Bellator 200 Event Recap
Bellator MMA just wrapped up its 200th MMA event in London, England. Heading into fight week we had a main event rematch for the ages featuring Mirko Cro Cop vs Roy Nelson but Cro Cop suffered a knee injury. Nelson was scrapped off of the card and Rafael Carvalho vs Gegard Mousasi was bumped up to the main event slot. Outside of the main event the return of one of Bellator’s most exciting fighters Michael “Venum” Page vs longtime Bellator fighter David Rickels had fans geared up for some great free fights. The return of Anastasia Yankova and Conor McGregor’s teammate Charlie Ward also had fans ready to watch not just the main card but the entire card which is a great feat for Bellator MMA.
So for my four biggest winners of the night what is next ?
Easily the biggest winner of the night as Mousasi took home the Bellator Middleweight Title. Mousasi left the UFC due to a contract issue and reunited with his former boss Scott Coker. Coker and Mousasi have had a great friendship dating back to the Strikeforce days. I saw Mousasi as a heavy favorite heading into this fight and I don’t mean any disrespect to the now former champion Carvalho but Mousasi has fought the best of the best and has competed in over 50 professional mixed martial arts bouts. What’s next for Mousasi should be one of the easiest decisions that Bellator has ever made. Mousasi needs to fight Rory McDonald in a “Champion vs Champion” bout. I see that fight coming up next and it very well could headline a Pay-Per-View this summer. Thus far the biggest plus and minus of Bellator is that the man running the show Scott Coker loves putting his product on national television which is great for getting as many eyeballs as possible and Bellator needs as many eyeballs on their product as possible, but these cards are getting better and the days have passed Bellator by where MMA fans don’t really care. MMA fans do care about the product that is Bellator MMA their roster has heavily improved with draws of yesteryear and draws of today and it has huge potential to grow. My advice to Scott Coker is to not have the card’s on tape delay any longer. Give us Mousasi vs McDonald LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW.
“MVP” put together an extremely dominant performance vs David Rickels and one could honestly say that Rickels’ biggest attribute is his toughness, but Page’s strikes were far too much for Rickels. Michael Page represents the future for Bellator MMA. Among many of the stars Bellator has been building within the last year fighters like Aaron Pico and James Gallagher come to mind but Page stands currently in my mind as the future of the promotion. In the fight game some fighters are quoted as saying “any time any place anywhere” and Page has that mentality but Bellator needs to continue to build him and prop him up by putting him in fights with name opponents but it would be a huge stretch to say Page deserves a title shot. A fight that has made all the sense in the world for the last few years is Michael Page vs Paul Daley. The two have an extremely heated rivalry and were scheduled to fight once before but it never happen. With a win over Daley, Page would move up to another level. He would become a contender with a loss it would be a setback but this is the moment Page has worked for. Page vs Daley make it happen Scott Coker.
One of the first fights on the card featured former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Phil Davis vs contender Linton Vassell. The fight was back and forth for the first two rounds but Davis showed he was far more athletic than Vassell and could Vassell with a devastating head kick in the third round. What could be next for Davis? I honestly don’t know. He has lost to Ryan Bader twice in two fights that if you watched them at the same time you would only notice that the first one was in a UFC octagon. The fights were almost the exact same fight and neither fight was exciting. I would like to see Davis continue to take whoever Bellator thinks makes the most sense for him and work back up to a title fight. A title shot at this point wouldn’t make much sense to me. Regardless this was a great victory for Phil.
Jackson was a former Ultimate Fighter contestant who most believed would not beat the undefeated Anastasia Yankova last night. She did. She didn’t just beat Yankova she dominated Yankova in what I would consider a “well-rounded” performance. She won on the feet. She won on the ground. She defended the strikes, clinch and takedown fairly well. There were some moments where both Jackson and Yankova were exhausted which I expected to see given the high volume of the first two rounds. This was a big win for Jackson and for a fighter that was at one point considering retirement this was a great win. Congrats to Kate Jackson she will surely get another fight sometime soon and I expect to see her fight another name opponent.
All in all Bellator 200 was a success despite the main event fallout. Gegard Mousasi is now the Middleweight Champion and Michael Page is becoming the superstar Bellator hoped he would be. I consider that a success in that of itself but what you have Charlie Ward winning via first round knockout as well. Bellator is rising.
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