It is Monday, time for one more version of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Present, which airs dwell beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Twitter and YouTube. After it ends, you’ll be able to take heed to your complete present through the ESPN podcast middle.
The UFC is off this weekend, however all eyes might be on Madison Sq. Backyard Friday night time, as “the Mecca” hosts its fifth main MMA occasion.
This time, it is Bellator 222, and it is co-headlined by Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie for the Bellator welterweight title and Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida.
The cardboard is sort of deep with Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darrion Caldwell, plus names like Dillon Danis, Aaron Pico, Ricky Bandejas, Heather Hardy and Mike Kimbel, amongst others, on the invoice.
However earlier than we get to all that, there’s quite a bit to debate stemming from UFC 238 Saturday night time in Chicago and the week that was in MMA. So with out additional ado, listed here are the random ideas:
The perfect insider within the sport, Ariel Helwani, and finest persona within the sport, Chael Sonnen, break down the MMA weekend and sit up for the largest playing cards.
Watch on ESPN+
1. As Henry Cejudo was celebrating his dramatic victory Saturday night time, I could not assist however take into consideration UFC 177. That is proper, the ill-fated UFC 177 card. Now, I do know what you are considering: UFC 177? That was a cursed card that can perpetually be remembered because the night time Joe Soto changed Renan Barao on 24 hours discover to combat then-bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw in Sacramento. Merely put, the cardboard was a multitude. In truth, there have been so many last-minute modifications that it solely ended up that includes eight fights.
A kind of last-minute cancellations, although? UFC debutant Henry Cejudo. Cejudo was slated to face Scott Jorgensen in a flyweight bout, nonetheless, he withdrew from the combat hours earlier than the weigh-ins attributable to problems together with his weight reduce. This was truly the third time in Cejudo’s younger profession that he missed weight, sparking discuss that he ought to take into account a everlasting transfer to bantamweight. However on the time, Cejudo wished no a part of that dialogue. In truth, in his thoughts, he was completed with MMA.
Cejudo instructed me a pair years in the past that following the mishap, he instructed his head coach Eric Albarracin that he would by no means combat once more. It was a very good six-fight run, he thought, however years of weight reducing as an newbie wrestler lastly caught up with him. Cejudo retired, simply nobody knew it but. Albarracin, a former achieved wrestler himself, instructed Cejudo he could not surrender now, and he would not let him. He had an excessive amount of potential. He believed in Cejudo the MMA fighter earlier than most others. And, so, it was good to see “Captain” Eric by Cejudo’s aspect Saturday night time in Chicago, leaping up and down like slightly child whereas celebrating Cejudo’s history-making victory. That was as a lot of a victory for Albarracin because it was for Cejudo, in my view. “Triple C,” as Cejudo now calls himself (for Olympic Champion, Flyweight Champion and Bantamweight Champion), is fortunate to have a coach like Albarracin by his aspect.
2. Talking of Albarracin, I do know he was harm when he did not win the 2018 coach of the yr award. He wished that recognition badly (in the long run, I voted for Daniel Cormier’s coaches Javier Mendez and Bob Prepare dinner). But when the yr ended proper now, Albarracin must be thought-about the main candidate for 2019 coach of the yr. Amazingly, Cejudo grew to become Albarracin’s second double champion in slightly over a month. Patricio Pitbull, one other certainly one of his pupils, is now the Bellator featherweight and light-weight king after he defeated Michael Chandler in late April.
three. In the event you did not imagine it after his win over Dillashaw in January, you most definitely need to imagine the UFC has one thing particular in Cejudo. He’s charismatic, trilingual, an Olympic hero, the son of unlawful immigrant mother and father and one helluva fighter. He’s rapidly changing into one of many faces of the promotion, too.
four. Would not ya understand it, Cejudo might have truly saved the flyweights … for now. That is what Dana White stated on the post-fight information convention Saturday night time. However I will imagine it after I see it. Will Cejudo truly defend the 125-pound title or is White simply saying that to allow them to promote him as a double champion? After a string of releases, there’s now just a bit over 10 flyweights left on the roster. So are they going to signal a bunch of a brand new 125ers swiftly? I do not see that occuring. And if not, then what precisely is that this division? Cejudo’s win is a small victory for the little guys, however let’s reserve judgment on their future earlier than totally celebrating. Extra on that right here.
5. At first look, Cejudo’s “biggest fight sports activities athlete” declare appears slightly far-fetched. However when you concentrate on every part he is achieved, the person has a robust case. Is he in truth that man? Who is aware of. But when he needs to run with it, I’ve no drawback with that in any respect.
