Bellator FC Makes Waves With Signings

Bellator FC is making some waves with some big name signings.  The fight promotion which will air on ESPN Deportes is making some good additions.  Recently they have inked: Former EliteXC Featherweight champ Wilson Reis, DREAM lightweight finalists and #2 lightweight in the world Eddie Alvarez, lightweight fighter Jorge Masvidal and Lyman Good.  Also, they are reportedly interested in signing Nick “The Goat” Thompson, Paulo Filho, and Hector Lombard. 

Bellator will hold eight-man tournaments at featherweight (145 pounds), lightweight (155 pounds), welterweight (170 pounds) and middleweight (185 pounds). The single elimination tournaments will be televised over the course of 12 weeks ESPN Deportes.

According to a recent press release, each tournament winner will be able to earn up to $175,000 for three wins. Fighters eliminated from tournament competition will also be well-compensated with opening round winners receiving $25,000, semi-finalists getting $50,000, and finalists netting $100,000.

It looks like Bellator is very competitive with their ability to sign fighters.  Wilson Reis, for example was offered by Zuffa owned WEC, but Bellator’s offer was better.  I would assume the same for the others.  I will be curious to see what other fighters they sign. 

They may not be able to compete with the UFC, but they have already got some good fighters, they have a place to show their product and they apparently offer good pay.  This again attests to the growing popularity of MMA as ESPN is jumping into the mix.  I will be curious who else Bellator can sign.  I would love to see this move to ESPN. 

For more information, John Morgan at MMAJunkie wrote a 4 part article titled  “Getting to Know Bellator Fighting Championships”…click the links below to read those articles.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Breaking Down the UFC Middleweight Division

The Champion: Anderson Silva

The Top Contender: ?

The Next Tier:

·         Yushin Okami

·         Nate Marquardt

·         Michael Bisping

·         Dan Henderson

·         Demian Maia

·         Thales Leites

·         Patrick Cote

·         Chael Sonnen

 

On the Rise: 

·         Demian Maia

·         Michael Bisping

 

Other Notables:

·         Denis Kang

·         Rousimar Palhares

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Chris Leben

·         Ricardo Almeida

·         Nate Quarry

·         Jason MacDonald

·         Wilson Gouveia

·         Goran Reljic

·         Dan Miller

·         Dean Lister

·         Kendall Grove

·         Alan Belcher

·         Ed Herman

·         Jorge Rivera

·         Alessio Sakara

·         C.B. Dolloway

·         Mike Massenzio

·         Matt Horwich

·         Jake Rosholt

·         Amir Sadollah

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister at UFC 92 on December 27

·         C.B. Dolloway vs. Mike Massenzio at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 93 on January 17

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Yushin Okami vs. Anderson Silva

·         Thales Leites vs. Rousimar Palhares

·         Demian Maia vs. Michael Bisping

 

Other Thoughts:

·         The UFC Middleweight division is very, very underrated!  I believe it is because of Anderson Silva’s dominance.  The middleweight division does not have a clear number 1 contender, but from top to bottom I would put this division with any.  Albeit, the UFC’s competitors have some middleweight talents in the likes of guys like Gegard Mousasi, Jacare, Vitor Belfort, Matt Lindland, Jorge Santiago,and  Kazuo Misaki.  Not to mention the few solid middleweights from EliteXC such as Robbie Lawler, Joey Villasenor, Scott Smith, Frank Shamrock and Benji Radach.  The UFC is sure to pick some of those guys up

·         Rumor has it the UFC is in negotiations with top middleweight Yoshihio Akiyama.  I do not know if they call pull him away from DREAM and Sengoku, but that would be a huge add. 

·         The middleweight division is growing with adds like signing Denis Kang, the move of WEC’s division which will add Chael Sonnen and Jake Rosholt as well as guys like Aaron Simpson and Danillo Vilefort likely to come over.

·         Paulo Filho will not be in the UFC…yet.

·         TUF 9 will feature middleweight coaches with Michael Bisping being a lock.  The other names being thrown around are Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and even Demian Maia

MMA News: Paulo Filho Released By Zuffa

It is being reported from several MMA media outlets that WEC Middleweight Champion Paulo Filho has been released from Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC and WEC.  The WEC and UFC together decided to merge the WEC middleweight and light heavyweight divisons into the talent heavy UFC.  The UFC expected to pick up several solid fighters in the move including middleweight Paulo Filho who many considered to be the #2 middleweight in the world.  However, Filho had a rough year.  He beat Chael Sonnen in a controversial win and then things went down hill.  Filho checked himself into drug rehab and admitted to battling depression.  The WEC and Zuffa stuck with Filho through those problems and then gave him a second fight with Chael Sonnen.  Many people expected a renewed Filho, but that didn’t happen.  Filho went to the weigh ins and came in 9 pounds over the required 185 lbs.   He could not make weight, but Sonnen tookt he fight anyways and the fight was changed to being a non-title fight.  The fight was strange to say the least.  Sonnen dominated Filho, who looked like he was out of it and like he didn’t care.  This was most likely the final blow to his UFC dream.  Ed Soares, Filho’s manager confirmed the news:

It’s true. We’ve recevied paperwork that they’re releasing him from his contract. The WEC’s been great throughout everything, but it’s understandable. He’s had a rough year. We have faith that he’ll be back. I still believe he’s one of the best middleweights in the world.

Perhaps Soares is correct and Filho is one of the best, but his lack of ability to make weight, his drug/depression problems, his lackluster fight with Sonnen, his unwillingness to fight Anderson Silva, and his expressed desire to move to 205 lbs despite being 5’8″ all combined together did not help him.  I would bet it is off to Japan or Affliction for Filho where he can beat up on second rate competition.

WEC 36 Results and Thoughts

WEC 36 was a night full of upsets.  If I was a betting man I would have been hurting from this card.  If you look at my predictions you can see that.  Quite honestly it was not a good night for the WEC. 

  • Let me start with the main event and work my way down.  All I can say is…wow!  I did not expect that.  Urijah Faber has looked unbeatable and finally somebody dethroned the featherweight king.  I still think he is number 1 in the world, but what a KO.  I will be interested to see how the WEC works this situation out.  Will they give Urijah an instant re-match?  Will Leonard Garcia get a shot?  Will Faber fight a top contender like Garcia, Fabiano, Aldo or Tamura?  Honestly, I think he may desere a shot, but I would not be upset if they made him win one and let Garcia get first crack at the new champ. 
  • Mike Brown was innjured in the fight witha  broken rib cage and is out a few weeks.  So we will not see him defend his title for a bit.
  • The Sonnen vs. Filho fight stunk.  It wasn’t Chael’s fault at all.  What the heck was Paulo Filho doing.  He looked way out of it.  I suspect drugs.  Filho may have been drained from the weight drop.  He may not have all his personal stuff in order yet.  He may have seen this as a senseless fight.  I don’t know what the deal was.  Sonnen won easily.  I scored it 30-26…and that was being nice to Filho.  Can you say Kalib Starnes?
  • Who expected Leonard Garcia to KO Jens Pulver.  Urijah Faber couldn’t KO Pulver.  Garcia made quick work of Pulver.  He made it look easy.  I had been a Garcia doubter, but I am believing that he could be a featehrweight champ in the WEC.  He has serious knock out power and he rocked Jens.
  • Aaron Simpson looks like a solid middleweight prospect and he may have punched his ticked into the UFC with his one punch KO of David Avellan.  He is worth a shot.
  • Jake Rosholt is not just a good wrestler.  He is the real deal.  He is a future MMA star.  He looked very good and I think he will do very well in the UFC.  I’d love to see him vs. C.B. Dolloway. 
  • I also think Nissen Osterneck impressed.  He looked very good and nearly finished Rosholt.  The UFC may have lost some in the disappointing performance of Filho, but they may have gained in additions to their roster in the likes of Rosholt and guys like Osterneck and Simpson who emerged from WEC 36 with more respect in the fight world. 
  • Looks like Donald Cerrone will fight Jamie Varner for the title in January.  Razor Rob is done.

Results:

  • Mike Thomas Brown ded. Urijah Faber via TKO in round 1
  • Chael Sonnen def. Paulo Filho via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27)
  • Leonard Garcia def. Jens Pulver via TKO in Round 1
  • Jake Rosholt def. Nissen Osterneck via TKO in Round 2
  • Donald Cerrone def. Rob McCullough via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Aaron Simpson def. David Avellan via KO in Round 1
  • Jose Aldo def. Jonathan Brookings via TKO in Round 3
  • Carmelo Marrero def. Steve Steinbess via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Danny Castillo def. Rafael Dias via TKO In Round 2
  • Rani Yayha def. Yoshiro Maeda via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1
  • WEC 36 Preview and Predictions

    Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen

    This is a great fight with a great story line.  The two guys fought for the title last December and the fight ended in controversy.  Sonnen was winning the fight and suddenly Filho locked in an armbar.  Viewers could see the armbar was tight, Sonnen grimaced and even let out a scream.  The referre called a stop to the fight, but Sonnen thought it was unwarranted because he never tapped.  There was a lot of controversy concerning the stoppage, but Sonnen’s arm would have been broken if it wasn’t stopped.  This fight is a whole new fight.  Sonnen is no longer a huge underdog, although he probably is the underdog.  Filho is coming off of some serious personal issues including depression and drug rehab.  The fight vey well may be determined by Filho’s mental state.  Sonnen is no push over, he is a great wrestler with solid ground and pound skills.  He will have had a good training camp and plenty of time to prepare.  Filho ought to be ready to go.  Hopefully, he is back in the swing of things and has his problems straightened out. Following this fight both Filho and Sonnen should fight in the UFC with the WEC folding their middleweight divison along with their light heavyweight divison.  The two guys should contend for the belt right away win or lose here.  Filho has said he will not fight his good friend Anderson Silva and Anderson said the same.  Saddly, it looks like we will neve rsee the #1 vs. the #2 middleweights in the world.  Filho will be a solid competitor in the UFC.  I think a Sonnen vs. Silva match would be very interesting, but for Sonnen to get that match he has to win here.  This fight is hard to pick because Sonnen is improving so much and we do not know what Filho we will see.  My prediction may be risky, but I will pick Filho to win.  Why?  Because Filho is still the number 2 middleweight in the world.  I think that Filho will win by submission in round 2. 

    Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown

    This is another interesting fight that many are excited to see.  Some people think that Mike Brown could be a serious threat to Urijah Faber.  Faber very well could be Zuffa’s most dominant champion, and that is saying something when you consider guys like Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn have nearly cleaned out their respective divisons.  The reality is that Mike Brown is a big featherweight, he is very experienced and he is very well rounded.  He has fought in the UFC and many other places and has some good wins over guys like Jeff Curran and Yves Edwards.  Brown has good submissions, having won 11 of his 19 wins by submission, however he also seems suseptible to submissions.  All four of his wins he lost by submission.  Faber has also shown improvement.  His fight against Pulver showed incredible boxing skill.  In the end I think Faber is too well rounded.  I believe Brown could be a good fight, but Faber is the best featherweight in the world.  In the end I think Faber will hit him hard a few times.  I do not know if Brown can endure what Jens Pulver did for 5 rounds.  If it goes to the ground Faber is comofrtable there and not to mention crafty.  Either way I pick Urijah Faber to win by a rear naked choke after a few hard hits in round 3. 

    Leonard Garcia vs. Jens Pulver

    Both Pulver and Garcia enter the WEC featherweight divison via the UFC’s lightweight divison.  Pulver debuted in the WEC by winning quickly and easily over Cub Swanson.  That win earned him a shot at featherweight champ Urijah Faber.  While Faber dominated Jens, I gained respect for Pulver as he showed true toughness in that fight.  Garcia debuted with an impressive KO win over highly touted and top ten featherweight Hiroyuki Takaya.  Therefore, this makes a good fight.  Garcia may be a good fit at 145 lbs.  Pulver is certainly a good fit here.  The winner of this fight would certainly be once again at the top of the heap along with the winner of December 3rd’s featherweight clash between IFL champ Waggney Fabiano and Japanese fighter Akitoshi Tamaura and the winner of the Josh Grispi vs. Diego Nunes fight.  I do not know what the difference will be in this fight, but I will base my pick on the experience.  Pulver is very experienced.  He has fought better competiton and beaten better guys.  On paper Pulver has the far better resume.  I know that may not be the best way to pick a fight, but I think Pulver’s toughness will out last Garcia and Jens will win by unanimous decision. 

    Rob McCullough vs. Donald Cerrone

    The winner of this fight will almost assuridly get the next title show against champ Jamie Varner.  “Razor” Rob McCullough is the former lightweight WEC champ, but he lost his title to Varner.  McCullough has not looked very good in his last few fights including a split deicsion win over Kenneth Alexander.  Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone looked very impressive in his debut over Danny Castillo.  He is 8-0 and I believe he will be a tough match for “Razor” Rob.  Cerrone has won all 8 of his fights by submission, so I am pretty sure he will want this fight on the ground.  If he can get McCullough down then the fight will be over.  If it stays standing, Rob could get a KO.  Judging by how bad McCullough looked in his last fight I will pick Cerrone to win by a submission in round 1. 

    Jake Rosholt vs. Nissen Osterneck

    The fight was originally supposed to be Rosholt vs. Danillo Vilefort.  Vilefort withdrew due to injury and Osterneck stepped in.  Both these guys are prospects.  Rosholt is more than justa  stand out college wrestler.  He is a 3 time divison I champion out of Oklahamoa State University and a 4 time All-American wrestler.  He may be one of the most decorated wrestlers to enter mixed martial arts.  Rosholt began training out of Xtreme Couture and has really stepped up his game and looked impressive.  He is expected to be a future contender.  We most likely will see him in the UFC in 2009.  I do think Osterneck poses some challenges in this fight and has great submission skills, but in the end I think Rosholt will use his wrestling to control the fight and work some ground and pound.  I pick Rosholt to win this fight by TKO in round 3. 

    Carmello Marrero vs. Steve Steinbeiss

    This fight has seemed doomed from the begining for Steinbeiss who has lost two opponents.  First he was supposed to fight up and comer Mark Munoz, but Munoz withdrew tih injury.  Then he was supposed to face TUF alum Alex Schouenauer who also withdrew with injury.  This might be good news for Steinbeiss who wants to be one of the 205ers moved over to the UFC.  Marrero is a UFC vet who went 1-2 posting losses to Wilson Gouveia and Gabriel Gonzaga, but he did score a win over Cheick Kongo.  This is a tough fight to call.  Marrero has good skills, but I look for Steinbeiss to win this one by decision.

     Quick Picks:

    David Avellan vs. Aaron Simpson

    Jose Aldo vs. Jonathan Brookins

    Danny Castillo vs. Rafael Dias

    Rani Yayha vs. Yoshiro Maeda

    Paulo Filho Comments About His Future in the UFC

    Tatame has an interview with WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho

    I’m very happy with WEC. I like what I make there, I’m well paid, the event is great and I’m well recognized in America, maybe it’s better than UFC to be well-known, but I think UFC is the dream of every fighter. I fought in Pride and now I wanna be at UFC so that I could say one day that I fought at the best MMA events of the world. I think Anderson is doing the right thing. He always praises me, wants the best for me, and said we wouldn’t fight me, he’s the best, and I don’t wanna fight him too. I think he’ll go up (to light-heavyweight) and until then I’ll go there and when I get closer to the title, he’d be already retired. He already done a lot for the sport, and we they have a lot of great athletes there and I can’t let this opportunity go away, it’ll be a better motivation, show the Paulão from the Pride GP. The problem in this depression moment was motivation, it was a very complicated moment, but now things are better and I can show my best game.

    Filho has an upcoming bout with Chael Sonnen in the WEC.  Following that fight both Filho and Sonnen are expected to make their journey into the UFC.  Filho is currently the #2 ranked middleweight in the world and could challenge for the belt.  However, he and Anderson Silva will not fight one another, but Filho gives some good perspective in this fight.  The Filho vs. Sonnen match should be a good one and we will be interested to see how both do in the UFC.

     

    MMABlog’s Middleweight MMA Rankings

    The middleweights were hard to rank down towards the last 10.  Sorry if I left some good guys out.

    Rank

    Name

    Organization

    Next Fight

    1

    Anderson Silva

    UFC

     Cote (#12), 9/25

    2

    Paulo Filho

    UFC

    Sonnen (#16) 11/3

    3

    Rich Franklin

    UFC

    Next Fight at LHW

    4

    Dan Henderson

    UFC

    Next Fight at LHW

    5

    Robbie Lawler

    EliteXC?

     

    6

    Kazuo Misaki

    Strikeforce

    1/4

    7

    Nate Marquardt

    UFC

     

    8

    Matt Lindland

    Affliction

    Sobral (LHW) ) 1/24

    9

    Yushin Okami

    UFC

    Lister (NR), 12/27

    10

    Gegard Mousasi

    DREAM

    Belfort (#25,) 1/24

    11

    Thales Leites

    UFC

    McFedries (NR), 9/25

    12

    Patrick Cote

    UFC

    A. Silva (#1), 9/25

    13

    Michael Bisping

    UFC

     

    14

    Yoshihiro Akiyama

     

     

    15

    Ronaldo “Jacare” de Sousa

    DREAM

     

    16

    Chael Sonnen

    UFC

    Filho (#2) 11/3

    17

    Demian Maia

    UFC

    Quarry (#18), 11/15

    18

    Nate Quarry

    UFC

    Maia (#17), 11/15

    19

    Joey Villasenor

    EliteXC?

     

    20

    Cung Le

    Strikeforce

     

    21

    Jorge Santiago

     

     

    22

    Chris Leben

    UFC

     

    23

    Jason Macdonald

    UFC

     

    24

    Martin Kampman

    UFC

     

    25

    Vitor Belfort

    Affliction

    Mousasi (#10) 1/24

     

    Others Considered: Ricardo Almeida, Rousimar Palhares, Dean Lister, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg