The landmark Bellator 200 card hits Wembley Arena in London next Friday, and will be screened live from 9pm in the UK on 5Spike.
When the UFC reached the same landmark, they stacked UFC 200 from top to bottom. While Bellator don’t have the same depth of talent to pick from, I do think they have missed a trick with the fights they have scheduled.
There is nothing wrong with the fights that are on the card, they are decent enough, but there is the missing WOW factor for me, for such an ‘historic’ show. We are just a week removed from Bellator 199, and a few tweaks here and there from that card, I believe would have made a big difference and got more of a buzz about such a big night for Bellator.
Ryan Bader and King Mo would for me have been a better headliner for the London show, and the inclusion of the so-called best MMA prospect ever Aaron Pico, again would have given Bellator 200 more of a boost.
The booking of Paul Daley and Jon Fitch surprised me, Daley has always struggled with a certain style, Fitch has that style. One of the biggest fights Bellator could make is Daley against MVP, the loss to Fitch might not have killed it off completely, but it loses some of its lustre as a result.
If a MVP v Daley match could not have been made for London, at least have them on the same card, don’t kill the match, build it up.
Bellator do a lot right, but flagging ratings are a worry, that might be the Bellator product itself or just a simple fact that there is a lack of real mainstream interest in MMA other than the UFC. I liked the old tournament product, but they over used it, one a season would have sufficed. Dragging old retired, past their best stars from the past, might give them a short-term boost, but harms their product in the long run.
There are a lot of very good fighters on the Bellator roster, and the good far out weighs the bad in terms of what Bellator do, but I think there is room for improvement, good but could be better.
Bellator 200 Main Card:
Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Mirko Cro Cop (36-11-2, 1 NC) vs. Roy Nelson (23-15)
Middleweight World Title Bout: Rafael Carvalho (15-1) vs. Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2)
Welterweight Main Card Bout: Michael Page (12-0) vs. David Rickels (19-4, 2 NC)
163-Pound Catchweight Main Card Bout: Aaron Chalmers (3-0) vs. Ash Griffiths (4-5)
Light Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Phil Davis (18-4) vs. Linton Vassell (18-6)
Women’s Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Anastasia Yankova (5-0) vs. Kate Jackson (9-3-1)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Anatoly Tokov (25-3) vs. Vladimir Filipovic (10-2)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Daniel Crawford (10-1) vs. Pedro Carvalho (6-3)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Ryan Scope (11-1) vs. Martyn Harris (4-4)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Mike Shipman (11-1) vs. Carl Noon (7-2)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Charlie Ward (4-3) vs. Louis King (1-1)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Jeremy Petley (12-8-1) vs. Saul Rogers (12-2)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Fryer (6-2) vs. Costello Van Steenis (9-1)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Charlie Leary (14-8-1) vs. Tom Green (12-2)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Kent Kauppinen (10-3) vs. Walter Gahadza (16-3)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Jahreau Shephard (0-1) vs. Marcin Zywica (2-0)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Chad Griffiths (6-0) vs. Tom Mearns (6-0)
Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Amir Albazi (10-0) vs. Iurie Bejenari (6-2)