MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for June: A slugfest in Singapore

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best fights from June. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Fight of the Month” award for June.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

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The Nominees

Paulo Borrachinha def. Oluwale Bamgbose at UFC 212

For the first few minutes of their fight, Paulo Borrachinha (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) struggled just to keep up with the frenetic violence of Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC).

Once the storm subsided and Bamgbose slowed after the opening round, though, that’s when Borrachinha took over the middleweight fight. The Brazilian overwhelmed his exhausted opponent with a vast striking arsenal, earning the TKO early in the second round.

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Mark Hunt def. Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 110

A heavyweight fight between Mark Hunt (13-11-1 MMA, 8-5-1 UFC) and Derrick Lewis (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) that on paper looked like a slugfest turned into a battle of cardiovascular strength.

Hunt took Lewis’ best shots and dragged him into deep waters. “The Super Samoan” chased “The Black Beast” around the octagon, doling out repeated shots to the body and legs until Lewis tired and slumped in exhaustion for the TKO late in the fourth round.

Li Jingliang def. Frank Camacho at UFC Fight Night 111

Li Jingliang’s (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) leg kick game was on point in his welterweight fight with UFC newcomer Frank Camacho (20-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC), and in the end it helped reward him with a unanimous decision victory.

Jingliang absorbed some hard shots from Camacho in the opening round, but his durability and grit helped him get back into the fight in the latter rounds and take the victory on the scorecards.

Heather Hardy def. Alice Yauger at Bellator 180

The transition from pro boxing to MMA couldn’t have gone much better for Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who picked up a sensational third-round TKO of Alice Yauger (4-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA).

Hardy, who said she “fell in love” with MMA following the fight, had to overcome some early adversity and a nasty cut before she swarmed Yauger with strikes to earn the TKO late in the third round of the women’s flyweight affair.


Tony Martin def. Johnny Case at UFC Fight Night 112

If you didn’t know it was something of a grudge match before, all you had to do was listen to Tony Martin (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in the second round, informing Johnny Case (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) that he wasn’t going anywhere in between counter right hands to the face.

The result was a unanimous decision win for Martin, who outstruck a game Case and seized control of the lightweight fight down the stretch before claiming the win with scores of 29-28 across the board.

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The Winner: Li Jingling vs. Frank Camacho

Camacho clearly has power, as he displayed in the opening moments of his UFC debut, but Jingliang seemed to have the better conditioning and all-around game.

It ultimately led Jingliang to a come-from-behind win over late replacement Camacho.

Camacho displayed his big power with the first significant punch of the fight.

He followed with a few more punches that found their mark, and Jingliang was quickly on wobbly legs. Jingliang, though, survived, and he then peppered Camacho with low kicks and took his back late in the round.

In the second round, Jingliang immediately looked for takedowns. Camacho fought it off, so “The Leech” went back to low kicks. Camacho’s energy level took a noticeable dip, though, and then Jingliang found openings to land some power punches of his own. Although the strikes were sometimes wild, they were effective, and Jingliang seemed to even up the score heading into the final frame.

In the pivotal third round, Jingliang’s low kicks were taking a toll, and his counters were on point. As Camacho sucked in wind, Jingliang used the low kicks to set up punches and take control of the fight. Camacho’s durability was on display, but not much else was.

In the end, Jingliang got the victory via 29-27, 28-27 and 29-27 scores.

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Bellator 180 highlights: Ryan Bader edges Phil Davis for title; James Gallagher wrecks Chinzo Machida

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Check out the highlights from Saturday’s Bellator 180 card, which featured three fights and aired on Spike before the Bellator NYC pay-per-view main card.

In the featured prelim at Madison Square Garden in New York, Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) dropped the Bellator light-heavyweight title to Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) via split decision.

Additionally, brash Irish featherweight James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) ran through Chinzo Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) to pick up a first-round submission win, and pro boxer Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) made a successful MMA debut after scoring a third-round TKO victory over flyweight Alice Yauger (4-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA).

Check out the highlights above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator NYC, Bellator 180 with Skynyrd and the Stones

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 events in New York City went with as their backing tracks.

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Chael Sonnen def. Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Chael Sonnen: “Too Much Fun” by Daryle Singletary

Wanderlei Silva: “Sandstorm” by Darude

Neiman Gracie def. Dave Marfone via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:27

Neiman Gracie: “New York” by Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe & Jadakiss

Dave Marfone: “Desiigner (Remix)” by Timmy Turner feat. Kanye West

Matt Mitrione def. Fedor Emelianenko via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:14

Matt Mitrione: “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Fedor Emelianenko: Russian song

Brent Primus def. Michael Chandler via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 2:22

Michael Chandler: “I Can’t Stop” by Jay-Z & Kanye West

Brent Primus: “Sail” by AWOLNATION

Zach Freeman def. Aaron Pico via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 0:24

Aaron Pico: “I am V.I.P.N” by V.I.P.N Beats

Douglas Lima def. Lorenz Larkin via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47)

Douglas Lima: “Tell The World” by Lecrae

Lorenz Larkin: “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46)

Ryan Bader: “Paint It, Black” by The Rolling Stones

Phil Davis: “With Everything (Tim Yagolnikov Remix)” by The White Album

James Gallagher def. Chinzo Machida via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:22

James Gallagher: “Small Town, Big Dream” by Mr. Mills

Chinzo Machida: “You’re the Best Around (Karate Kid soundtrack)” by Joe Esposito

Heather Hardy def. Alice Yauger via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:44

Heather Hardy: “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys

Alice Yauger: “Shook Ones Part II” by Mobb Deep

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Plenty of security keeps Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva separated at Bellator NYC ceremonial weigh-ins

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NEW YORK – Knowing what was likely to go down if the Bellator NYC headliners got too close to each other Friday night, security detail was on red alert for Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.

The main event light heavyweights, who meet Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York at Bellator’s second pay-per-view event, got face to face Friday night at the ceremonial weigh-ins, which took place at The Theater at MSG.

After Sonnen stepped on the same scale used by Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali at “The Fight of the Century” in 1971 at The Garden, security personnel made sure things stayed on as much of an even keel as possible when Silva took the stage. Sonnen extended his arm to shake Silva’s hand, but the Brazilian wanted none of it and waved his finger at the American.

Also stepping onto the stage for the fans were co-main event heavyweights Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione. Bellator NYC also features a trio of title fights. Michael Chandler defends his lightweight title against Brent Primus on the main card. Welterweight champ Douglas Lima meets Lorenz Larkin with his belt on the line. And to close out the Bellator 180 portion of the event on Spike, light heavyweight champ Phil Davis meets Ryan Bader in a rematch.

Check out the highlights from those face-offs, as well as the face-offs between Alice Yauger and Heather Hardy and Chinzo Machida and James Gallagher, in the video above.

And for more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch Bellator NYC/Bellator 180, with a grudge match, a legend and 3 title fights

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Saturday’s Bellator NYC card has a little bit of everything.

In the main event, there’s a grudge match seven years in the making. The co-main event features the return of an MMA legend making his Bellator debut. Before that, three champions will put their titles on the line.

And ff that’s not enough, one of the hottest prospects in the promotion looks to extend his unbeaten streak, and a blue-chip signing makes his professional MMA debut.

The bout at the top of the card, Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva was first set to take place at UFC 175 in July 2014, but a failed drug test from Sonnen and an evaded drug test from Silva canceled that bout. Now, almost three years later, they settle their differences in Bellator.

In the co-main event, Fedor Emelianenko fights in America for the first time in nearly six years, facing Matt Mitrione.

Bellator NYC takes place at Madison Square Garden and airs on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 card on Spike and early prelims streaming on MMAjunkie.

Here are 10 reasons to watch Bellator’s first New York event.

