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« | Home | »

Aoki’s Bellator experience pretty much goes the way you thought it would

By Zach Arnold | April 20, 2012

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April event results & cards

Date: Friday, April 6th
Location: Caesars Windsor in Ontario, Canada

Date: Friday, April 13th
Location: Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Date: Friday, April 20th
Location: I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio

March event results

Date: Friday, March 9th
Location: Hammond, Indiana at Horseshoe Casino

Date: Friday, March 16th
Location: Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana

Date: Friday, March 23rd
Location: Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas

Date: Friday, March 30th
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut

Topics: Bellator, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 56 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

56 Responses to “Aoki’s Bellator experience pretty much goes the way you thought it would”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) I love it how Travis Wiuff beats their champion in a non-title fight, and then gets thrown on the undercard for his next fight. And then has to go through a tournament to even get another shot at the champion. If that isn’t a sign that their “system” is broken, I don’t know what is.

    2) Word on the street is that Hector Lombard is UFC bound. I assume Bellator would just hold another tournament to get a new champion in that division.

    3) The Featherweight Tournament looks solid. The Lightweight Tournament has a few decent guys. The other tournaments are not that great.

    4) Right now they have 8 champions. Seems like too much. Should probably get rid of Heavyweight and the female division and just concentrate on the divisions with more talent out there.

    5) Michael Chandler vs. Akihiro Gono has been signed for a non-title fight. First, these non title fights have to go. Secondly, Gono has lost his last 2 fights and hasn’t won in over 2 years. There has to be some Lightweight out there that they can put in there for that fight.

    6) Despite having a big stretch without any UFC shows, they are still going up against TUF, SpikeTV (go figure), and WWE Smackdown. This is going to be a tough day for them. And the funniest thing is that they are waiting for Jones/Evans weekend to put on their best fight in the companies history, which is Aoki/Alvarez. Worst planning ever….

    • charlesmc206 says:

      1. If anything, they should have whispered in M\’Pumbus ear that maybe its time to cut down to Middleweight. His tournament run was awesome but he just isn\’t big enough to win consistently at Light Heavyweight.

      2. Hopefully they just let Lombard walk, there aren\’t any fights for him in Bellator anymore unless they wanted to flex some super fight magic (ALA M\’Pumbu vs Lombard champion vs champion style, not the typical beating of over matched opponents.)

      3. I think its weak they decided to abandon the female flyweight division and focus on putting on a bunch of other mediocre male tournaments instead. The fact that they never thought of putting on a 125 lbs when the cream of the division was waiting there to be had just boggles my mind.

      4. Heavyweight down to Middleweight should be completely canned in Bellator. Maybe they should consider doing a 135 tourney for the girls and starting a 125 tournament like they should have done a few years ago.

      5. Gono is going to get handled, it would make more sense if they tried to build these guys up somehow instead of just throwing them right at the champions.

      6. They can\’t really do anything about where MTV2 wants to put them. They could have picked a better venue for Aoki/Alvarez 2 than Cleveland!

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Should do about as good as EA MMA.

    Game sounds like a buttom masher….

    • Chuck says:

      Sounds like Supremacy MMA (which got less than stellar reviews). If only it played anything like EA MMA, because that game was actually good. UFC Undisputed 3 is way better though.

  3. Chuck says:

    Brent Weedman I can definitely see as a lightweight, but Rick Hawn? WTF?! I take it he isn’t taking vitamin S?

    Tonight’s Bellator card looks awesome! Well, at least the featherweight tourney and the main event. As 45 Huddle said, too bad it runs up against WWE Smackdown and TUF. Thankfully, no ESPN2 Friday Night Fights card tonight.

    For the middlweight tournament……why are they doing Vitor Vianna vs. Brian Rogers in the first round? They are the only two in the last middleweight tourney (I think) and Vianna was the runner-up. Oh well…

  4. Chuck says:

    Great KO win for Curran (as I predicted he would get)! But man did Joe Warren take a beating at the end. That was WAY too late of a stoppage from the referee. Hell, that could be a career ending loss to Warren. Good fight card! Marlon Sandro looked like his old self again, which is good.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      That ref should never ref a fight again. That was one bad stoppage.

      And it’s funny you should say “Marlon Sandro looked like his old seld again’…. Because during the tale of the tape, I noticed he was 35. I didn’t realize he was that old. He has a very short window left.

      • Chuck says:

        Yeah, Sandro does. We’ll see how he does from here. I’m predicting Bezerra to win the tourney, but the semi-finals of this bracket is a hell of a “gimme”. It could go to anyone really. And I also agree with you that the referee for the Warren/Curran fight should never ref a fight again. Just terrible…

  5. charlesmc206 says:

    Surprised no one brought up the fact that two of the tournament fights were contested on the under card. If the station isn’t going to give you the time to put on a full fight card then whats the point?

    • Chuck says:

      Only one tournament fight (Foster/Bazerra) was a prelim fight. And yeah, I agree, that is total bullshit. But I guess that rerun of Bully Beatdown had to start on time, eh?

      • charlesmc206 says:

        I thought they said that Straus X Spoon had happened earlier in the night?

        I didn’t even watch the main event I was so annoyed by the whole thing, that and thanks to programming bully beatdown the way they did I was guaranteed to pretty much miss the entire fight.

        One other thing, “small featherweight” translates to “fighting in the wrong weight class”. Ronnie Mann needs to cut to 135 or 125, Mike Corey handled Mann without much trouble in those second and third rounds. Reminds me a lot of the Maxi vs Pat Healy fight.

        • Chuck says:

          Naw, Spoon/Straus happened live. Yeah Mann is too small for featherweight. And he seems to wear down late in his fights. I don’t know if he tires easily (doesn’t look that way) or his muscles and.or joints just get worn down of whatever, but he wears down late.

  6. EJ says:

    That KO by Lil’ Frog was one of the most vicious knockouts i’ve ever seen, I was screaming at the ref. to stop it sooner. While i’m very happy about Pat Curran continuing to make me look good, i’m even happier that he’s got Jeff Curran in his corner.

    If it wasn’t for him urging Pat to take it to Warren because he was down on the cards, he could have let it slip through is fingers like he did against Alvarez. Pat has all the tools in the world to be elite but he still has thinks to work on and Bellator is perfect for him right now.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “he could have let it slip through is fingers like he did against Alvarez.”

      Did I miss something? Alvarez worked him bell-to-bell, like utterly dominant shutout and everyone spent their time bitching about how Eddie couldn’t finish him blah blah blah. I don’t recall anything slipping through his fingers – lil help here?

  7. edub says:

    Really wish Pat could move to the UFC. The guy could be an excellent match up for really everybody at 145 (besides maybe Aldo).

    It might be because two fights on TUF got stopped hella early, but I don’t mind the later than expected stoppages. I guess I really should watch it again to have a better opinion of it though.

    I wonder what the ratings look like.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Pat Curren is definitely a top 10 fighter. I don’t think he is top 5, but you never know. He is one of the few Bellator Champions that I think has the style to do very well in the UFC. He is technical and strong for his weight class.

      He likely has 2 years and 4 to 5 fights left before he can move to the UFC. And that’s what we are really seeing. A fighter needs to go 7-1 or 8-0 over a 3 year period to be able to go to the UFC. That’s a tough, almost no room for error path.

    • charlesmc206 says:

      I think in the future Pat Curran could be a real challenge for Aldo. The guy is a real deal legit talent at 145 lbs.

  8. Light23 says:

    Wow, the video Bellator released makes the stoppage look fine, but I saw a gif and he was getting lit up for ages before?! Brutal.

  9. richie7125 says:

    Awesome promo. Definitely looking forward to the next season. Last season was crazy; and obviously ended with a bang with one of the best fights of all time. Definitely going to be watching this closely, especially with the new Spike deal.

  10. david m says:

    That was one of the worst stoppages I’ve ever seen. Warren is never going to be the same. Horrible. He could have sufffered serious brain damage. Do mma refs not get it that just because someone isn’t on the ground, it doesn’t mean he is protecting himself? That ending reminded me of Corrales vs Castillo, except that Tony Weeks actually realized when Castillo was out on his feet, rather than letting him get beaten half to death.

