On a weekend with three main MMA promotions operating three main reveals, the UFC was at a uncommon drawback proper out of the gate.
Whereas usually, these three initials — the vaunted U, F, and C — make sure that Dana White and co. have an edge over the competitors, UFC Vegas 61 was a decidedly weak card on paper. And that was earlier than a go to by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noticed to it that followers and media have been kicked out of the UFC Apex on Saturday, dropping the profile of an already low-profile occasion.
The playing cards promoted by ONE Championship and Bellator, then again, each featured related fighters and title fights. And that alone put them forward.
In fact, historical past has proven that even the weakest of UFC playing cards has punched up. All too usually occasions derided as “rubbish playing cards” by struggle followers over-perform and wind up being action-packed.
That was not precisely the case on Saturday, nevertheless. UFC Vegas 61 had some good fights, together with the principle occasion between Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan, and the Battle of the Night time between Daniel Santos and John Castaneda.
That having been stated, there have been loads of forgettable moments as nicely. Nobody shall be singing the praises of Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik anytime quickly; 4 of the 5 important card bouts going the gap didn’t assist issues both.
Over at Bellator 286, you had some sometimes Bellator unhealthy luck on Saturday. The cardboard kicked off with an Anderson Silva-style leg break, and on the principle card, Aaron Pico dislocated his shoulder, bringing a promising struggle with Jeremy Kennedy to a untimely finish.
On the flip aspect, maybe one of the best struggle of the night time from both promotion was Spike Carlyle vs. A.J. McKee. Sure, Santos vs. Castaneda was glorious as nicely. However McKee vs. Carlyle was simply so surprising, and so extremely entertaining. One way or the other, Spike Carlyle didn’t get the memo that he was introduced in to lose in A.J. McKee’s light-weight debut. So after strolling out to Actual American dressed as Hulk Hogan, Carlyle ran wild over McKee through the opening spherical. Just one choose scored the spherical for Carlyle, one thing of a theft, however McKee plainly received a really bloody, very enjoyable struggle.
A strong important occasion adopted, disparaged by followers who had simply witnessed McKee-Carlyle and needed extra. It didn’t assist that Lengthy Seaside, CA is McKee nation, so Patricio Pitbull, who got here out on high towards Adam Borics, was principally public enemy primary.
So who received the weekend? How about ONE Championship, who featured a superb important occasion at ONE on Prime Video 2 that greater than lived as much as expectations. Xiong Jing Nan vs. Angela Lee 3 was thrilling, nail biting, back-and-forth, and left these watching wanting a fourth struggle, which can in actual fact occur if China’s Xiong chooses to take one other stab at Lee’s atomweight title, after efficiently defending her strawweight strap as soon as once more.
Stamp Fairtex vs. Jihin Radzuan was additionally extraordinarily entertaining, as was the promotional debut of Ilya Freymanov, who was capable of end former champ Martin Nguyen.
The one draw back to ONE on Prime Video 2? Amazon’s streaming platform buried the cardboard so deep that you simply actually solely noticed it for those who have been particularly on the lookout for the occasion. That’s one thing that may hopefully change shifting ahead.