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Who won a weird weekend in MMA?

Corey Anderson (top) and Vadim Nemkov, Bellator 277 Credit: Bellator MMA

There is a constant joke in mixed martial arts circles regarding the “gods” of sport being cruel and deceptive. These MMA gods were up to their usual behavior over the weekend, pulling the rug out from under three of the fights split between Bellator 277 and UFC Vegas 51.

To get to the heart of the question posed at the top of the page, it is easier to just give the answer than to show the math and explain how we got there. But honestly, when the biggest takeaway from UFC Vegas 51 is that the rules of the sport are still murky even to former champions, and that active fighters probably shouldn’t shout drug lords during their post-fight interviews, it’s safe to say you haven’t. t win the weekend.

The Bellator 277 was, on paper, the best card anyway. Going into the weekend, in an extremely rare case, the UFC was at a disadvantage. Off the big UFC 273 card in Jacksonville a week ago, no matter what kind of show Dana White and his teammates are. Placed in Apex, it was hard to follow. Even with that in mind, UFC Vegas 51 was a paper-thin card that failed to meet even modest expectations.

Maybe, just maybe, booking two newcomers into the co-main event slot was a poorly designed idea. It was as surprising as the ending of Cayo Boralho’s match against Gadji Omargadjieff, what wasn’t surprising at all is that something funky (and not in a Ben Screen way) happened. The tune was set earlier in the night, sponsoring another fight that was smeared by a major foul, Chris Barnett vs. Martin Boday. With Buday’s elbow — several, really — running to the back of the head, an already injured Barnett was rendered unable to continue.

DQ or No contest, right? Well, not when the error is inadvertently judged and you are on the third turn. Dan Miragliota’s call, the strike referee accidentally, elicited contempt from the likes Junior dos Santos And many other active fighters who indicated that the blow to the back of the head is never accidental. I meant, after all, to throw the blow.

And even if you choose to buy a “Barnett was turning his head” story, you’ll end up with a tired old hockey defense. While the professional ranks still don’t enforce it, minor league players know to avoid any situation where an opponent might turn their back before throwing a physical exam – because paralysis is a career end, to say the least.

Whether on purpose or not, the end result is the same: Leaving a fighter unable to continue, he is denied the opportunity to turn the fight over, no matter how likely it is.

The fact that this situation happened a second time in one night, in a bout overseen by the same referee, defies all odds. In Borralho vs. Omargadzhiev, the knee was illegal and not an illegal elbow, but the result was the same. One of the fighters was left unable to continue, and the other got to win the scorecards. At least in Borrallo’s case, Miragliotta deducted a point, and it didn’t matter in the end.

Justin Gethje He was among those who showed his disdain after the decision. Aljamin Sterling He did, too, a fighter who knows a thing or two about illegal strikes.

None of this means that the officials did not follow the rules in any of the melee. It is simply that, under the standard rules of MMA, an unlawful foul can result in an offender winning a fight, which seems completely counterintuitive.

Then there was Mounir Laziz screaming after the fight, a moment the UFC no doubt wasn’t really hoping for live on ESPN. Lazzez chose to say some kind words about Daniel Kinahan, a notorious figure in boxing circles, founder of MTK Global, and leader of the Kinahan Cartel, a sprawling drug empire linked to multiple murders.

This, just days after a $5 million bounty was paid on Kinahan’s head by US officials who were seeking his arrest.

Oops. At least, Bellator’s seemingly stable series of bad luck was at least meant for one fight, one fight alone. The Light Heavyweight Grand Prix did not end as planned at Bellator 277 on Friday. In fact, it wasn’t over at all. Instead, a mistake resulted in a no contest between Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson. If another three seconds had ended, the battle would have been in the technical decision area. Instead, after an occasional head-to-head struggle, Anderson told the ref that (being a good sport), they would bring it back later in the year.

as it should. The fans and the fighters themselves will at least get a proper result for the tournament.

The rest of the night went off without a hitch, with some surprising early scrimmages—no more so than Socrates Hernandez vs. Rogelio Luna, a brawl between a 0-1 fighter and a 0-0 fighter that was funnier than most of what the UFC had to deliver on Saturday. If you haven’t seen it yet, they have chosen to promote it wisely on their Youtube channel. Is it the battle of the year? Probably not – there are levels to this, or so we’ve heard.

Still, it was a fun 15-minute walk for what it was, and both guys deserve a lot of credit.

With the UFC and Bellator facing off for the second week in a row next Saturday, we’ll get another chance to compare and contrast, but for one weekend in April, the promotion has often been mocked as the second best team to win.

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