1. It’s personal

You often hear how fighters shouldn’t become emotionally invested in a fight. You would think Silva, who is competing in his 50th professional bout, would have received that memo at least once. Yet, here we are, with Silva bringing an emotional mindset into his light heavyweight fight against Sonnen.

“For sure I’m going to hurt him, a lot,” Silva told MMAjunkie Radio. “I want to feel his blood on the ground.”


The long-simmering rivalry between Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Sonnen (28-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) seems to be more personal for Silva. Sure, Sonnen has played his part in the rivalry, but Sonnen’s role has mostly come across as premeditated, designed to elicit a response he can take advantage of.

Now we’re left to wonder if Silva will lose focus and be full of rage or if his hatred will have him completely dialed in. The answer could decide the winner of this fight.


2. This one? Not so personal

One fighter who won’t be emotional is Emelianenko. Throughout his career he’s been the standard-bearer for the bored MMA fighter countenance. Yes, Gegard Mousasi and Gunnar Nelson have picked up the mantle, but Emelianenko will always be the master.

What we don’t know is if Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), who is No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie heavyweight rankings, will share that same detached air. If he doesn’t, if the idea of adding Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) to his list of victories leads him to over-commit in his quest for the finish, Mitrione could find himself looking up at the ceiling of Madison Square Garden.

As an aside, don’t be surprised if the winner is fighting for the vacant Bellator heavyweight title next.


3. We’re talking power

After a 2-4 run at middleweight in the UFC, Lorenz Larkin dropped to welterweight where he went 4-1, recording three TKOs, including a first-round stoppage of Neil Magny in his most recent bout. Despite his success, the UFC didn’t make much of an effort to retain Larkin’s services when he hit free agency, so he opted to sign with Bellator.

That decision proved to be a wise one. The No. 7 ranked Larkin is fighting for gold in his Bellator debut, meeting welterweight champion, No. 13 Douglas Lima.

Like Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) packs a lot of power. Lima holds the record for most knockouts in Bellator history with eight, seven of those as a welterweight, including his third-round knockout of Andrey Koreshkov in November, which earned him the 170-pound title for the second time.


4. A matter of experience

After seven professional fights, Brent Primus takes a big step up in competition, facing lightweight champion Michael Chandler. It’s fair to wonder if Primus is ready to mix it up with someone as experienced as Chandler.

Before this bout, the biggest name Primus faced was Derek Anderson, who Primus defeated in 2015 via split decision. The No. 11-ranked Chandler, on the other hand, has been fighting the best in Bellator for a long while.

The inclination here is to look at Primus’ (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) experience level and his inactivity – no fights in 2017 and only one per year from 2014-2016 – and think he’s overmatched, but is he? Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) has been in some wars over the years, and at some point those fights take their toll. With this being Chandler’s 20th pro fight after a long wrestling career, that’s a concern.


5. First step toward greatness?

In November 2014, Bellator signed then 18-year-old Aaron Pico to a “long-term” deal. At that time, Pico was hopeful he would make the 2016 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. He fell short of his goal, losing a best of three (via criteria) to the eventual fifth-place finisher, Frank Molinaro.

Pico (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), now 20, makes his professional MMA debut in New York, where he faces Zach Freeman at featherweight in the first fight on the pay-per-view. Freeman (8-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has been fighting professionally since 2011. His last bout was a five-round unanimous decision loss to Thiago Moises for the RFA lightweight title in September.

Back in 2015, Bellator president Scott Coker told MMAjunkie that during one of their conversations Pico said “I want to be the greatest combat fighter that ever lived.” He takes his first step toward that goal in NYC.

6. This time will be different

The first fight between Phil Davis and Ryan Bader took place in the UFC in January 2015. At the time, both were ranked No. 6 and No. 8 in the division, respectively. Bader won by split decision. A few months later, Davis signed with Bellator, where he is currently the light heavyweight champion, defeating Liam McGeary for that title in November. While Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) was running up a 4-0 record in Bellator, Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) went 3-1 in the UFC, fighting out his contract before he, too, jumped to Bellator in March.

