Paul Daley celebrates his flying knee KO of Brennan Ward - Photo Credit: Bellator MMA

The welterweight scene is thriving in the world of mixed martial arts. Whether it be Ben Askren of ONE ChampionshipRory MacDonald of Bellator MMA or the seemingly unbeatable Tyron Woodley of the UFC, talent can be found in abundance in the 170lb division.

This weekend saw former UFC contender Lorenz Larkin bid for his first win under the Bellator promotion after an unsuccessful debut against Douglas Lima.

Larkin would face one of the most recognised names in British MMA; none other than Paul Daley. However, it wasn’t to be for “The Monsoon” who fell victim “Semtex” who added to his never-ending list of devastating finishes.

Both fans and fighters alike were critical of Larkin’s performance and in particular; the status of the UFC. Prior to being cut from the UFC, Larkin was one of the key pieces of the welterweight puzzle after consecutive wins over Jorge Masvidal and Neil Magny, making him a top-five contender.

It was expected by many that Larkin would take the welterweight division by storm in Bellator, hence being gifted a title shot in his Bellator debut. However, after two fights the Californian is winless.

Askren and Parke criticise UFC isolation after Daley knockout

ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren was immediately critical of the standard of the UFC after Daley’s knockout of the American.

Askren is known for his dislike of the UFC and in particular; President Dana White. He has often been criticised for not leaving ONE Championship but has continued to impress with people speculating just how good the 33-year-old is and could have been.

The former Olympian was not the only one to criticise the weekend’s ongoings however, with former UFC fighter Norman Parke also slamming the ideology of only good fighters belonging to the UFC.

The Northern Irishman, most likely cheering the fact that a fellow UK MMA fighter claimed such a scalp managed to get his dig across to his former promotion.

Does Bellator have the best welterweight division?

Considering Larkin was a top-five contender under his old employers, just where does this rank Bellator’s contenders? Looking at depth, the immense pool of talent cannot be denied with numerous names such as champion Douglas Lima, Rory MacDonald, Paul Daley and Andrey KoreshkovFernando Gonzalez.

The division hardly lacks quality either, as shown by a top UC contender entering the ranks and falling short in his first two efforts. Though MMA math is unreliable at best, in theory, Daley and Lima are both top 10 UFC contenders, without even mentioning the other host of names competing at a similar level.

One thing which is fairly conclusive is that the UFC boasts the best welterweight champion in Tyron Woodley, but in terms of a top 10 for each promotion, Bellator are certainly holding their own, if not bettering the UFC.

Time will tell if MacDonald returns to the UFC to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Perhaps even another talent such as Michael ‘Venom’ Page may enter the UFC picture and give us an idea of the level between the UFC and Bellator welterweight divisions. For now, all we can conclude is that one of the UFC’s finest welterweights has jumped ship to Scott Coker‘s Bellator and so far, has failed to impress.