By JP Scarano, exclusively for TheFightWorld.com
This past Saturday night fight fans got a huge treat with a weekend day filled with professional fights. We saw UFC 180, BellatorMMA 131, and W.S.O.F. 15 take place. These promotions are the product of the top 3 MMA companies in the U.S. and they all had fights on Saturday, November 15, 2014. I don’t know about your DVR but mine was working overtime taping BellatorMMA and W.S.O.F while I watched UFC 180 live. I am going to discuss each event and I want to get your thoughts on them.
W.S.O.F. 15 took place in Tampa, Florida. This fight card was supposed to have a triple title fight card but co-main event fighter, Melvin Guillard, missed weight for his world lightweight title fight. As a result, W.S.O.F. made the co-main event a catch weight fight so if Champion Justin Gaethje lost he would still be the champion. However, Gaethje didn’t lose. Instead, he battled a tough fight against Guillard. With a split decision, the judges awarded Gaethje the win.
In the first title fight of the night Women’s World Strawweight Champion, Jessica Aguilar, defended her title against Kalindra Faria. Aguilar won with a unanimous decision and she has never looked better. She showed us why is she is one of the best Strawweights in the world. In my opinion, after Saturday’s fight I think we might see Aguilar fighting in the UFC sooner then we think.
The W.S.O.F. Main Event for the evening showcased World Middleweight Champion Dave Branch as he was set to defend his title for the first time against UFC top contender, Yushin Okami. This was a back and forth fight and saw some early finishes but Branch retained his title in the end with a 4th round TKO. This was one of the best cards that W.S.O.F has had so far and I am hoping to see more fights like this from them in 2015.
BellatorMMA 131 took place in San Diego, California. Man! This fight card had nothing but hate and payback written all over it. In the light-heavyweight fight we saw King Mo defeat late replacement, Joe Vedepo. King Mo won by TKO and he demonstrated why he should get a title shot soon.
At catchweight of 143lbs, Mike Richman defeated Nam Phan by knockout in the first round and man, that was just nasty how fast Richman knocked Phan out.
In a middleweight bout Joe Schilling, whom you have seen in Glory Kickboxing, took on fellow kickboxer, Melvin Manhoef. These two fighters didn’t let the crowd or the TV audience down! It was all over in the second round when Schilling knocked out Manhoef with a beautiful combo to take the win.
The co-main event of the evening was for the Undisputed World Lightweight Championship and a rematch between Interim World Lightweight Champion, Will Brooks and. form champion, Michael Chandler. These two men had a great fight the first time around where we saw Brooks take the split decision from Chandler. This rematch has left a few questions that need to be answered. This is mainly due to the fact that in the fourth round Chandler looked like he was trying to get the Ref’s attention but didn’t get it. Brooks came at Chandler and just kept the heat on him till the Ref called for a TKO. My thoughts here are that Chandler was out on his feet but a lot of the fans and fighters thought he got caught in the eye. What do you fans think?
In the Main Event of the evening we saw two UFC Hall of Famers go at it in what was just a heated and hate-filled fight against one another. This was the light-heavyweight fight between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar. Their rivalry began back in the UFC when they first met and just kept it going to BMMA. This was a tough fight for both men but Ortiz used his wrestling and good foot work to keep Bonnar at bay. Bonnar, however, was getting the better combos and demonstrating why he is one tough SOB. But it came down to a decision by the judges and Ortiz took the split decision. Do I see a rematch with these two warriors? Maybe. Let me know what you think!
UFC 180 was held in Mexico City, Mexico. This was the first time a UFC event has been held in Latin America and this crowd was HOT for these fights and itwas just amazing to watch the fans go nuts on-screen. The UFC had been wanting to come to Latin America for a long time and with the growing success of The Ultimate Figther show the UFC decided to have The Ultimate Fighter in Latin America to crown the first Featherweight & Bantamweight Champions. There is so much to say about this card and fights that I can’t just write about it I am going to talk about it in a video, as well. Let’s get started with the prelims on FOX Sports.
Gabriel Benitez defeated Humberto Brown with a good submission (guillotine choke) in the third round. This fight was back and forth and showcased a lot of skill.
In the women’s bantamweight fight Jessica Eye defeated Leslie Smith. This matchup was a fight to stay in the UFC for both these ladies. I mean they went back and forth until the second round where we saw Eye pounding on Smith pretty good. We saw blood flying around and didn’t know where it was coming from until we saw Smith’s ear and OMG that was the nastiest thing I have seen in a long time! The Referee and the official Doctor stopped the fight because they were looking out for Smith’s well-being. If you have seen what I am talking about then please tell me what you think.
In the men’s bantamweight fight for the TUF: Latin America Title, it was Alejandro Perez defeating Jose Quinonez by unanimous decision. This was a good, tough fight for both of these men. Perez came out the winner as a result of his take downs and his control of the ring.
The featherweight fight for TUF: Latin America Title was Yair Rodriguez defeating Leonardo Morales by another unanimous decision. This was a really good fight as well and kept the crowd happy and pumped up.
Now for the main fight card. I am going to stop here for a second to say this so bear with me. I have never seen this happen in the UFC or any other combat fights at all. Each fight with the exception of the main event didn’t finish the first round and these were fights that you were like, WOW!, that was awesome.
The first fight on the PPV was in the welterweight division with Hector Urbina defeating Edgar Garcia by submission (guillotine choke). This was just a great way to kick off the PPV and main card with back and forth fighting and seeing Urbina come in with a slick move to catch Garcia off guard.
Also in the welterweight division, we saw Augusto Montano defeat Chris Heatherly by TKO. These guys definitely showed us why they wanted to be here for this fight, but Montano wanted it more and took the match by TKO.
In a featherweight fight, Ricardo Lamas defeated Dennis Bermudez who was on a 7-fight winning streak until he got caught by a good jab from Lamas that sent him down to the mat. That’s where Lamas applied the guillotine choke and submitted Bermudez.
For the co-main event in the welterweight division it was Kelvin Gastelum defeating Jake Ellenberger by rear naked choke. I thought Ellenberger was doing really well and showing how much he has been working on his striking and coming along but Gastelum was just on fire. He has been showing more and more improvement for being such a young fighter.
Now for the main event of the evening, the UFC Interim World Heavyweight Championship. It was supposed to be the TUF: Latin America coaches Cain Velasquez taking on Fabricio Werdrum for the World Heavyweight Championship but the champion Velasquez got hurt and need surgery on his knee. So, the UFC called up Mark Hunt to see if he wanted to fight Fabricio Werdum for the Interim World Heavyweight Championship. Hunt said YES before the question was fully finished and started training for this fight immediately. I mean they both looked good and both took this fight seriously.
In the first round of this fight I saw Hunt getting off great combos and showing how much he has improved his ground and defense game. However, it was the second round that shocked us. Werdrum, with a knee, sent Hunt to the floor where we saw Werdrum just hammer him and kept it going until the Referee called for the TKO. Fabricio Werdrum is the new Interim World Heavyweight Champion!
Now we have to wait to see what fate has in store for Cain Velasquez. We will see if he will be back by March to take on Werdrum for the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship or is Velasquez going to get stripped of his title because he needs more time to heal? Time will tell.