Bellator and Rizin are co-promoting, Weili Zhang got a title shot, and Justin Bieber called out Tom Cruise for a fight. Let’s talk about all of that plus the debut of the Lunar Fighting Championships.
Bellator, Rizin, and Co-promotion
Will Bellator and Rizin’s Co-promotion (and co-promoting in general) ever start to change the idea that the UFC is where the best fighters are. With these champions from different promotions fighting each other, can it raise their stature above a UFC champion.— oneforsports (@oneforsports) June 14, 2019
I don’t think it will raise a champion’s stature above their UFC counterpart but it certainly will get rid of the idea that the UFC has ALL of the best fighters (and idea which has always been dumb but still seems to persist among a certain segment of fans). Just look at Kyoji Horiguchi. After outlasting Darrion Caldwell last night, Horiguchi has two belts in two different organizations and it’s undeniable that he is one of the very best fighters in the world. He will never take the top spot in rankings but if you’re leaving him out of your top-5 bantamweights, you are doing it wrong.
So while it won’t elevate fighters above the UFC, the co-promotion fights are definitely great at elevating the fighters in them. I won’t pretend like I wasn’t more excited about the Horiguchi-Caldwell rematch this weekend than I was for any other fight. Fighting for multiple belts is cool and it certainly does something to make you as a viewer believe the claim of “world champion” whereas sometimes the UFC title lacks that.
All that being said, I’m interested to see how this plays out now. Horiguchi is both the Bellator and Rizin champion and is contractually obligated to defend each belt at least once a year. How will they determine which belt gets defended first? What if Horiguchi doesn’t want to fight more than twice a year, is Rizin really going to be okay with having their best star as a limited attraction? There are certainly a lot of kinks to work out but I’m excited to see how it goes. Remember when the UFC said they were going to keep Pride alive and do a Super Bowl-type event every year? That’s untenable for a promotion like them, but a New Year’s Eve Rizin-Bellator combo card could be among the best events of the year if done properly. I hope we get to see it.
What upcoming fight are you most excited for and why?— Dan, Val & Troy Glenn (@DanGlenn209) June 13, 2019
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier. Is there another answer to this question?
Zhang’s Title Shot
Weili Zhang becomes the first Chinese person to get a title shot in China, hoe do you rate her chances? Or is this all just too much, too soon?— Alex Lindsey (@alexlindsey92) June 14, 2019
I don’t think Zhang will win this fight, but it’s not really a matter of too much too soon. Zhang is 19-1 in MMA with three straight wins in the UFC and most recently beat Tecia Torres. Her losing to Andrade won’t be the result of not being ready for the fight, it will be a result of being in a bad matchup against a better fighter.
Andrade is arguably the most physically imposing fighter in MMA, relative to her peers. In many ways, that is unfortunate for her as it has stunted her growth somewhat. After all, you don’t really need to learn good footwork when you can just slam the UFC champion unconscious if you do get your hands on her. And though Zhang can move and potshot some, she can’t do it nearly as effectively as Rose Namajunas so she’s likely to just get run over by Andrade.
In a perfect world, yes, Zhang should fight Claudia Gadelha to give her a rough proxy of what fighting Andrade would be like, but the UFC wants to make inroads to China and this is the best way to do that. Plus it will probably give Gadelha another highlight to build a rematch around - either with Rose or with Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Which MMA fighter is the Toronto Raptors? The GSW?— Tanner “La Croix Boy” Russ (@TannerRuss2) June 14, 2019
ICYMI, the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in six games to become the NBA Champions after everyone on the Warriors broke their legs.
Tito Ortiz is obviously the Golden State Warriors since the only reason they lost is the mounting injuries. So given that, I suppose the Chuck Liddell is the Raptors. That works since he’s the Iceman and They the North.
Best Celebrity Fighter
Tom Cruise OBVIOUSLY washed Beibs in one round, so what current A-List celebrity would fair the best in an MMA fight, active fighters not included.— Paul Garcia (@hpaulg) June 12, 2019
ICYMI, Justin Beiber called out Tom Cruise for a fight for some reason. He then walked it back when he realized Top Gun would’ve probably thump him up something proper.
Does Ed O’Neill count as an A-lister? Because if so, him. Sure he’s like 70 but he’s also a BJJ black belt. That’ll get you far. Assuming we aren’t including Al Bundy though, I think the answer has to be Keanu Reeves. John Wick has been training in various forms of martial arts for years and he trains BJJ with the Machado brothers. Unless Mark Wahlberg is hiding a judo black belt that I don’t know about, give me Neo to win the celebrity fight championship.
Lunar Fighting Championship
Which ufc champ would be most likely to lose their belt if all future fights took place on the moon?— Eric Stinton (@TombstoneStint) June 12, 2019
First off, I’ve been listening to a lot of Rogan and Eddie Bravo lately and maybe I’m wrong but I think we all can agree that the moon is fake. However, if we assume that the moon isn’t a conspiracy, it’s obvious that fighting there would fundamentally change the MMA game. Striking would be close to useless with the impediments to speed and power caused by the low gravity. Along those same lines, quickness would be equally as impacted, so you’d see even less fighters want to bump up in weight classes. Instead, powerful grapplers would dominate the day, so goodbye Israel Adesanya, we hardly knew ye. After him, I’m thinking Jon Jones may struggle with low-G Daniel Cormier, and Demian Maia may finally get his UFC title over Kamaru Usman.
On the other end of the spectrum, Khabib would remain undefeated forever. We’ve already seen Khabib hold onto a bodylock and take someone down over and over again. That’s what we would see from him every fight, since getting back up would be easier (I think? I’m not a rocket doctor).
Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about this anytime soon, unless a species of fight-loving aliens moves to the moon in the next year. If that happens, will be having UFC Mare Tranquillitatis by 2021.
Thanks for reading this week and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.