  11. Manapua says:

    For such a violent sport MMA fans are way too sensitive. The referee did a perfect job in that fight IMO. Warren was trying to recover in the process of taking a beating and referee waived it off once he was certain that Warren was finished. We have way too many early stoppages because of oversensitive fans and promoters who are scared to death.

  12. Manapua says:

    “Do mma refs not get it that just because someone isn’t on the ground, it doesn’t mean he is protecting himself? That ending reminded me of Corrales vs Castillo, except that Tony Weeks actually realized when Castillo was out on his feet, rather than letting him get beaten half to death.”

    Castillo beat Corrales 5 months later and fought 15 more times after that.

  13. Manapua says:

    Keep in mind that Warren has come back from being hurt to win several times in his career. The guy was the champion and deserves the benefit of the doubt.

  14. Megatherium says:

    Thiago Michel is one to watch. I wish they would get away from matching him with wrestlers though.

    Kind of a buzzkill.

  15. 45 Huddle says:

    The pacing of the last few shows has been really bad. I understand they need to get commercials in between fights, but even with that it feels like an eternity between fights sometimes.

    I’ve been finding that I couldn’t care less about 95% of the 1st round tournament fights. My interest is peaked for their “world title” fights. They are of a high enough quality that at least they are fun to watch.

    • Manapua says:

      45 Huddle lining up to suck off the UFC as usual. Doesn’t it get old?

      • The Gaijin says:

        Dude…honestly, unwarranted and just not cool.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Not only did I suck… But I swallowed the entire “tournament” that Rebney gave me….

        I’ve been just as critical of UFC related stuff. UFC Tonight is 80% garbage. I almost never watch TUF because it bores me. And I have enjoyed the title fights of Bellator….

        But hey, if having a legit opinion means I’m a one sided fan, then so be it.

  16. The Gaijin says:

    Zach – any thoughts on the big rumour that Brock Lesnar is going to be making a surprise appearance at Wrestlemania tomorrow night (likely to set up something for next year’s WM)?

    That certainly didn’t take him long. You can take your bow now.

  17. Chuck says:


    On the April 13th card they added the Prindle vs. Konrad heavyweight title fight under their bantamweight title fight. Just wanted to let you know.

  18. […] Bellator March action review & a preview of April’s coming attractions | Fight Opinion […]

  19. 45 Huddle says:

    Watching Ben Askren dry hump Douglas Lima for 5 rounds was actually mildly entertaining for the first 2 rounds. It was interesting to see how great Askren is at transitioning out of bad positions time and time again. However, by the 3rd round and beyond, it was just painful to watch the same old thing.

    Ben Askren is an interesting fighter. His grappling alone will beat 95% of the fighters out there. He would even beat guys like Carlos Condit & Nick Diaz. Most guys just cannot compete with it.

    The problem I see for him in the future is if he makes the transition to the UFC…. What happens to him against this crop of fighters…

    Georges St. Pierre, Jake Ellenberger, Johnny Hendricks, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and a few others….

    Basically, the guys who can wrestle enough with him to keep him on this feet and punish him. He is going to look like an amteur against these fighters. His striking is still pathetically bad. Even if he does get the takedown, he doesn’t have the ground and pound to make the fighters pay. Which means during the next stand exchange he is still a sitting duck.

    So the UFC matchmaking could really make or break him. But eventually he will have to fight a solid wrestler (better then Jay Hieron)…. And he is toast.

    • Chuck says:

      Askren really is something else. It’s almost like he can add a hundred pounds to himself when he stacks himself to get out of submissions. It’s crazy.

      Biggest disappointment besides the main event was Pop Bezzerra. He really should have been able to beat Marlon Sandro. But he just gave Sandro WAY too much respect in the first two rounds. I understand his gameplan was to land a big counter shot, just like how Pat Curran beat him (they even used that fight as an example) but you can’t just hang back and hope a hail-Mary shot will do the trick. Nine times out of ten it won’t. The Bantamweight fights were good though. I was surprised Nakamura got a unanimous decision over Rodrigo Lima. And Ueda, while losing, still looked competent with Marx. Marx was just way stronger (he clearly cut a ton of weight to make 135, whereas Ueda probably weighs no more than 8 or so pounds above 135).

    • EJ says:

      Lima’s performance in that fight was one of the most pathetic showings i’ve ever seen in a title fight anywhere. Seriously this is the guy that Hieron was passed over his rematch for what a joke, what’s an even bigger joke as the announcers trying to make Askren sound untouchable after Jay exposed him in his last fight.

      • Chuck says:

        It’s not so much that Hieron was passed over in favor of Lima winning (in spectacular fashion no less) the last welterweight tournament. Remember, fighters only get title shots if they win those tournaments. I think it sucks, but that is how they operate.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Yeah, but then again, actually looking at the facts would defeat the whole fake “controversy” angle he’s going for.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Oh yes. Fighters can only get a title shot by winning a tournament. A tournament in which every round that can be manipulated by matchmaking is. A tournament in which grants a fighter a title shot, when a fighter who wins a non-title fight against the champion gets placed on the undercard for his next bout.

          The tournament format is not only a hoax, it has proven to get in the way of even logical, merit based title shots.

          Wiuff deserves a title shot right now. Hieron probably should have one fight maximum before getting another title shot. Because beating a champion (Wiuff) and lossing in a razor close decision (Hieron) deserves a title shot more then beating 8 random fighters in a tournament.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Right, so one legit complaint out of how many titleshots? The horror – the system is not perfect but if they started picking and choosing when to not follow it I’ll bet my house on who’d be among those leading the charge for how it’s being abused and manipulated!!

          It’s a promotion based on a tourney gimmick and *gasp* they’re following the tourney gimmick. Sorry if no one feigns outrage over this “hoax”.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The Tournaments can still be for title shots. But a simple allowance of leeway would go a long way to making the titles more important.

          A former Bellator Champion has no business going back into a 3 month tournament to earn a shot. Eddie Alvarez already earned contender status by winning the tournament and defending the belt. If he beats Shinya Aoki, he is 100 times more qualified to fight next for the belt then anybody who wins the next tournament. There is no denying that no matter how many ways you look at it.

          Travis Wiuff has more claim to the next title shot then anybody else in Bellator.

          These are concrete examples of how the tournament format is failing.

          Once again, continue to use the tournaments to create title challengers. But there needs to be an alternative path for former champions and tournament winners. Requiring them to win another tournament is pissing off fans.

  20. Vadim says:

    Calm down 45, its Jay Hieron. Its not like Askren won a close fight against someone people actually want to watch. Hieron is way old news, Lima earned his title shot.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I have no problem with Douglas Lima getting a title shot. He won the tournament and earned his title shot. That makes logical sense. Actually, it makes perfect logical sense.

      The problem is that Bellator has absolutely no good way of getting former champions, former tournament winners, and challengers winning non-title fights… back into the title picture without going through a 3 month tournament again.

      And that is a huge flaw.

      Wiuff shouldn’t have to win another 3 or 4 fights before he fights for the title.

      If Alvarez beats Aoki, he shouldbe fighting for the title next, not required to go back into the tournament.

      Hieron, who lost a very close decision, should be 1 fight away from a title shot, not 3.

      And if you notice…. The fighters are balking at this as well. Alvarez said no to a tournament again. So did Hieron. It just is not working for the fighters or the fans.

      Go use the tournament format to create as many title challengers as possible. That’s fine. But Bjorn Rebney has not figured out what to do with fighters once they have passed that goal….. And that is not good.

      • Chuck says:

        This is pretty damn rare, but I agree with every single word of 45’s. The tournament should be used to create title challengers, but Wuiff really should get an immediate title rematch against M’Pumbu. The Aoki/Alvarez winner should get the next shot against Chnadler. Hieron should probably be one fight or so away from a title rematch against Askren.

        On another note, Joe Warren should be rocketed to the moon so that he could be as far away from the Bellator cage as possible.

      • The Gaijin says:

        So – basically, you’ve changed from acting like it’s a controversy and saying the brackets are/can be manipulated and it’s a hoax to it’s a flaw.

