MMA Forethought: Bellator NYC
If you have been watching mixed martial arts (MMA) as long as the sport has been around, take a close look at the fight card for Bellator NYC/Bellator 180. It lists former UFC and Pride Fighting Championship veterans against one another, as well as current contenders and champions in the sport along with new, fresh talent looking to make their way in MMA. Trademarks, promotional licensing, and fighter age aside; this event has all your bases covered in MMA and Bellator is bringing it for their first event in New York City.
Earlier this year, Spike TV President Kevin Kay said in 2017 he wasn’t looking to be a distant number two to the UFC, he wanted to be a direct competitor. This Madison Square Garden features three title fights, two super-fights, and the highly anticipated MMA debuts of undefeated WBC Super Bantam and Featherweight Champ Heather “The Heat” Hardy and freestyle wrestling standout, Aaron Pico.
For the big pay-per-views in MMA Frontproof Media likes to give some forethought on how the fights could go down on the main card. We are pleased to do so for this landmark event.
Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
This is a legit and we'll known grudge match to many fans. Fitting it would be settled in a venue like Madison Square Garden. Both fighters have been away from the sport but what they did with that time is what will make the difference here.
While Sonnen was barred from competing in MMA he kept busy competing in grappling tournaments. Silva attempted to return in Rizin but had an accident that would delay that return further. While Sonnen lost his comeback match against Tito Ortiz he still has a cycle of fight camp out of the way and wants to settle this as bad as Silva. This could be Sonnen's fight to win.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione
As legendary as Emelianenko is, this sports best measuring stick is a fighter's last fight. The fight against Fabio Maldonado in Russia was controversial because Emelianenko took a lot of damage that would have awarded a stoppage anywhere else. Mitrione hits a lot harder and with the same if not more frequency than Maldonado and stands a good chance of knocking out the legendary heavyweight. But it is Fedor and Bellator MMA President Scott Coker predicts a stoppage, by whom will be determined Saturday night.
Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin
Larkin is not getting a title shot out of the gate because of the previous organization he came from but because he is a legitimate top ranked welterweight on many of the sport's rankings. Lima of course wants to test himself and the division he leads against the “new guy” in Larkin. Both men have stopping power and both want to be champions but Lima has more to lose and a lot to gain than Larkin does. Hopefully that is enough to defend but Larkin has finished top level guys and will likely come out the Victor here.
Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus
This fight seems to be the one fans are overlooking and could wind up being fight of the night. Chandler has fought for and defended the title a lot and likes being the promotions champion, taking on all comers. Primus has wrecked his way through the division and brings a lot of aggression in his fighting style. These guys are not known for trash talk because they do it all in the Bellator cage. Chandler could edge out a victory but it will be an absolute war.
Aaron Pico vs. Zach Freeman
Outside of boxing footage and his superior wrestling pedigree it's hard to say anything about Pico without seeing him in a fight. However, recent wrestlers that have crossed over into MMA through Bellator have done well but the experience gap wasn't as large as it is here. Freeman is no slouch and being undersold might push him to earn a victory over the lifelong competitor. But Pico, as anyone does in the fight game always has a punchers chance.
This event is a landmark one for more reasons than the fights on the card. It is the one letting the casual fan know that the only three letters that identify the sport are “M.M.A” and Bellator is one of the top promotions bringing it fight fans.
See the full Bellator NYC/Bellator 180 bout listing below.
Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva Card (Pay-Per-View):
Light Heavyweight Main Event: Chael Sonnen (29-15-1) vs. Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC)
Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) vs. Matt Mitrione (11-5)
Welterweight World Title Bout: Douglas Lima (28-6) vs. Lorenz Larkin (18-5, 1 NC)
Lightweight World Title Bout: Michael Chandler (16-3) vs. Brent Primus (7-0)
Lightweight Feature Bout: Aaron Pico (Debut) vs. Zach Freeman (8-2)
Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader Card (SPIKE):
Light Heavyweight World Title Bout: Phil Davis (17-3, 1 NC) vs. Ryan Bader (22-5)
Featherweight Bout: James Gallagher (6-0) vs. Chinzo Machida (5-2)
Welterweight Bout: Neiman Gracie (5-0) vs. Dave Marfone (5-2)
Women’s Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Heather Hardy (Debut) vs. Alice Yauger (4-5)
Feature Image: Ed Carbajal/Frontproof Media