Category Archives: Bellator 180

What did we get for our money at Bellator NYC, and would we spend it all over again?

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Filed under: Bellator, News

A double knockdown. A “legends” fight between two 40-year-olds. A title fight that ended with a floppy foot and a “Three Stooges” gag. A hype train derailed the instant it left the station.

This is just some of what we got for our $50 when Bellator returned to pay-per-view on Saturday night. Whether or not you think it was worth the money, you have to admit it was memorable. Weird might be the better term for it, but weird is a type of entertainment.

Considering what Bellator has to work with, it might be a type that the Viacom-owned promotion has to get used to. Of the six fights featured on the pay-per-view portion of Bellator NYC, two were legitimate title fights, two were nostalgia-based old-timers affairs, one was essentially a local shoutout to the Gracie clan, and one was a coming out party for a blue-chip recruit.

So how did it all work out?

The welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and UFC import Lorenz Larkinwas “underwhelming,” according to the not inaccurate assessment of potential future Bellator welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald. The lightweight title scrap ended in a controversial upset victory for Brent Primus after a strange injury to Michael Chandler gave way to unintentional slapstick comedy.

The old-timers? Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko raced each other to the mat before Emelianenko once again lost his tenuous grip on consciousness, and then Chael Sonnen out-wrestled Wanderlei Silva before lapsing back into self-parody just in time for his post-fight interview.

That Gracie Jiu-Jitsu commercial? It went about like you’d expect, even if it was wedged bafflingly into the latter half of the broadcast to stifle momentum before the main event. The coming out party for Aaron Pico got spoiled by Zach Freeman, who reminded us that having experience matters more than having a Wikipedia page.

But when all was said and done, were you not entertained? Didn’t you feel like you came away with plenty to talk (and laugh and shake your head) at?

If the goal was to give us an event that we didn’t feel like we could miss, yet also one that didn’t feel like a weak knockoff of the UFC, it’s hard not to call this a success.

But coming out of Bellator NYC, it does feel like we’ve seen the glimpses of a workable strategy. Bellator has legitimate, relevant talents on its roster, but they don’t draw the masses. It also has fighters who were talented and relevant a decade ago, but who still put butts in seats, and the best of those realize that with less and less steak to sell, they need to focus more on the sizzle these days.

When combined with the inherent tendency toward the bizarre that exists in a sport like MMA, you have yourself a recipe for some memorable nights. You can get people talking, which is the first step to getting them interested. The appeal of a big Bellator event might never come with the exact same sales proposition as a UFC PPV, but that can be a feature instead of a bug.

What remains to be seen is whether or not it’s a viable way to make money over the long term. A few Bellator PPVs a year, when sprinkled with just the right blend of weirdness and seriousness? Sure, the hardcores will watch that. But are there enough hardcores buying enough events? Will we still want to see this plan in action a few years down the road, or does it only work as a bridge to something more traditional?

These are the questions Bellator is going to have to answer eventually. For now, all it has to ask itself is if we had enough fun – of one kind or another – to consider coming back for more.

And I admit it, I did. Even if I’m still not totally sure how or why.

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

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Scott Coker likes Primus vs. Chandler 2, Bader vs. 'King Mo' title fights after Bellator NYC

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Perhaps the greatest benefit to Bellator’s recent pay-per-view event was the fact it set up some notable matchups for the future.

Bellator NYC took place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 prelims on Spike and MMAjunkie.

Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) won the main event while Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) scored a big knockout victory in the co-headliner. Douglas Lima (29-6 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) defended his welterweight strap while Brent Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) and Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) claimed gold.

Although the plans aren’t concrete, Bellator President Scott Coker has some ideas for future fights, and he discussed with MMAjunkie following the event.

One of the big questions after Bellator NYC was whether Michael Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), who dropped the Bellator lightweight title with a first-round injury TKO loss to Primus, will get an immediate rematch for the gold.

The extent of the Chandler’s ankle injury is unknown, but as long as Chandler isn’t out for an extended period, Coker said the two-time titleholder will get a rematch.

“We’ll do (the rematch) as long as Chandler can do it,” Coker said. “If he has to get surgery and he’s out for a year or six months or eight months, we’ll have to wait, I guess.”