While no one was clamoring for a rematch after their first meeting, the two headline the Bellator 180 Spike-televised card. Bader, now ranked No. 4 in the division, told MMAjunkie that fans should expect a different fight when he faces No. 3 Davis.


“I feel like I’ve grown tremendously in my stand-up, my ground game and everywhere, really,” Bader said. “My mental game is just so far beyond where I was then also. I think that’s going to carry some weight in this new fight. I think I’ve progressed more than he has.”


7. Your attention, please

Three fights into his Bellator run, unbeaten 20-year-old James Gallagher has captured the attention of fans and fighters.

In February, Pico promised Gallagher a “red, white and blue ass whipping.” More recently, unbeaten rising star A.J. McKee referred to Gallagher as “a joke,” a “little Irish schmuck” and said he would “whoop his ass in his hometown,” after Gallagher called out McKee following his February submission win over Kirill Medvedovsky.


Before Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) gets booked against Pico or McKee, he has to get past fellow featherweight Chinzo Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), the 40-year-old brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Chinzo is also unbeaten in Bellator, with two knockouts, most recently stopping Jamar Ocampo in January.


8. A familiar name

The Gracie name is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because fight fans will always be intrigued when a Gracie competes. It’s a curse because fans can put unfair expectations on Gracie fighters.

Neiman Gracie has lived up to his famous last name during his MMA career. Gracie is unbeaten with four submission wins in five fights. A very patient competitor when looking to secure a tap, Gracie can also quickly transition to a secondary submission option if the opportunity presents itself, something he displayed in his last fight, a first-round submission victory over Rudy Bears.

Gracie (5-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) faces Dave Marfone (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a welterweight bout. Marfone is coming off a TKO loss to Stephen Regman at CFFC 63 in February.

9. Giving this MMA thing a go

Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez was supposed to face Sadee Monserrate Williams on the Spike-televised portion of this event, but an injury scrapped that contest. And while that’s a bummer, it opened the door for Heather Hardy’s flyweight bout vs. Alice Yauger to be moved to Spike.

Hardy (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a New York-based boxer who trains out of the famed Gleason’s Gym, is unbeaten in 20 boxing contests. She makes her MMA debut against Yauger (4-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), who is coming off a decision loss to Jessica Middleton at Bellator 171.

Hardy was set to debut with Invicta in January, but that fight fell through. Hardy subsequently became a free agent, signing with Bellator. Hardy plans on competing in both boxing and MMA.


10. You know the voices

Bellator made some moves on the commentating front ahead of this event. Earlier this month, the promotion announced it had signed former longtime UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, along with Mauro Ranallo, when Sean Grande departed his play-by-play duties.

Goldberg and Ranallo will both work the New York event. Ranallo will work play-by-play for the pay-per-view card alongside color commentator Jimmy Smith, with Goldberg anchoring the desk. For the Spike-televised portion of the card, as well as the live-streamed prelims, it will be Goldberg on play-by-play with Smith; Ranallo will serve as host on the desk.

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Video: Bellator 180 media-day staredowns, including fiery 'Strabanimal,' title fight rematch

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NEW YORK – Fight week is officially underway in New York for Bellator’s dual-event evening, and the featured fighters of Bellator 180 today came together for traditional pre-fight staredowns.

Bellator 180 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event airs on Spike following additional bouts that stream on MMAjunkie, and the card serves as the prelims for the promotion’s Bellator NYC pay-per-view event that immediately follows.

Bellator light heavyweight champ Phil Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) and Ryan Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who meet in a rematch from the pair’s UFC days, were the featured fighters of the staredowns.

Meanwhile, the man known as “The Strabanimal” James Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), made it clear he means business against a man 20 years his senior in Chinzo Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).

Also featured were Neiman Gracie (5-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) vs. Dave Marfone (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Heather Hardy (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) vs. Alice Yauger (4-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Ryan Couture (10-5 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) vs. Haim Gozali (7-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).

Check out the video above to see highlights from the face-offs.

And for more on Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie