Coming off of his first loss in nearly 5 years, Ryan Bader is getting proper again into the hunt for championship gold.
Bader’s quest to win one other Bellator grand prix begins Friday when he takes on earlier foe Lyoto Machida in the primary occasion of Bellator 256. The 2 first crossed paths again on Aug. 4, 2012, at a UFC on FOX occasion in Los Angeles.
It was all Machida within the preliminary encounter as he befuddled Bader along with his notorious karate fashion earlier than touchdown a one-punch knockout within the second spherical. Within the years since, each males have continued to seek out success within the cage, with Bader capturing Bellator gold at each heavyweight and light-weight heavyweight, and Machida rising as a contender at 185 kilos.
Their focus for the foreseeable future can be on the 205-pound division. Bader not too long ago misplaced the sunshine heavyweight title to Vadim Nemkov, whereas Machida has bounced between divisions whereas dropping consecutive break up selections to Phil Davis and Gegard Mousasi. A win for both man on Friday instantly locations them within the remaining 4 of a event the place the winner leaves as Bellator champion and with an additional $1,000,000 of their checking account. So who takes that first step again to competition, and who tumbles again down the ladder?
In different essential card motion, Liz Carmouche welcomes former Invicta FC champion Vanessa Porto to the Bellator cage in what may very well be a No. 1 flyweight contender bout, featherweights Adam Borics and Jeremy Kennedy face off, Cat Zingano goes for her second Bellator win when she meets Olivia Parker in a featherweight bout, and light-weight veteran Goiti Yamauchi fights Dan Moret.
What: Bellator 256
The place: Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, Conn.
When: Friday, April 9. Preliminaries start at 6 p.m. ET on MMA Combating (un-aired prelims will happen after the primary occasion). The five-fight essential card airs at 9 p.m on Showtime. The principle card can even be accessible totally free on YouTube outdoors of the U.S. (could also be geo-blocked in some areas).
Ryan Bader looks like the plain decide right here, but it surely’s onerous to shake the photographs from that first struggle. Once they fought in 2012, Bader had nothing for Lyoto Machida. “The Dragon” was in his prime, and despite the fact that his karate fashion had been discovered by a handful of opponents, Bader actually wasn’t certainly one of them. He fruitlessly looked for a gap to have interaction with Machida whereas being outpointed in spherical one and when he couldn’t discover it, he rushed in in spherical two and received clocked.
That was a very long time in the past.
Machida turns 43 in Might, and it’s inarguable that he’s misplaced a step. The misleading explosiveness that was such a key think about making his distinctive fashion work solely exists in flashes now, and his reactions are a tick slower than they was once. Machida’s bouts have been an more and more dangerous high-wire act for the latter half of his profession, and whereas he nonetheless has nice protection, it’s his lack of offensive output that’s costing him wins.
It’s not only a matter of Machida slowing down both. Bader is a extra full and assured fighter than of their first assembly. He at all times had KO energy, however he’s a lot better at establishing his huge pictures now and never simply counting on a bomb proper hand to land. He has that too, in fact, and it’s a weapon that can maintain Machida sincere.
The rematch ought to go a lot better for Bader, and whereas I’m unsure he returns the favor by ending Machida, I see him successful a call in a aggressive struggle.
It’s a disgrace that Liz Carmouche goes to need to stay with the blemish of a tentative efficiency in opposition to UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko for the remainder of her profession, as a result of outdoors of that struggle, she’s at all times been a reliably sport competitor. She had a pleasant bounce-back outing in opposition to DeAnna Bennett and now finds herself as soon as once more going through a prime flyweight in Invicta FC standout Vanessa Porto.
This may very well be an absolute dogfight. Each ladies take pleasure in getting down and soiled, which implies the grappling exchanges received’t merely be determined by who will get the takedown first. Porto is a significant menace off of her again, whereas Carmouche is without doubt one of the strongest fighters within the 125-pound division so she’s tough to regulate even from prime place. We may see some prolonged stalemates on the bottom.
Porto is an energetic striker, however there’s positively holes in her sport and if she’s not cautious, the facility of Carmouche will put her on her bottom. The Brazilian could be smart to make use of a gentle food plan of leg kicks to maintain Carmouche at bay. If it breaks down right into a brawl, the end result is anybody’s guess.
I nonetheless see the grappling as being the distinction right here, and I’m predicting that Porto catches Carmouche with a shock submission.
What a spectacular featherweight struggle that’s flying beneath the radar.
Adam Borics is prone to be the extra aggressive fighter on this matchup, with Jeremy Kennedy extra content material to make use of his vary placing to poke and counter. If Borics will get overeager although, Kennedy could make him pay with stable pop in each fingers. He’ll need to be cautious of Boric’s creativity, although, because the Hungarian has a nostril for thrilling finishes.
Kennedy could be smart to combine in takedowns, particularly if Borics begins establishing a rhythm. Each fighters are well-rounded, however I give Kennedy the slight edge on the subject of mixing up his methods. These two are so intently matched although.
I’m assured that this can be a depraved three-round scrap, however I’m not assured in my decide to win the choice in any respect.
With respect to Olivia Parker, this matchup ought to maintain Cat Zingano in line for a future struggle with Cris Cyborg.
At 5-foot-10, Parker brings nice dimension to the featherweight division, and has some legit submission expertise. Nonetheless, she’s confronted nowhere close to the extent of competitors that Zingano has, and in her one look for Invicta FC, she was fully crushed by Chelsea Chandler. The placing leaves lots to be desired, so Zingano can have the benefit there, and that’s earlier than we even get to the wrestling.
As soon as Zingano will get Parker down, I don’t anticipate the much less skilled fighter to have too many solutions. Zingano placed on a workmanlike efficiency in her Bellator debut to beat a scrappy Gabrielle Holloway. This time, she’s prone to get a ground-and-pound TKO or submission earlier than the third spherical.
This won’t be the blowout that it appears like on paper.
True, Dan Moret usually runs right into a wall when it’s time for him to face upper-tier competitors, however he’s a high-volume striker and a menace to submit when the struggle goes to the bottom. Or no less than, he could be a menace if he wasn’t going through Goiti Yamauchi.
Yamauchi can actually be outworked, however hold-for-hold, I like his probabilities of successful a grappling battle with Moret. Even when we find yourself seeing some entertaining scrambles, in the long run Yamauchi ought to constantly get the higher positions. Nonetheless, this can be a very good problem for Yamauchi after going through the extra standup-minded Daron Cruickshank and Saad Awad in his earlier two outings.
So long as Yamauchi sticks to the sport plan, he ought to both comfortably win a call or turn out to be the primary fighter to submit Moret.