We round up the most significant moments of the last week to keep you up to date on the happenings in the world of mixed martial arts.
As UFC 226 edges ever closer, another week in MMA came and went and with it came a plethora of interesting developments, talking-points and, of course, actual bouts. From Bellator super-fights to the action in Singapore, here are the highlights from the last week in the sport.
The most recent UFC pay-per-view, UFC 225, was by all accounts a big success in terms of the quality of the fights we were treated to but according to reports that came out early last week, the PPV buy-rates weren’t overly impressive.
Coming in at an underwhelming 250,000 buys, UFC 225 stands as the fourth most successful show out of the six the UFC has put on so far this year. The drawing power of the former WWE superstar CM Punk just didn’t seem to make as much of an impact as the UFC brass had hoped it would and on whole, the experiment that caused him to be given a second-chance may well have lost them some credibility.
Over at Bellator, however, some pretty huge deals were reported as champions Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald get set to face each other for the middleweight belt on September 29. It’s a super-fight as good as any in the sport right now and with the Scott Coker-run promotion slowly gaining momentum, a fight of this calibre will be crucial to keep them on the UFC’s heels.
Another big move for Bellator came in the form of them signing the former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. ‘The Dragon’ is fresh off one of the most impressive KO wins of his career after he rolled back the clock on Vitor Belfort by emulating the legendary front-kick KO he sustained at the hands of Anderson Silva down to a tee.
He might not have much left in the tank but a huge signing for Bellator he remains.
UFC Singapore’s main-event saw the emergence of Leon Edwards as a real competitor at 170lbs and with his victory over Donald Cerrone, he has put himself in a great position to make his run at the belt.
It was hard not to feel for Cowboy when all was said and done on the night but in truth, the way in which he seeks these fights out – no matter when or where they take place, left him open to a late-career slump such as this one. It’s hard to know what the future holds for him but yet again, another prospect has used his name to build their own.
Ariel Helwani will make his first outing as the host of ESPN’s Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show while back in his old home at MMAFighting, Luke Thomas will take the reins at The MMA Hour, the iconic show that saw consistent success over the course of the last few years.
And finally, Khabib Nurmagomedov confirmed that the UFC are working on a fight between himself and Conor McGregor telling us all that he plans on destroying him once the octagon doors close. McGregor’s famed coaching duo John Kavanagh and Owen Roddy both added fuel to this fire, with Roddy telling the world that the fight is ‘brewing away nicely.
Kavanagh admitted that he would be prepared to bet anything that the fight happens before the year is out. And while nothing is yet confirmed, things do seem to be trending in the right direction for a fight that will more than likely be the biggest in the history of the sport.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena