Category Archives: Chael Sonnen

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 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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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

Chael Sonnen (sort of) walks back callout of Fedor Emelianenko, who vows to keep fighting

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Chael Sonnen had some pointed words for Fedor Emelianenko after grinding out Wanderlei Silva at Bellator NYC.

Sitting beside Emelianenko at the event’s post-fight presser, Sonnen was a bit more restrained.

“I would never kick a guy when he’s down – I respect Fedor,” Sonnen (30-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) said backstage after his main-event win on pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York City. “That was my way of pulling him back up.”

It didn’t necessarily sound that way when Sonnen used his post-fight speech to call out Emelianenko, a target on the legends butt-whipping tour he’s touted since coming out of retirement to sign with Bellator.

“I made Tito Ortiz tap out in less than a minute,” Sonnen said. “I got Wanderlei Silva out of here in the main event. And when it comes to you, Fedor Emelianenko, I only need one shot.

“Now, you asked me for an autograph in the back. I patted you on your doughy head and told you I would think about it. But I’ve made my decision. I’ll give you that signature, but it’s going to be on the bottom of a contract, and you’re going to find out just like Wanderlei and Tito (Ortiz) – you never piss off a gangster.”

Of course, the monologue was nothing out of character for Sonnen, who’s a master of cutting a promo on the post-fight mic. But this callout came just after Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) had been brutally knocked out by Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), and it wasn’t necessarily the best timing.

After Mitrione and Emelianenko’s first fight was canceled due to Mitrione’s kidney stones, the heavyweights nearly ended their fight with a double knockout before Mitrione recovered and finished Emelianenko.

All too aware of Emelianenko’s legendary status, Mitrione made sure to give praise to his opponent. Sonnen wasn’t going to contradict that, no matter what he might’ve previously said.

“That match that he had could have gone either way,” he continued at the presser. “Mitrione’s a rough son-of-a-bitch, and people just don’t understand that.

“All sorts of a mess was out there. I do want to make that clear, though. I respect Fedor, but I think that he and I’s path are going to cross sooner or later. Fedor gave up 20 pounds tonight to fight Mitrione – the difference between Fedor and I is less than that, so I wouldn’t complain. Fedor didn’t complain about taking on Mitrione and going up in size. I wouldn’t complain about the discrepancy in our weight.”

Asked about whether he’d answer Sonnen’s call, Emelianenko seemed to have more concerns about the scale.

“We’re in different weight divisions,” he said with a smirk via his translator.

But for those who might have expected the Russian former PRIDE champion to be going back into retirement after such a violent loss, Emelianenko is going to disappoint those who want to see him hang it up – and encourage those who hope for a comeback.

“Yes, because I am a fighter,” he said when asked if Saturday’s night’s fight was the end of his career.

And if he’s hesitant about taking on a bloated Sonnen as the bigger man, he’d be happy to take the chance to write a different ending to his fight with Mitrione.

“Certainly, I would love to have the rematch with Matt,” Emelianenko said. “It happened so the movements were just mutual, and Matt used the situation.”

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, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator NYC highlights: Here's how Chael Sonnen topped Wanderlei Silva in grudge match

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Chael Sonnen (30-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) used a steady stream of takedowns and ground and pound to take out longtime rival Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in Saturday’s Bellator NYC headliner.

The fight took place at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Sonnen ultimately got the unanimous-decision victory via 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 scores.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

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

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.

* * * *

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

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

For Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, a clash of rivals is also one of peers – like it or not

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At least Wanderlei Silva understood. Standing there with Chael Sonnen at Thursday’s Bellator NYC press conference, he knew we needed something. He sensed it, maybe. Or he only knows one way to be, and he just couldn’t help himself.

So with Bellator President Scott Coker standing in between them, Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) reached over with one hand to give Sonnen (28-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) a little shove. Nothing much. A subtle attention-getter, really. A little poke to the Dip Your Car logo to remind us what the sales pitch is here.

Oh yeah, these two don’t like each other. And now they’re going to fight. Finally.

So what if it’s about three years past the first proposed meeting? And so what if it’s been four years since Silva has had a fight and nearly as long since Sonnen has won one? Grudge matches have a way of extending their expiration dates, as long as the grudge itself is strong enough, and thank goodness for that, since where would Bellator be without it?

This is a pay-per-view headlined by two fighters with 80 years of life and nearly 100 professional MMA fights between them. It’s not a fight that’s for anything in the traditional combat sports sense, but you almost get the sense they’d both hate to lose it even more than they’d like to win it.

For Sonnen, this fight fits easily into the persona he’s built for himself in the latter half of his career. His one-man war against the nation of Brazil started with Anderson Silva and spread to the Nogueira brothers before eventually clashing with Silva. You might say Sonnen has a sense of humor that Brazilian fighters just don’t get – or don’t appreciate, since so often they’re his favorite punchline.

Silva is a perfect counterpart for that routine, if only because of his tendency to treat every interaction as an intense battle for respect.

He’s not the same ferocious buzzsaw of a man that he was in his PRIDE heyday. He shows up now with a face that looks like it’s out on loan and sits there at press events breathing like a very old bulldog. But he bears just enough resemblance to the old “Axe Murderer” that he can almost convince you, especially when he’s shoving people around for the cameras, playing the role of the man so overflowing with violence that he can’t even wait another couple days for the proper time to unleash it.

And when that appointed hour comes, will we have learned anything? There’s bragging rights on the line, sure. Maybe there’s also the question of redemption – for both men.

Sonnen left the UFC in disgrace after the drug test failures piled up too high for him to talk his way around them, then he resurfaced in Bellator with a quick loss to Tito Ortiz. Silva’s last fight was a win over current UFC commentator and former UFC fighter Brian Stann, a man who’s been retired so long he’s built an entirely new career for himself in the time that Silva had to wait just to return to his old one.

For a while it seemed like Silva’s legacy might be the drug test he ran from in Las Vegas, and the lifetime ban the commission there unfairly heaved at him. He fought back against the punishment and won, in a way, but it didn’t exactly leave his reputation in the best of shape.

That’s one thing these two have in common. Another is that they share the fate of all fighters smart enough to develop a persona and a following, yet too stubborn to walk away while it’s still working the way it should.

What happens eventually, if you’re not careful, is that you drift into the realm of self-parody. You become the aging rock band, touring the county fairs and playing your greatest hits. It’s not the worst thing that can happen – there’s still a paycheck in it at the end of the day – but there’s also something sad about it.

To look across the cage and see that same sadness hovering over the man who is both your rival and your peer, that must be a strange feeling. But then that’s where the fighting comes in. Because if you can beat that other guy, at least it means you’re not him.

Not yet, anyway.

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

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