on featherweight. However, I think that this is going to be the year that Pitbull is dethroned at featherweight.

The most exciting prospect in Bellator is AJ McKee (17-0). The Mercenary has fought all seventeen of his professional fights under the Bellator banner. They’ve brought him along the right way and he’s on the verge of superstardom.

McKee has already earned a spot in the finals of Bellator’s featherweight Grand Prix. The other spot will go to the winner of the fight between Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4).

I believe that Pitbull is going to defeat Sanchez when they fight setting up a fight between him and McKee. I’m going to say that McKee not only wins the Bellator featherweight title, but finishes Patricio Pitbull. With that, cementing himself as the superstar that Bellator needs.

Vadim Nemkov remains the light heavyweight champion

As mentioned above, the Bellator light heavyweight division is completely stacked at the moment. All of those signings are incredibly exciting and I didn’t even mention the promotion’s light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Nemkov knocked out Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) to capture the Bellator light heavyweight championship back in August. Nobody has been able to stop Nemkov since he made his debut with the promotion in 2017.

With the additions made to the light heavyweight division, many are saying Nemkov will not leave 2021 as the champion. However, my bold prediction is that the belt stays with the Russian as we enter 2022.

As things currently stand, there are three front runners to face Nemkov whenever he defends his title. Those contenders being Corey Anderson, Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC), and a rematch with Bader.

Something tells me that Nemkov is just going to fight twice in 2021 with both of his fights coming from that group of three. Nemkov has already defeated Davis and Bader on his way to the title.

Corey Anderson is definitely a tough challenge, however, I think Nemkov can beat him. While everyone will want to see Anthony Johnson or Yoel Romero challenge for the Bellator title next year, I’m not convinced it happens.

Something tells me that Nemkov is going to have a rematch with Ryan Bader next. Scott Coker said that they are looking into this. I believe that Nemkov will beat Bader again to retain the Bellator title.

Perhaps on the same card, I believe we will see a matchup between Davis and Anderson as a title eliminator. I also see Nemkov defeating the winner of that fight. So my prediction is when all is said and done, Vadim Nemkov is still the light heavyweight champion after 2021.

Bellator’s Yoel Romero says there’s a 90% chance he fights Rumble Johnson in debut

Bellator has been making some waves with their recent signings in the light heavyweight division. Earlier this year, the promotion signed top UFC light heavyweight Corey Anderson to bolster their light heavyweight division.

Anderson was ranked fourth in the UFC prior to the Bellator signing. Then, out of no where, Bellator signed Anthony “Rumble” Johnson after he mutually parted ways with the UFC. This week, the promotion made another huge signing.

The UFC is cutting down their roster by the end of the year. One of the fighters who was let go is Yoel Romero. Romero’s release came as a surprise considering he just fought for the title back in February in his last fight.

However, the UFC decided it was time to move on from Romero. After initially not seeming interested, Bellator pounced on the opportunity to sign Yoel Romero. They finalized the deal this week and he will be fighting in the light heavyweight division.

Romero appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to talk about his move to Bellator. He talked about his first fight saying, “There’s a huge possibility, 90% chance that (Anthony “Rumble” Johnson) will be the first one.”

Bellator’s huge light heavyweight matchup

This is the biggest matchup Bellator can make with their new signings. Romero and Rumble are two of the most feared fighters in the world. Both are freaks of nature with incredible power in their hands.

Romero won a silver medal in the Olympics for wrestling, however, it’s his power and athleticism that has made him a star. Rumble Johnson is known for separating people from their senses. Just ask Glover Teixeira who didn’t last 14 seconds with Rumble.

Bellator has some serious momentum in their light heavyweight division at the moment. While their last three signings were all fighters who were released by the UFC, they are massive additions to their roster.

I’m not saying it is, but you can definitely make the argument that Bellator‘s light heavyweight division could compete with the UFC’s. It’s been a long time since anyone said they could compete with the UFC in any division.

What’s next for Thiago Santos after UFC Vegas 13

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 13, Thiago Santos (21-8) made his return after being out for well over a year due to knee injuries. Santos pushed Jon Jones to the limit in their title fight and he did it after tearing his knee up in the second round of their fight.

For that reason, many were excited to see the formal UFC title challenger return to action. The general thought was that he would be able to finish his opponent. His opponent was another former title challenger in 41 year old Glover Teixeira (32-7).

Teixeira has turned his UFC career completely around. The 41 year old was looking for his fifth straight victory inside the octagon. The fight started how most thought it would. A big Santos flurry wobbled Teixeira badly. However, the veteran maintained his composure and used his wrestling to get the fight down.

Santos really had no answer for the ground game of Teixeira. After that initial flurry, Teixeira went on to dominate the rest of the first and second rounds. Then, Santos floored Teixeira with a massive left hook to start the third. He appeared close to be finishing the fight.

Santos emptied the tanks looking for the finish, but Teixeira wouldn’t go away. Once again, Teixeira got Santos down, and got immediately to his back. Once there, Santos found himself in rear naked choke where he was forced to tap.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 13?

This was not the UFC return that Thiago Santos was looking for. There were moments in the fight were he looked sensational. However, those were outdone by his lack of defense on the ground and the wrestling skills of Glover Teixiera.

If Santos would have come out and stopped Teixeira in the first round, he would have made a really strong case for a title shot. However, now he must go back to the drawing board and look to improve for his next UFC outing.

In looking at the rankings, there are a couple of fights that could make sense for Santos. A fight with Aleksandar Rakic is one that I think a lot of people would be interested in. Or perhaps, Santos could welcome back Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in his next fight.