Makhachev, Mousasi score main event wins
Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. Events were held by both UFC and Bellator this past weekend, so let’s dive right in to all of the happenings.
- Islam Makhachev has to be next in line for a shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship after a dominant first-round submission of Bobby Green in the main event of Saturday’s UFC On ESPN+ 60 event. It marked the 10th straight win for Makhachev, with four straight finishes. The only knock on him has been he’s yet to beat a top-level fighter, with only two wins over a currently ranked fighter. That’s not necessarily his fault, as a lot of fights he’s been booked in have seen changes, including this one, but it’s still an impressive record and he’s worthy of challenging for the title.
- You have to give Bobby Green tons of credit for stepping up to fight Islam Makhachev on ten days’ notice, and he did everything right in the week of the fight. Unfortunately, the preparation time wasn’t going to be enough to fight someone like Makhachev, and it showed. I don’t doubt Green would’ve done better with more time to get ready, but the circumstances are what they were. This loss shouldn’t be held against him at all, and I hope he got paid well for it.
- If you missed UFC On ESPN+ 60 on Saturday, it was a show that ended up being much better than it was on paper. There were some really good fights, some impressive finishes, and tons of blood. Joel Alvarez, especially, was bloody, getting a 10 on the Muta Scale.
- Gegard Mousasi retained the Bellator Middleweight Championship in the main event of Bellator 275 on Friday in impressive fashion, making quick work of an over-matched Austin Vanderford, finishing him in 1:25 of the first round. Mousasi declared after the fight that he is the best middleweight in the world, and he’s got a strong case. He’s been one of the best middleweights in the world for over a decade, holding titles in both Bellator and Strikeforce. He never got a UFC title shot while with the promotion, though he came close. It would be interesting to see him make a UFC return, because he could instantly challenge Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship. There just doesn’t seem like much left for him in Bellator, and there’s only one way to prove he’s the best middleweight in the world like he claims. It might take a while because he does have six fights left on his Bellator deal. No matter what, that is a fight I want to see.
- Scott Coker made an interesting fight following Bellator 275, and a real head-scratcher of a fight as well. Sinead Kavanagh scored a unanimous decision win over Leah McCourt on the card, and Coker announced after the fight Kavanagh would fight Cris Cyborg for the Bellator Women’s Featherweight Championship next, with the fight coming “soon”. I’m going to ignore the fact that Kavanagh looked to suffer some decent damage to her leg in the fight. It’s obvious that McCourt was going to get the title shot had she won. Giving Kavanagh the shot is an absolutely idiotic and strange move. Kavanagh just fought Cyborg in November, just over three months ago, and it wasn’t even a competitive fight as Cyborg finished her in just 1:32. To be honest, Kavanagh didn’t really deserve the title shot the first time around, and she definitely doesn’t deserve another shot, especially this soon. I would’ve rather Coker and the matchmakers wait a couple of weeks to figure things out. I know they need to get Cyborg a fight because her contract is getting close to coming due, but this is one of the dumbest moves they’ve ever made. It’s absolutely horrendous.
- Conor McGregor was in attendance at Bellator 275, supporting his SBG Ireland teammates, and did an interview with Severe MMA’s Sean Sheehan while at the show. The biggest takeaway is he said he should be cleared to start sparring in April with a planned return to come in July if everything goes right. He’s also planning on adapting a new fighting style. He also urged Charles Oliveira to pull out of his planned title defense against Justin Gaethje in May and wait a month or two, which is his way of saying he wants a title shot against Oliveira for his return. I know there’s a special set of rules involving McGregor, and I get it 100%. But, him getting a title shot after the two losses to Dustin Poirier shouldn’t even be in the discussion.
- The title fight between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira and top contender Jiri Prochazka is being moved to the UFC 275 event in June, with a date and location to be announced. That leaves just one title fight, for now, on the UFC 274 card in May, which still doesn’t have a location announced.
- The main event of UFC London between Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall is in jeopardy due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the United Kingdom currently being unwilling of approving visas for Russian athletes. That puts Volkov in jeopardy of being unable to compete on the card, as well as Timur Valiev, Shamil Abdurakhimov and Sergei Pavlovich as they await visa approval.
