Monday MMA Round-Up: Horiguchi signs with Bellator
Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. It was a quiet week in the MMA-sphere, as UFC didn’t hold an event. That all changes this week, but let’s get into some thoughts on some of what happened, plus everything else going in the the MMA world.
Horiguchi signs with Bellator & more notes from last week
- Just about the only notable thing that happened this past week was Kyoji Horiguchi signing with Bellator after announcing he was a free agent during the week. I thought the UFC would make a bigger run at him, but apparently they didn’t, as he quickly signed with Bellator after he announced his free agency. He is a former Bellator Bantamweight Champion, but he vacated it due to injury. He is also the current Rizin Bantamweight Champion, but this looks to be an exclusive deal with Bellator. Horiguchi has yet to fight in 2021, but I believe there is zero doubt that his first fight will be challenging Sergio Pettis for the Bellator Bantamweight Championship. This was a real home-run signing for Bellator.
We have signed former @BellatorMMA Bantamweight World Champion @Kyoji1012 Horiguchi and I can’t wait to see him compete in our stacked bantamweight division. pic.twitter.com/m2YKHJf2J0
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) September 10, 2021
- I wasn’t a fan of Dana White signing all five winners on this past week’s edition of Dana White’s Contender Series to UFC contracts. Josh Quinlan, Chidi Njokuani and CJ Vergara all deserved to be signed, as all had impressive stoppage wins, and Quinlan and Vergara both had wins in less than a minute; that’s a guarantee that you’re getting a contract. The two questionable contracts went to Saimon Oliveira and Chad Anheliger. Both won their fights by split decision, and both fights were entertaining. However, both men are bantamweights, and that division is ridiculously deep; I don’t see either adding much to the division at the moment after just squeaking by with wins. I would’ve given each another fight on the Contender Series, or let them have one fight outside of the promotion to see what they do. However, the company freed up a lot of money with high-profile departures of the likes of Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson, so they have more than enough of a budget to sign every fighter who wins on the show this year, and that’s without getting into the fighter pay discussion. I really hope Dana does stop giving contracts to anyone, because it kind of kills a lot of the luster of the show if everyone who wins gets a contract.
- Speaking of Dana White and fighter pay, he came out this week blaming “the media” for making a big deal about fighter pay. I get it, his go-to is to always “blame the media” when issues are brought up. And, yes, “the media” may not “know the whole story,” but with as many fighters who have come out talking about pay lately, including on their own broadcasts, it’s really tone-deaf to blame “the media” for bringing it up. Of course, if fighters are talking about it constantly, the media is going to report and talk about it; it’s literally our jobs. It is always going to be a topic of discussion, even if fighters aren’t talking about. The best way to combat it is to change things to where fighters aren’t publicly talking about it, and to prove that fighters are making great money, because all information that comes out, especially from the anti-trust lawsuit, says otherwise. Until then, “the media” is always going to talk about it.
- Gilbert Burns vs. Neil Magny is in discussions to happen, but putting it at the “in the works” stage at this moment is a little early. Both men are looking for opponents, and it is a fight that would make a lot of sense.
- Despite suffering a knockout loss just two weeks ago, Edson Barboza wants to return in December. I think that’s a little early, but he probably sees his chances to compete for a title growing smaller-and-smaller as time goes by, and he wants to stay active and get back into that win column.
- It was a heart-breaking week for UFC fighters, personalities and employees as long-time UFC makeup artist Suzy Friton lost her courageous battle with breast cancer. Friton was a fixture at UFC events, working behind the scenes to prepare fighters for photo shoots and interviews, and also to cover up some stitches post-fight to make sure they looked better than they really did. She was also such a nice person who was at virtually every show, and if you met her just once, she always remembered your name, which is hard to do when you’re someone who meets a lot of people. I saw her at a ton of shows and would always at least say hello, if not talk for a few minutes, and she always had a smile on her face. Her death hit a lot of people hard, and the tributes poured out on social media, which showed just how much she was loved and appreciated. She will be missed.
Here are some fights that were announced over the past week:
- Nikolas Motta vs. Cameron VanCamp — UFC Fight Night — September 18
- Randy Brown vs. Jared Gooden — UFC Fight Night — October 9
- Benson Henderson vs. Brent Primus — Bellator 268 — October 16
- Alex Caceres vs. Seung Woo Choi — UFC Fight Night — October 23
- Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ike Villanueva — UFC Fight Night — October 23
- Gabe Green vs. Dwight Grant — UFC Fight Night — October 23
- Ian Garry vs. Jordan Williams — UFC 268 — November 6
- Azamat Murzakanov vs. Marcin Prachnio — UFC Fight Night — November 20
- Rafa Garcia vs. Natan Levy — UFC Fight Night — November 20
- Jimmy Crute vs. Jamahal Hill — UFC Fight Night — December 4
- Mallory Martin vs. Montserrat Conejo — UFC Fight Night — December 4
- Dricus Du Plessis vs. Andre Muniz — UFC 269 — December 11
- Anthony Hernandez vs. Dustin Stoltzfus — UFC Fight Night — December 18
- Don’Tale Mayes vs. Josh Parisian — UFC Fight Night — December 18
Coming up this week
After a quiet week, the world of MMA is ramped back up, including the UFC and Bellator running events on the same night. Here are some of the major MMA events taking place this week:
- UFC on ESPN+ 50 takes place on Saturday, September 18 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The entire card airs on ESPN+, with the main card at 7:00 p.m ET, and the prelims at 4:00 p.m ET. Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann is the main event.
- Dana White’s Contender Series 39 takes place on Tuesday, September 14 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, airing at 8:00 p.m ET on ESPN+.
- CFFC 100 takes place on Thursday, September 16 from Tampa, Florida, airing at 7:00 p.m ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- CES 64 is on Friday, September 17 from Hartford, Connecticut, airing at 8:00 p.m ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Bellator 266 takes place on Saturday, September 18 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. The main card airs at 10:00 p.m ET on Showtime, with prelims air on YouTube at 6:00 p.m ET. Yoel Romero vs. Phil Davis is the main event.
- RIZIN 30 is on Sunday, September 19, airing at 1:30 a.m. ET.
This week in MMA history
On September 19, 2015, Bellator held a special event at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, a hybrid event called Bellator 142: Dynamite 1, which was a hybrid event featuring both MMA and kickboxing bouts. The event drew 11,732 fans, and it aired on Spike TV, with 867,000 viewers, peaking at 1,200,000 viewers at a time when Bellator was a highly-watched program.
In the overall main event, Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary successfully defended the title, submitting Tito Ortiz in the first round with an inverted triangle choke. In other MMA bouts on the show, it featured a one-night light heavyweight contender tournament, which saw Phil Davis submit Emanuel Newton in the first round, and Muhammad Lawal scoring a decision over Linton Vassell in the semi-finals. However, Lawal was unable to compete in the finals, and Davis instead fought Francis Carmont, with Davis scoring a first-round knockout to win.
In a pair of kickboxing bouts on the card, Paul Daley scored a decision over Fernando Gonzalez, and Keri Taylor-Melendez won a decision over Hadley Griffith.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will preview UFC on ESPN+ 50, look at Bellator 266, talk about this past week’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, plus a special fun segment we have planned. You can listen to In The Clinch on the Fight Game Media Network on Patreon, found here.