6. Kudos to Cejudo for not making an even bigger stink about his severely injured left ankle. In case you missed it, he suffered the damage as a result of the mats on the lodge weren’t correctly taped when he was coaching this previous Tuesday. Had Cejudo been compelled to tug out of the combat or misplaced the combat, that would have been a extremely sticky state of affairs between Cejudo and his promoter. This is hoping that by no means occurs once more. One high-profile fighter instructed me in Chicago that he at all times trains on the carpet within the lodge as a result of he would not belief the mat setup. That must be rectified.
7. I occurred to briefly run into Marlon Moraes at O’Hare Airport Sunday morning. Wish to know what sort of a man he’s? Very first thing he wished to speak about was a small private concern I used to be coping with that he was conscious of. Once I tried to steer the dialog again to his combat and the way he was feeling, he merely smiled his “Magic” smile and stated, “It is OK, brother. We’ll get the following one,” and walked off. I imagine him. Moraes is not completed. He’ll combat for UFC gold once more. I’ve little doubt about that.
Valentina Shevchenko remained the ladies’s flyweight division after her knockout win towards Jessica Eye at UFC 238. Rey Del Rio/Getty Pictures
Eight. I do doubt whether or not anybody within the girls’s flyweight division will have the ability to give Valentina Shevchenko a run for her cash any time quickly. I do not see many candidates on the market in the intervening time. Shevchenko is simply on a complete different stage. The discrepancy between her expertise and the remainder of the division proper now reminds slightly little bit of Demetrious Johnson’s reign at 125, however I might strongly argue the hole is even bigger for Shevchenko.
9. It was scary seeing Jessica Eye on the mat for thus lengthy after that vicious knockout. These moments are at all times the worst, however I used to be glad to see her stand up after three minutes and stroll out of the cage on her personal. The UFC did not present her whereas she was unconscious on tv however did rapidly reduce to her as she sat up. A small victory. I’ve criticized the printed, which is produced by the UFC, for not exhibiting these moments previously, and this was a slight enchancment.
10. Certain, the ending was considerably unceremonious, however Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone most definitely lived as much as the hype, in my view. These 10 minutes had been as frenetic and thrilling as all of us hoped they’d be. I used to be anxious for Ferguson early on as a result of he appeared a bit out of kinds, however then I remembered he usually begins that approach. And I’ve no drawback with the end, as nicely. Ferguson brought on that injury. Certain, Cerrone blew his nostril by mistake, however that was all because of Ferguson’s helpful work. And so with that in thoughts, I used to be irritated (once more) when the gang showered Ferguson with boos throughout his post-fight interview. These two fighters did not deserve that. I am glad they cheered on the finish, however as I’ve usually stated, nothing bugs me greater than these moments.
Dominick Cruz and Michael Bisping break down Tony Ferguson’s win and if he deserves to a title combat. For extra UFC motion, join ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
11. I do know the punch after the horn on the finish of the second spherical was controversial, however I’ve a tough time blaming Ferguson for that one. I feel referee Dan Miragliotta was gradual to step in, and I additionally do not suppose the punch contributed to the end all that a lot. I am not a health care provider, nevertheless it definitely seemed like Cerrone’s nostril was injured earlier than that punch, and naturally, the blowing of stated nostril ended up being his demise. It was wild seeing him react to his eye swelling it like he did. I used to be watching that sequence with Dominick Cruz and he known as the end exactly when Cerrone blew his nostril. It was fascinating watching Cruz react to the error and name the results of the error earlier than the combat was known as off.
12. I’ve no need to see a direct rematch between Ferguson and Cerrone proper now. Ferguson must combat the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier subsequent. That is it. And if not, Conor McGregor, simply so he might (hopefully) receives a commission quite a bit. Nothing else is sensible for a man who has received 12 in a row and hasn’t misplaced a combat since 2012 within the UFC’s deepest weight class. Sufficient already.
13. Ferguson actually impressed me all week lengthy in Chicago. Bear in mind his erratic habits and interviews previous to the Anthony Pettis combat in October? That man was nowhere to be discovered final week. He appeared calm, collected and genuinely at peace. It was nice to see.
The UFC is now on ESPN and ESPN+. Subscribe to ESPN+ to get: unique dwell UFC occasions, weigh-ins and extra; Ariel and the Dangerous Man; Dana White’s Contender Collection; and extra unique MMA content material.
14. Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling each made sturdy circumstances to be subsequent in line for a title shot at 135 kilos. Moraes shedding definitely helped Sterling, since he misplaced to him two years in the past, and Yan continues to impress every time he fights. I actually do not know who might be subsequent, although (there’s additionally Cory Sandhagen on the market). There is not a clear-cut contender, and contemplating how banged up Cejudo was afterwards, I would not be stunned if each need to combat at the very least another time earlier than a title shot presents itself. Perhaps towards one another?