- Henry Cejudo named his top five fighters of all-time this past week on his podcast, and, while I wouldn’t normally give stuff like this attention, he did something that completely lives up to his cringe mantra and put himself in his top five, putting himself at number four, ahead of Georges St. Pierre and Khabib Nurmagomedov, among others. If you’re a fighter, please, never put yourself in your list of top fighters of all-time. It’s 100% egotistical. Not that it’s something I didn’t expect from Cejudo. Henry, fight again, please.
- UWC 31 on Friday in Tijuana, Mexico had a rare gogoplata finish in the main event as Adrian Luna Martinetti submitted Brandon Uruchurtu in the second round. Hopefully, the finish at least earned Martinetti a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series as it did move his professional record to 9-1.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) February 26, 2022
Here are the fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC On ESPN+ 60 on Saturday:
- Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira-Justin Gaethje winner
- Bobby Green vs. Brad Riddell
- Wellington Turman vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
- Priscila Cachoeira vs. Jessica Eye
- Arman Tsarukyan vs. Gregor Gillespie
- Armen Petrosyan vs. Chidi Njokuani
- Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Matt Frevola
- Terrance McKinney vs. Mike Davis
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Devonte Smith vs. Ludovit Klein — UFC 272 — March 5
- Sabina Mazo vs. Miranda Maverick — UFC Fight Night — March 12
- JJ Aldrich vs. Gillian Robertson — UFC Fight Night — March 12
- Sam Hughes vs. Istela Nunes — UFC Fight Night — April 16
- Miguel Baeza vs. Andre Fialho — UFC Fight Night — April 16
- Charles Jourdain vs. Lando Vannata — UFC Fight Night — April 23
- Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux — UFC 274 — May 7
- Michael Johnson vs. Alan Patrick — UFC 274 — May 7
- Brandon Royval vs. Matt Schnell — UFC 274 — May 7
- Journey Newson vs. Fernie Garcia — UFC 274 — May 7
- Paul Daley vs. Andrey Koreshkov — Bellator London — May 13
- Nick Maximov vs. Andre Petroski — UFC Fight Night — May 14
- Omar Morales vs. Uros Medic — UFC Fight Night — May 21
- Joseph Holmes vs. Alen Amedovski — UFC Fight Night — May 21
- Jeff Molina vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- Ode Osbourne vs. Zarrukh Adashev — UFC Fight Night — June 4
Here are some of the notable MMA events taking place this week:
- UFC 272 takes place on Saturday, March 5, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET. The main preliminary card is at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+, while early preliminary card coverage begins on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET. Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal is the main event.
- Titan FC 74 takes place on Friday, March 4 from Miami, Florida, airing at 6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- CES 66 takes place on Friday, March 4 from Lincoln, Rhode Island, airing at 7 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Cage Warriors 133 takes place on Friday, March 4 from San Diego, California, airing at 8 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Unified MMA 43 takes place on Friday, March 4 from Enoch, Alberta, Canada, airing at 9 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- PFL Challenger Series 3 takes place on Friday, March 4 from Orlando, Florida, airing at 9 p.m. ET on fuboTV.
This week in MMA history
March 2, 2013 marked the final UFC fight for two men who have different, and lasting, legacies in the sport of mixed martial arts as UFC On FUEL TV 8 took place in the historic Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan in front of 14,682 fans.
In the main event, Wanderlei Silva scored a second-round knockout of Brian Stann in one of the most exciting fights of 2013. Silva, the PRIDE legend, was fighting in Japan for the first time in six-and-a-half years, and it would end up being his final UFC bout. He has fought twice since, losing two bouts with Bellator. It ended up being the final fight in the career of Stann, who would continue to commentate for FOX Sports’ UFC broadcasts until leaving that position in 2017.
In the co-main event, Mark Hunt scored a third-round knockout of Stefan Struve in one of the best knockouts of 2013. The rest of the main card saw Diego Sanchez score a split decision over Takanori Gomi, Yushin Okami won a split decision over Hector Lombard, Rani Yahya beat Mizuto Hirota by unanimous decision, and Dong Hyun Kim beat Siyar Bahadurzada by unanimous decision. Among the winners on the prelims included Brad Tavares, Takeya Mizugaki and Alex Caceres.
You can watch UFC On FUEL TV 8 on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look ahead to the big UFC 272 event this upcoming weekend. We will also look back at UFC On ESPN+ 60 and Bellator 275, plus check out all of the news and fight announcements of the week. In The Clinch is part of The Fight Game Media Network of podcasts, which are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and our Patreon page. We will also have a special post-UFC 272 edition of the show that will be exclusively available to all of our Patreon subscribers.