Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at all of the happenings of the past week in the world of mixed martial arts, and look ahead to what is coming up. This past week had some UFC action, while the upcoming week is full of events, so let’s dive right in.
Looking Back At UFC On ESPN+ 34
- Alistair Overeem is still going strong at 40 years old. He’s been winning fights since 1999, and his fifth-round finish of Augusto Sakai was a smart and impressive win. He weathered the flurries of Sakai, covered up, made the appropriate adjustments during the fight, changed his strategy and took complete control in the second half. His move to Colorado after losing to Curtis Blaydes has proven to be an excellent move as he’s 4-1 since the switch to the Elevation Fight Team camp, and he was five seconds away from being 5-0. He says he’s getting close to winding down his career somewhere over the next three years, but he is still fighting at a high level and could be fighting for a title again soon.
- It was impressive how quick the UFC production team was able to adjust to all of the last-minute changes that affected the card hours before the show. Two fights being cancelled and one being changed due to COVID. It luckily didn’t impact any major fights. The fact that this is three straight weeks where fight day has seen at least one fight cancelled shows that there still needs to be caution all around, especially when it deals with multiple people from the same training camp testing positive.
- Michel Pereira showed off more of his brilliance again on Saturday, showcasing great skills and fighting an excellent fight all while doing his customary showboating and whackiness. Luckily, it didn’t cost him in this fight, but as he moves up the welterweight ladder, he needs to learn to tone that down because it’s going to cost him fights again.
- Speaking of Pereira, props to him for reaching for the stars in trying to get the attention of Jorge Masvidal and calling him out for a fight. I mean, I still want to marry Rachel Bilson. We don’t get the things we want in life sometimes, but it is worth a shot by Pereira.
- A seven-fight card brought back memories of 2005, which was the last time a UFC card had only seven fights. It was The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale, which had a main event of Diego Sanchez against Nick Diaz. I remember being a 19-year-old kid in Las Vegas with a fake ID enjoying life and being at that show, and it definitely doesn’t feel like it was 15 years ago.
- There’s a lot of criticism of this upcoming weekend’s main event fight between Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill, with it being mainly about it not being a worthy headliner. I think UFC fans lose sight of when fights are getting cancelled from shows with little time fill spots. The original main event, Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira, was cancelled less than ten days before the show. It is unrealistic to think a big fight could be made on that short of notice to serve as a main event for the show, so the co-main event gets bumped up. It’s a good shot for Waterson and Hill to headline a show, and props to them. I think fans need to step back and think with their heads, and not with their mouths.
- Speaking of main events, the long-awaited fight between Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung was finally announced for the October 17 event, which will be in Abu Dhabi during the next round of UFC Fight Island events. This has all the makings of being one of the best fights of the year.
- If you haven’t been watching Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday night this year, you have been missing out. The fights and performances on the show have been absolutely fantastic, and there have been some quality signings from the show.
- If the UFC 254 main card turns out as planned, it has the potential to be the best main card of the year. Not the most stacked, but the best as far as action. I hope it all happens. The two fights that have yet to be signed are the previously mentioned fight between Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, and a fight between Zabit Magomedshapirov and Yair Rodriguez. Both are planned, and fighters are in camps, but contracts still haven’t been signed.
- While it is hard to imagine fans being at UFC events for a while, the possibility is certainly there coming in 2021, and the proposed rematch between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz will be the main event of the first show back in front of fans if things work out.
- Bellator’s final two events on Paramount Network take place this upcoming weekend, and it will be bittersweet as MMA action will exit the former Spike TV station, which has aired MMA since 2005. There is no news past Bellator moving to CBS Sports Network, and their future still remains cloudy as rumors still persist that they will be dropped by DAZN, and there is nothing new as far as rumors of Bellator events airing on CBS or Showtime.
Here are the fights I would make after UFC On ESPN+ 34:
- Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik 2
- Augusto Sakai vs. Aleksei Oleinik
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Johnny Walker/Ryan Spann winner
- Michel Pereira vs. Mike Perry
- Viviane Araujo vs. Joanne Calderwood
Coming Up This Week
The UFC continues on with more fights during the pandemic, as UFC On ESPN+ 35 takes place on Saturday at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Michelle Waterson vs. Angela Hill is the headline fight as both look to get back into the win column. Also on the main card is Ottman Aziatar vs. Khama Worthy, Roxanne Modafferi vs. Andrea Lee, Ed Herman vs. Mike Rodriguez and Billy Quarantillo vs. Kyle Nelson. Among the prelim fights are Alan Patrick vs. Bobby Green and Roosevelt Roberts vs. Matt Frevola. The entire show airs on ESPN+, with the prelims kicking off at 5 PM eastern time and the main card starting at 8 PM eastern time.
Bellator will be holding two events, with shows on Friday and Saturday from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Bellator 245 takes place on Friday and will be headlined by Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis, with a co-main event of Cat Zingano vs. Gabby Holloway. Bellator 246 takes place on Saturday as the vacant Bellator Bantamweight Championship is on the line in the main event between Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix. Also on that card is Jon Fitch vs. Neiman Gracie, Liz Carmouche vs. DeAnna Bennett and Derek Campos vs. Roger Huerta. Both shows will air on the Paramount Network at 10 PM eastern time.
Dana White’s Contender Series is back for Week 6 of their 2020 run on Tuesday at 8 PM ET on ESPN+. LFA 91 takes place on Friday, airing at 9 PM ET on UFC Fight Pass. For the fans of bare knuckle boxing, BKFC 12 will take place on Friday night as well.
This Week In MMA History
On September 8, 2007, one of the highest-rated MMA events on television took place with UFC 75 in London, England. In what ended up as being the most-watched televised MMA event in history at the time with over 4.7 million viewers and a peak of of 5.93 million viewers, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson successfully defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship over Dan Henderson, winning a unanimous decision in front of 16,235 fans at the O2 Arena.
In the co-main event, Michael Bisping scored a split decision win over Matt Hamill in one of the most controversial decisions of all-time. Also on the show, Cheick Kongo defeated Mirko Cro Cop by unanimous decision, Marcus Davis submitted Paul Taylor in the first round, and Houston Alexander knocked out Alessio Sakara in the first round.
You can watch UFC 75 on UFC Fight Pass here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/85307?playlistId=1859.