        Everyone agrees it’s a flaw in the system. But let’s stop acting like Hieron “got screwed” or they’ve “screwed” Wiuff – the flaw in the system is not “fair” to those guys necessarily but it is objectively fair to everyone b/c title shots are only awarded to tourney winners.

        Would I like to see this fixed? Absolutely. But they need to come up with a set way to address this rather than willy-nilly selecting “at random” when to move away from tourney winner only system for “guys who deserve it”.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          When did I ever say it was a controversy? It was a razor close decision that could have gone to either fighter.

          Either way, Hieron should have been 1 fight away from getting a rematch.

          The problem is that Bellator has no system in place for the established guys.

  21. 45 Huddle says:

    People are taking this to mean that the UFC is siding with Alistair Overeem and still trying to get him to fight. I don’t see that at all. I think they are purposely pushing the issue and looking to get it documented that he got his license revoked. This will mean from there he will either be fired or be out for a year before he can re-apply.

    With that said, if Alistair Overeem does end up fighting JDS for the title in May…. And that will mean both the AC and UFC are to blame…. You can basically say good bye to me as a devoted MMA fan. I will watch a few of the bigger PPV’s because I love fights. But my interest in the sport will instantly be reduced by such blatant abuse of the rules.

  22. Manapua says:

    You are very wrong UFC Huddle. MMA needs an organized competitive structure before it truly call itself/be seen as a mainstream sport.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      With top guys only capable of competing 4 times maximum a year, having an organized structure is basically impossible. All of the other mainstream sports have athletes who compete a minimum of 16 times (football) and as many as 162 times (baseball). That is why they can easily create a league with rules on how one earns titles.

      That is impossible in MMA.

      Besides, the only reason why Bellator does the tournament structure is to cap fighter pay costs. It guarantees that only 2 to 4 guys per division at any given time can warrent a decent salary.

  23. Manapua says:

    Askren is sensational and is being brought up the right way by his management. He can beat anyone in Bellator with his dominant wrestling alone while he works up other parts of his game. What’s incredible about Askren is that he is not blast doubling his way through everyone. The guy is using incredible technique and variety in his takedown game. People say he is boring but I find his fights to be very interesting from a technique standpoint.

  24. RST says:

    I still cant get behind Bellator while their on mtv.

    But SOMEBODY needs to make a viable alternative to the UFC.

    The pride nitwits warned us, and it came true.

    UFC is getting abusive without comp.

  25. 45 Huddle says:

    Aoki is a fantastic one trick poney. And that one trick even caught Alvarez before. But when then trick doesn’t work, he sure looks bad.

    I’m sure some people will still rank Aoki in the Top 10, but any reasonable opinion knows he has no business being there.

    The Alvarez/Aoki fight was always going to completely bury the winner and give new life to the winner. Alvarez now has some solid negotiating power…. And Aoki’s career as a contender is basically over.

    • Tomer says:

      I really have no idea why Aoki thinks it was a good idea standing with Alvarez when he was probably better off continually going for rolling leg locks or something similar given his terrible, terrible chin.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I’d like to pretend that Alvarez getting his revenge on Aoki actually meant something in the grand scheme of things, outside of negotiating leverage and beating a “top 10 fighter”, but frankly this was and is the type of fight Alvarez needed/needs to win to be relevant in the LW picture.

      Aoki is really elite at the one thing he does, but has way too many holes for the North American game. He might actually be the worst great fighter I have ever seen.

      • Dave says:

        For what it’s worth, I was actually impressed with Aoki’s stand up last night. He’s usually really bad on his feet and last night he was at least alright. I’m not sure why he went for an elbow instead of a hook, that is just a guy who hasn’t been striking long enough to have that intuition.

        • The Gaijin says:

          You make a good point, Dave – it did look a lot better than usual and he has been improving since moving to Evolve MMA but unfortunately I think it’s too late. And to be a top level guy looking “alright compared to your usually horrible stand up” isn’t cutting it.

  26. Vadim says:

    I think Aoki’s days of being Top Ten are long gone. I am sure he can do well in ONE FC submitting dudes who have no ground game to speak of but he isn’t ever going to amount to anything stateside.

    Its sad but its true. Time to start fighting for steady paychecks or just hang up the gloves because Aoki is done.


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