A night which will live long in the memory thanks to MMA legend Tito Ortiz, Bellator 170 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. felt like a mixed bag of tricks but leaves plenty to ponder as a starting point for their 2017 season.
In this edition of Fights That Make Sense, we do our best Scott Coker and Rich Chou impressions to book plausible fights following Bellator 170.
Fights That Make Sense after Bellator 170
After the big build-up for Chael Sonnen seemingly blew up in Bellator’s faces, the starting point for the “Legends Ass Kicking Tour” probably could have got off to a better start following his lop-sided loss to Ortiz.
However, having already planted the seeds of a fight with Wanderlei Silva, expect Bellator to continue down that path for their typical marquee main events which will again rely on “The American Gangster” to run his mouth outrageously and rile up the Brazilian to cause interest.
If that doesn’t work though, then it might be time for Bellator to re-evaluate handing contracts to fighters in the twilight of their careers. It can’t always be win-win.
After a tough loss to Douglas Lima in London last July, Paul “Semtex” Daley erased the nasty thoughts with a sensational jumping knee knockout of Brenan Ward.
The Brit shot back into form with a first round finish, set up with a spinning elbow before he connected with a deadly jumping knee which saw Ward tumble to the canvas, almost lifelessly.
There are a few options open for Daley, potentially even a rematch with Lima, but following the Nottingham based fighter’s call in his post-fight interview, it’s hard to argue against a fight with Rory MacDonald.
The “Red King” has yet to make his promotional debut since signing with Bellator last August, but a fight with Daley seemed to wet MacDonald’s appetite, prompting him to respond on social media. How about London, Rory?
— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) January 22, 2017
After being on the receiving end of a flying knee from Paul Daley, the MMA world collectively held its breath as Brennan Ward lay motionless minutes after the knockout blow.
Although declared out of danger moments later, one has to wonder what kind of layoff the “Irish Bad boy” may need to recuperate. When he does return, following two losses in his last three, a perfect opponent for the 28-year-old would be Fernando Gonzalez who himself suffered his first promotional loss in his last fight against Michael Page and would welcome a chance to fight a fellow falling contender in order to claw his way back into the mix.
With the 33-year-old having only suffered two KO losses in his 14 career defeats, he could prove the perfect matchup for Ward’s all-out power and a fight between these two just makes sense as far as the Bellator Welterweight division is concerned.
After a solid unanimous decision win over fellow Lightweight challenger Derek Anderson, Derek Campos now finds himself back among the top of the division and chasing a shot at the Bellator Lightweight gold.
Although a rematch with Pitbull Freire may be touted, fate has seen this fall through previously and better would be a preferred new challenger for the talented 28-year-old in the shape of ex-UFC star Benson Henderson, who himself looks for redemption after a mixed start to his Bellator career.
Having both previously lost to Michael Chandler, Bellator need to keep Henderson relevant and at the top of cards after their free agency gamble. Campos would be a perfect fit and a legitimate contender could come out of this exciting match-up.
The question of where Kevin Casey goes after a disappointing draw with Keith Berry is one that we certainly didn’t think we would have to answer.
After being set up with a journeyman opponent for his hometown debut, Casey still found a way to continue the depressing pattern of underachieving which leaves Bellator scratching their heads once again at the possibility of a big name bust.
Another setup fight seems the only way to go in order to give the 35-year-old a quick shot at redemption and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bellator recruit someone out of the wilderness to come in and play patsy for the “King.”
Do you agree with our ‘Fights That Make Sense’ after Bellator 170? Leave a comment here or tweet your comment at @MMAPlus.