15. You have not lived till you’ve got skilled a Tai Tuivasa walkout in particular person. This time, he went with Bryan Adams’ “Every little thing I Do,” which was a pleasant contact, particularly since he stated he was dedicating it to me on Monday (and no, I do not actually imagine he was dedicating it to me). Sadly for the massive Australian, the combat did not go his approach. Exhausting-fought win for Blagoy Ivanov.
16. At first look, Tatiana Suarez did not make the form of splash that she wanted to cement her place because the No. 1 contender at 115 kilos, however you then discover out she was coping with a critical neck damage earlier than and through the combat and all of it is sensible. She’s solely 28 and simply Eight-Zero. Persistence.
17. I used to be stunned to see White so dismissive of Michelle Waterson as the following strawweight title contender on the post-fight presser. I figured after Suarez did not wow the gang that Waterson would undoubtedly be subsequent. Both he is enjoying coy or they are going to attempt to persuade Rose Namajunas to return again. All I do know is Namajunas is having fun with day without work proper now.
Alexa Grasso, as soon as a extremely touted prospect, had maybe her finest UFC efficiency in a win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz on Saturday night time. Alex Garcia for ESPN
18. Good to see Alexa Grasso decide up her first win in virtually two years. Her bandwagon was as soon as filling up quick, after which accidents (and a loss to Suarez) appeared to derail her big-time. Nevertheless, at 25, she nonetheless has a variety of time left to comprehend the lofty expectations all of us had for her.
19. The spotlight of the weekend for me? Our first-ever Helwani Street Present Friday night time. Ben Askren, Stipe Miocic, Eddie Alvarez, Stephen Thompson and Paul Felder had been type sufficient to affix us for a trivia problem at Lincoln Corridor in Chicago, which ended up being a blast. I will not spoil the outcomes for you, however for those who missed it, you’ll be able to take heed to a podcast of the present wherever you normally obtain the Monday present. Dare I say, the winner was a shock. A honest thanks to everybody who attended the occasion. It was an incredible expertise, and I hope we get to do many extra of these sooner or later. I’ve at all times felt a robust reference to the followers over time, so to do that first present across the 10-year anniversary of the present, the three-year anniversary of my unbanning and the one-year anniversary of my transfer to ESPN was actually particular for me. Large because of ESPN’s Elizabeth Fierman, Daniel Dopp and Glenn Jacobs specifically for making all of it occur. I will always remember June 7, 2019.
20. I additionally had a blast doing our radio present earlier than the occasion Saturday contained in the United Middle atrium. We have been doing these reveals previous to all of the pay-per-views this yr and I completely like it. The vast majority of the present is dictated by listener calls, which is what I would like, however we had been fortunate sufficient to be joined briefly by Chris Weidman, who stopped by on his solution to the lavatory throughout an autograph signing exterior the sector. Oh, and he was additionally good sufficient to drop the information that he has determined to maneuver as much as mild heavyweight when he returns later this yr. That is one thing that I have been saying Weidman ought to do for about two years now, so I am excited to see the way it works out for him.
21. Till somebody truly reveals me actual proof, McGregor remains to be the highest-paid fighter within the UFC, and by far. C’mon now.
22. Glad to see Jimi Manuwa name it a profession final week. He took too many scary blows not too long ago, and none scarier than seeing his head bounce off the canvas final week in Stockholm. “Poster Boy” Jim was at all times a enjoyable fighter to observe, and I want him the perfect on this subsequent chapter.
23. Nate Diaz proclaiming he is the light-weight and welterweight champion final week on the present nonetheless cracks me up each time I give it some thought. It is good to have him again in our lives.
And with that, here is Monday’s Helwani Present lineup:
Chael Sonnen, who will face Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222 on Friday night time, has received two of his previous three fights. AP Picture/Gregory Payan
1:00 p.m. ET: Chael Sonnen
He’ll be a part of us in studio to preview his Bellator 222 combat towards Lyoto Machida this weekend.
1:45 p.m.: Cris Cyborg
She’s going to preview her UFC 240 combat towards Felicia Spencer.
2:05 p.m.: Michelle Waterson
She’s going to make her case as to why she must be subsequent in line for a strawweight title combat.
2:25 p.m.: “King” Muhammed Lawal
Lawal will focus on his current retirement from MMA.
Calvin Kattar impressed together with his first-round stoppage of Ricardo Lamas at UFC 238. Alex Garcia for ESPN
2:45 p.m.: Calvin Kattar
He’ll look again at his win over Ricardo Lamas at UFC 238.
three:05 p.m.: Mark Henry
Henry will speak about Marlon Moraes’ loss to Henry Cejudo and Frankie Edgar’s upcoming title shot.
three:25 p.m.: Aljamain Sterling
He’ll focus on his UFC 238 win over Pedro Munhoz and the place he matches within the bantamweight division.
three:45 p.m.: Katlyn Chookagian
Chookagian will speak about her win over Joanne Calderwood through the weekend and what’s subsequent for her.