As for new light heavyweight champion Bader, Coker said he has options. A third fight between “Darth” and Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) after their first two fights ended in split decisions is not the most appealing, especially with other notable fighters available.

Bader was originally supposed to fight Muhammed Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA) at Bellator 180, but “King Mo” suffered an injury and was replaced by Davis. Coker said he likes the original booking with Lawal, especially with Bader now the champ.

“Bader won, and we’ll see what happens,” Coker said. “‘King Mo’ comes to my mind right away (as his first challenger). For Phil, maybe he can fight Linton Vassell. We’ll find some fights for him.”

Another future title fight Coker expects is between 170-pound king Lima, who shut down promotional newcomer Lorenz Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) over five rounds. “Phenom” has been the most successful welterweight in Bellator history, but his biggest test could come next with Rory MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA)

As far as Sonnen, who earned his first victory in nearly four years with a unanimous-decision win over Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in their long-awaited main-event grudge match, Coker said he doesn’t know exactly what’s next.

Sonnen mentioned potential fights with Fedor Emelianenko, Tito Ortiz and even Bader after Bellator NYC. Coker said it’s hard to go wrong when booking Sonnen, and regardless of the opponent, he expects one of his most sellable athletes to headline again.

“Chael’s got four of five great fights ahead of him,” Coker said. “We’ll find an opponent that will be another big blockbuster event like this. I think he could main event for us again.”

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

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

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Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Saturday’s Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 events in New York, several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

* * * *

The defeated

The victorious

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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

Bellator NYC post-event facts: Michael Chandler sets dubious title-fight record

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Chael Sonnen concluded his long journey back to the win column on Saturday when the three-time UFC title challenger was victorious against Wanderlei Silva in the Bellator NYC main event.

Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) capped off the organization’s return to pay-per-view with a unanimous-decision win over Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) at Madison Square Garden in New York, making for what was one of many notable results from the event.

Bellator NYC followed the Bellator 180 lineup, which aired on Spike (after early prelims on MMAjunkie). The nine televised fights provided much in the way in the post-fight fallout, and for more on the numbers, check out 35 post-event facts to come out of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

* * * *

General

Bellator at Madison Square Garden

Debuting fighters went 3-6 at Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

Betting favorites went 5-3 on the card. There were no odds available for one fight.

Betting favorites improved to 8-3 in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the nine-bout Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 lineup was 1:33:36.

* * * *

Bellator NYC

Chael Sonnen

Sonnen snapped his two-fight losing skid for his first victory since August 2013. He earned just his second victory in his past six fights.

Sonnen earned his first decision victory since Jan. 28, 2012 – a span of 1,974 days (more than four years) and six fights.

Silva was unsuccessful in his return to competition after a more than four-year layoff. He hasn’t earned a victory since March 2013.

Silva has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights.

Matt Mitrione

Matt Mitrione’s (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) three-fight Bellator winning streak in heavyweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Cheick Kongo (five).

Mitrione has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Mitrione has earned all three of his Bellator victories by knockout.

Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) fell to 2-1 since he returned from retirement in December 2015.

Fedor Emelianenko

Emelianenko had his five-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since July 2011.

Emelianenko has suffered all five of his career losses by stoppage.

Emelianenko suffered his first knockout loss since July 30, 2011 – a span of 2,156 days (nearly six years) and six fights

Brent Primus’ (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) six-fight Bellator winning streak in lightweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Michael Chandler and Brent Primus

Primus has earned four of his six Bellator victories by stoppage.

Michael Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) lost the Bellator lightweight title for the second time.

Chandler fell to 5-4 in Bellator championship fights.

Chandler’s four Bellator title-fight losses are most in company history.

Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has earned six of his seven career stoppage victories by submission.

Zach Freeman

Aaron Pico (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) was unsuccessful in his pro debut.

Douglas Lima (29-6 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) earned his first successful Bellator welterweight title defense. He failed to defend in his previous reign.

Lima’s 10 victories in Bellator welterweight competition are tied with Andrey Koreshkov for most in divisional history.

Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin

Lorenz Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) fell to 4-2 since he dropped to the welterweight division in January.

Larkin fell to 5-4 in his past nine fights.

Larkin has suffered five of his six career losses by decision.

Bellator 180

Ryan Bader

Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) improved to 8-1 in his past nine fights.

Bader improved to 2-0 in rematches.

Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Neiman Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) has earned five of his six career victories by stoppage.

Dave Marfone (5-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

James Gallagher

James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) has earned six of his seven career victories by stoppage.

Chinzo Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) had his four-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since December 2010.

Machida suffered his first submission loss since Apr. 29, 2006 – a span of 4,074 days (more than 11 years) and six fights.

Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), a pro boxing champion, was successful in her MMA debut.

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

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

So, when is Bellator returning to pay-per-view? Scott Coker has a plan

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(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

NEW YORK – Bellator still has a future on pay-per-view, though it differs from MMA’s other top promotion.

Bellator’s second PPV event took place Saturday and featured a mix of familiar names and top prospects. The fight promotion, widely considered the No. 2 MMA organization behind the UFC, offered Bellator NYC, which took place at iconic Madison Square Garden.

Despite some unexpected results, it set up big fights for the future. It also underscored the different PPV strategies for Bellator and the UFC.

The Viacom-owned Bellator is not trying to replicate the UFC’s formula, which includes approximately a dozen major PPV shows per year, with 30 or so smaller events carried by its cable partners and UFC Fight Pass, its digital streaming service.

Bellator, instead, will air 20 or so annual events on Spike, but PPV is still in the plans, according to Bellator President Scott Coker. However, he tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie the next PPV show probably won’t come until the first quarter of 2018, and they will remain infrequent offerings. However, he said he was encouraged by Bellator NYC’s success.

“This was the biggest event in the company’s history,” he says. “We’ve got great fighters here, and I think people are seeing the talent on this roster. … This is a worthy (organization), and we’re right there at the top too.”

He says Bellator is focused on being a fan- and fighter-friendly organization with its own matchmaking style and production elements. Its biggest event to date wasn’t perfect, but it had some stunning outcomes and viral moments, both of which help justify a $50 price tag for a product otherwise available for free on basic cable.

Bellator NYC, though, had a stacked lineup, which helped draw an announced attendance of 12,133. Fight-hype specialist Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) earned a decision win over longtime rival Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in the headliner, and heavy-handed Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) scored a 74-second win over famed heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in a co-headliner that featured a rare double knockdown. Two new champs were crowned in three title fights, and unheralded Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) submitted highly touted lightweight prospect Aaron Pico (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in just 24 seconds.

They weren’t all the best outcomes for Bellator’s matchmakers or marketing team, but the unexpected results created buzz and garnered fans’ attention.

“It’s such an exciting time to be a fan of MMA,” Sonnen says. “I thought the card as a whole was outstanding. … We did some pretty good business.”

Although Bellator debuted in 2009, the product has taken its current form only recently under the helm of Coker, who was hired as president in June 2014. The longtime combat-sports promoter knows how to put on an extravagant event, as his company roster attests.

“There’s more of it to come,” says Mitrione, whose bout with Emelianenko quickly became a viral hit. “They know what they’re doing. We’re leading the industry now, so now it’s (a matter of) what they can do to lead from the front, not chase from the back.”

The UFC comparisons are likely to remain, but Coker says he’s focused on Bellator’s own progress.

“People can compare us to whoever,” Coker says. “At the end of the day, we are an organization that’s come a long way in three years. We have record ratings, record sponsors, record international distribution. It’s owned by Viacom. That’s one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. It’s one of the most powerful. It’s a good day when you have that kind of support.”

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

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator champ Ryan Bader eyes Tito Ortiz rematch, but plans to 'clean out this division'

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

NEW YORK – After winning the light heavyweight title at Bellator 180, Ryan Bader is aiming for a long and dominant run in Bellator. He’s open to defending the belt against anyone, but there’s one name in particular that stands out.

Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who claimed the title with a split-decision win over Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) on Saturday’s Spike-televised preliminary card at Madison Square Garden in New York, is still seeking revenge for his surprising first-round submission loss to Tito Ortiz at UFC 132 in July 2011.

“Darth” said he’s still asked about being the one who ended Ortiz’s (19-12-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) nearly five-year winless drought. And while Ortiz claims to have retired following his win over Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170 in January, Bader hopes a potential title fight could lure him back.

“I would love it,” Bader said. “I’m not a (expletive)-talking guy. I respect everyone in this sport. If I have to hear that name, and, ‘You’re pretty good – but you lost to Tito Ortiz back in 1994.’ That one I would like to get. If there’s one fight I would like to get back, it would be that one, for sure. I would love to fight him for sure. I’d put the belt on the line and everything if he wants to come in. That fight intrigues me.”

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After a 20-fight run under the UFC banner, Bader became a free agent earlier this year and signed with Bellator. He was originally booked against Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 180, but when “King Mo” suffered an injury, Davis stepped in and made it a title bout.

Bader’s desire all along was to fight for Bellator gold right off the bat, which is how it played out. He took advantage of the situation and edged Davis, and though he downplayed the pressure prior to the event, he opened up more afterward.

“It’s a bunch of relief,” Bader said. “I never got the chance to fight for any belt in any organization. I’ve got all these accolades in wrestling and even in football, collegiate wrestler. Then I go into mixed martial arts and fight in all these local shows where I only fight one time and move onto the next one. I win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ then go to the UFC and never got an opportunity there. To fight in a different promotion, your first fight, I wouldn’t say there’s any jitters, but you’re new to the whole thing, and you don’t know what to expect.

“I’ve never stepped foot in a Bellator cage before. I didn’t know what the canvas felt like. I didn’t know a lot of things. So to come out here and beat a top two, top three guy in the world – he’s an awkward guy, he’s hard to fight, and that’s why he wins way more than he loses here and (why) he was a champion. To take this away it’s just a lifetime of work.”

Bader got his hand raised, but he admitted the fight didn’t play out precisely how he wanted. He knew what it was like to compete against Davis; he owns a 2015 split-decision win over “Mr. Wonderful,” and he also competed against him during their amateur wrestling days.

Both fights were relatively underwhelming in terms of action, and despite pegging his fellow American as one of the more challenging opponents he’s faced, Bader said he expects to see Davis in the future.

“I wanted to come in and make a huge statement, but how many guys beat Phil Davis?” Bader said. “I beat him twice. … He beat me in wrestling; I was able to come out and beat him in two MMA fights. We’re going to be competing our whole lives. We’ll probably see each other in the senior league in jiu-jitsu or something. He’s a great dude. I respect the hell out of him. It’s an honor to get in there and fight him.”

Regardless of how he got it done, Bader winning the 205-pound belt in his first Bellator fight is about as good as a debut experience can get. Ortiz would be his ideal next opponent, but options such as Lawal, Linton Vassell and possibly even another fight with Davis exist, as well.

Ultimately Bader said that Bellator can line then all up because he’s confident he will knock them down one at a time.

“I went out there and beat the best guy in this division,” Bader said. “Besides me, obviously, and now we get to go and clean out this division, and I’m going to have this belt for a long time.”

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

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

Chael Sonnen surprised by Wanderlei Silva's shove, says Tito Ortiz's heckling was 'low class'

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NEW YORK – Chael Sonnen isn’t pleased with how Tito Ortiz conducted himself cageside during Saturday’s Bellator NYC main event.

Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), who earned a unanimous-decision win over Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in the pay-per-view headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York, was a target of Ortiz’s (19-12-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) throughout the light-heavyweight headliner.

Ortiz heckled Sonnen the entire fight, screaming obscenities and making crude gestures. Their rivalry recently came to a head with Sonnen’s first-round submission loss to Ortiz at Bellator 170 in January.

Although Ortiz has always been emotional fighter, Sonnen said his antics at Bellator NYC were out of line.

“Tito is a drunk, and he’s a drug addict,” Sonnen told MMAjunkie after Bellator NYC, while lobbing a number of accusations. “Tito is broke. He borrows those suits. I have no idea why they even invite him out here. That’s as low class as it gets. I’m not a guy who is a prude about this stuff. I’m not a prude about someone attacking another guy or building up a fight at all. Of all the things I’ve ever said or done to somebody else, I will sign that contract and step into that cage and answer for it every single time without exception. Tito Ortiz will never get in there. Tito Ortiz sucks.

“He was high tonight. He was drinking tonight. He got booed tonight. I could give a damn less about Tito Ortiz, but it’s very low brow. He’s going to behave like that when I’m on one side of the fence and he’s on the other? It’s like Tito, man, you’re messing with the wrong guy. I will come through here and whip your ass.”

Here’s a look at Ortiz cageside (via Twitter):

Ortiz wasn’t the only person Sonnen had to deal with at Bellator NYC. He also had Silva, who he finally met in a grudge match seven years in the making. As Sonnen was conducting his post-fight interview with Jimmy Smith, Silva shoved him on his way out of the cage and was clearly frustrated by the fact he was outworked in the heated grudge match.

“I was surprised,” Sonnen said of Silva’s shove. “Generally in a sport like this you bury the hatchet, you shake hands. Whether you mean it or not, procedure says you shake hands. You come to the press conference, you give the other guy his due. He shoved me and then he shoved me again afterwards. It surprised me. I didn’t really know how to handle it. Do I go after this guy when we just fought? I just really didn’t know how to handle it.”

Despite sharing the cage with “The Axe Murderer” for three rounds, Sonnen said his feelings toward the Brazilian haven’t necessarily changed. However, Sonnen gave Silva credit for hanging tough through three rounds. However, he wasn’t happy that Silva shoved him while Sonnen was doing a post-fight interview.

Regardless, the victory marked Sonnen’s first since his August 2013 submission of Mauricio Rua under the UFC banner. He’s spent most of that time inactive from competition, in part due to failed drug tests and a short-lived retirement, and said he was simply happy to get his hand raised.

“It’s the second time I’ve fought in four years,” Sonnen said. “I’ve been in the principal’s office for a little bit of time. I want to get my hand raised. Everything else that comes in between, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I’ll take a win by disqualification and hold my head up high.

“There’s plenty of ways to skin a cat in this business. Wanderlei is a tough guy. That’s the reality. I don’t like Wanderlei Silva. I’m not going to compliment him, but I’m also not going to lie. He’s a tough guy. He held on tight. He’s a strong guy and there you go.”

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

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

Why Bellator NYC's Matt Mitrione doesn't want a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos

NEW YORK – Matt Mitrione earned his signature career victory on Saturday when he knocked Fedor Emelianenko out cold in the first round of the Bellator NYC co-main event.

Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) has spent his entire career fighting under the Bellator and UFC banners. The brutal 74-second knockout of an all-time heavyweight great in Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) was his most significant to date, and in Mitrione’s mind, it puts him atop the world divisional rankings.

“I do work, (and) I believe I’m the best heavyweight in the world,” Mitrione told MMAjunkie after the event, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York. “Whoever they say it’s go time with, let’s go for it.”

Although the fight was short and sweet, it was memorable. It nearly ended in a double knockout when the fighters landed simultaneous punches that dropped the other. Mitrione was quicker to recover and pounced for the finish as he jumped on the downed Emelianenko and landed a series of fight-ending strikes on the former PRIDE champion.

“I was able to get on top of him before he was able to get on top of me,” Mitrione said. “He’s easily the best fighter I’ve ever fought. It’s wild to say that (because) I’ve had rounds under my belt before, and I only fought him for two minutes, and I can tell you that he’s that good. He’s very, very good.”

Mitrione shared a moment with Emelianenko following Bellator NYC’s post-event press conference and said they discussed potentially training together. “Meathead” said it’s not a lock, though, and he doesn’t rule out a rematch with the Russian.

With the Bellator heavyweight title currently vacant, Bellator President Scott Coker said it’s possible Mitrione could fight for the belt when it’s reintroduced to the organization.

Mitrione said he’s not sure who matchmakers would put on the other side of the cage in a potential title affair, but after doing consecutive fight camps for Emelianenko (their original February date was called off at the last minute), he’s seeking a fresh opponent.

“As long as it’s not Fedor right now,” Mitrione said of his next fight. “I don’t want to have three fight camps for Fedor back to back to back. If I have somebody else in between, that’s all I really care about.”

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

Bellator 180 winner James Gallagher: 'I've got everything to be the greatest fighter of all time'

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NEW YORK – James Gallagher continued to live up to the hype on Saturday when he added another win to his undefeated record with a first-round submission of Chinzo Machida at Bellator 180.

Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), who is just 20, made quick work of Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in their featherweight bout at Bellator 180, which aired on Spike prior to the Bellator NYC pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Irish fighter, who is a teammate of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, is not short on confidence. He speaks boldly and has backed it up thus far, with the fight against Machida being his most significant.

Gallagher believes he’s the future of the sport, but said not to assign him the tag of being a “new-era” fighter.

“They all know I’m coming,” Gallagher said after his win. “It’s only a matter of time. I’m young. I’m hungry. I’ve got everything. I’ve got the team behind me. I’ve got the family to support me. I’ve got that motivation like no one else. All these guys are on their way out. I’m only getting started.

“I hear everyone say I’m the new era of the young guys coming up, but I’m not. I kind of get offended when I hear that because I’m a break off from that. Everyone in the new era is on (one) path. I’m going this way. I’m different. I’m not the same as anyone in here.”

Despite the near-flawless performance, Gallagher said there’s room for improvement going forward. He dominated a fighter who is double his age, but will still have more to prove as he faces increasingly challenging competition. He has no doubt he will thrive on any stage against any opponent, and said when his career comes to a wrap, he plans to go down as one of the best to ever compete.

“I’m young – I’ve got time, I’ve got everything,” Gallagher said. “I’ve got the mindset, I’ve got the skill set, I’ve got the youth and I’ve got everything to be the greatest fighter of all time, and that’s exactly what I’m going to be.”

Still young in his career, Gallagher has been criticized for trying to mimic the personality traits and brash persona of his teammate McGregor. He said that’s simply not true, but he’s happy to accept the comparisons to the UFC champ, who is scheduled to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match on Aug. 26.

“Conor knocks everyone out with a straight left hand; I take everyone down and choke them with rear-naked chokes,” Gallagher said. “That’s nothing like Conor. But being compared to one of the greatest fighters of all time, the greatest fighter in history, the one that’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out cold, I’ll take that all day long.”

During his post-fight interview Gallagher called out current Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire. “Pitbull” immediately responded on Twitter with a strong message.

Gallagher was asked for a response, and to the surprise of no one, he wasn’t shy in providing one.

“Tell him to come on – try it,” Gallagher said. “Tell him to bring his belt with him, because I’m going to take it.”

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

Ryan Couture felt his career was on the line prior to Bellator 180 win

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NEW YORK – Ryan Couture believes his victory at Bellator 180 on Saturday night saved his place on the roster and, more importantly, kept his willingness to compete alive.

Couture (11-5 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) defeated Haim Gozali (7-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) by unanimous decision on the Bellator 180 preliminary card, which streamed on MMAjunkie prior to the televised portion of the card on Spike and the Bellator NYC pay-per-view. The victory snapped his two-fight skid and temporarily took him out of jeopardy of being cut.

“Last year was a terrible year,” Couture told reporters following his win. “I was really disappointed, so I was carrying a lot of pressure on my shoulders. It kind of felt like I was fighting for my career tonight. I’m just super happy to get in there and get a good 15 minutes of ring experience in and come out unscathed and get the win.”

Couture said he’s not sure what would’ve happened if he came up short. Although it is possible Bellator would’ve given him another fight, it would be far from guaranteed with three consecutive losses. After fighting in Bellator, UFC and Strikeforce, a return to smaller promotions in the event of being released was not something Couture was interested in.

“I would have had some real thinking to do (if I lost),” Couture said. “At this stage of my career, I’m almost 35, so I think I don’t have too many more competitive years in me physically. To go 0-3 and potentially – I know Bellator is a little more lenient and fighter-friendly and understanding, and I have a good relationship with them, so it’s not necessarily I would’ve been on the chopping block, but it’s always a possibility if you lose a few in a row, and you get on that streak, and you could be out of the job. I’m not sure if I would have had the desire to go back to the regional circuit and grind it out on smaller shows just to work my way back up.”

Couture has spent most of his career in the lightweight division but fought Gozalli in a welterweight bout at Bellator 180. He said he intends to return to his most comfortable weight class for his next fight, which he hopes takes place within the next three months.

“155 is home,” Couture said. “I’ll get back on that grind and get on that weight-cut for the next one.”

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