Bellator earns bragging rights over PFL, however Ferreira wins closing prize in Ngannou


Feb 25, 2024, 01: 14 AM ET

What were the largest moments from PFL vs. Bellator? Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim offer their ultimate suggestions after a ancient 10-strive in opposition to card in Saudi Arabia and a 12-strive in opposition to card in Mexico.

UFC Mexico Metropolis takeaways

Would possibly we in the ruin be seeing Brian Ortega fully realized?

Raimondi: In the occasion you are partial to “T-Metropolis,” or no longer it is miles a stressful existence. He has had the skillset – energy in his hands, slick boxing and otherworldly submission instincts – to beat any featherweight on the earth for years. The particular person nearly choked out Alexander Volkanovski in 2021, the closest any 145-pounder came to beating Volkanovski at featherweight except Ilia Topuria knocked him out closing weekend. However Ortega has been saddled with accidents and varied points through the years. Saturday became as soon as appropriate his fourth strive in opposition to since 2018. That is four fights in nearly six years.

Ortega overcame adversity in opposition to Yair Rodriguez, as he continuously seems with a realizing to cease. He it seems that injured his ankle at some level of the entrances, obtained walloped early by the Mexican-born fighter and weathered the storm. By the tip of the first round, Ortega had mounted on his opponent. In the second round, Ortega took over. By the third, he choked Rodriguez out.

In his postfight interview, Ortega mentioned he had his life together now, and he is no longer doing the identical wearisome stuff. He’s peaceable appropriate 33 years used. “T-Metropolis” fans discover any other sliver of hope. After a discover over Rodriguez, the kid from Los Angeles’ harbor-bother initiatives is factual aid discontinuance to the tip of the featherweight division.

The following wave of Mexican ability is inspiring for primetime


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Ortega submits Rodriguez in Round 3

Brian Ortega gets Yair Rodriguez in a submission and forces him to tap out in Round 3.

Raimondi: Yair Rodriguez is 31 years used. Brandon Moreno is peaceable appropriate 30. Those two and Alexa Grasso, 30, are peaceable the expose and future of Mexican MMA. When their careers are over, the subsequent wave is clearly coming after them. And appropriate about all those prospects showed out Saturday night at UFC Mexico Metropolis.

Daniel Zellhuber save on a masterclass in opposition to Francisco Prado, the sing of his vary and selecting Prado aside with punches and entrance kicks except every his eyes were in most cases closed and lined in blood. Manuel “El Loco” Torres steamrolled Chris Duncan, ending with brute-power rear-naked choke submission. Yazmin Jauregui bloodied Sam Hughes over three rounds in a one-sided unanimous resolution victory.

Zellhuber and Jauregui are ultimate 24 years used. Torres is 28. Raul Rosas Jr., who became as soon as born in the US to Mexican-born of us and reps Mexico, did no longer gain to compete Saturday because of an illness, however he is ultimate 19 years used and an even prospect.

This week, ESPN MMA ranked Mexico at No. 5 on its first MMA World Energy Index. Let those doable future stars continue to personal and evolve, plus mix in some developmental athletes who may perchance well even very properly be popping out of the unique UFC Performance Institute in Mexico Metropolis and ogle out.

PFL vs. Bellator: Champs takeaways

PFL in the ruin gets its prizefight


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Ferreira’s first-minute TKO discover over Bader secures doable strive in opposition to in opposition to Ngannou

Renan Ferreira knocks out Ryan Bader in beneath a minute, securing a likely future strive in opposition to in opposition to Francis Ngannou.

Wagenheim: It took about half of a second. No, I’m no longer speaking about how long it took for the PFL’s mountainous heavyweight champion, Renan Ferreira, to knock out Bellator’s outsized champ, Ryan Bader. That took 21 seconds. However after referee Kerry Healey pushed Ferreira a ways flung from a inclined, motionless Bader and waved off the strive in opposition to, it took about half of a second for the tv feed to swap its focal level to cageside and a smiling Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou, the PFL’s prized signee, had mentioned earlier in the week that he would face the winner of Saturday’s predominant tournament when he makes his PFL debut later this one year. Clearly, the used UFC heavyweight king has work to cease first, as he will face used heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua in a boxing ring on March 9. That bout, Ngannou’s second as a boxer after closing October’s tightly contested ruin up-resolution loss to reigning champ Tyson Fury, will additionally engage keep in Riyadh.

Ngannou became as soon as cageside Saturday on the makeshift exterior enviornment, making for moderately an assemblage of heavyweights. UFC champ Jon Jones became as soon as there, as became as soon as boxing tale Mike Tyson, who became as soon as enlisted to wrap championship belts round the waists of the winners of the day’s PFL champion-vs.-Bellator champion bouts.

For substitute the day, the Bellator fighters took home the gold, worthwhile all 5 fights sooner than the principle tournament. The PFL may perchance well even just discover bought Bellator MMA a few months previously, however on for the time being, Bellator owned the PFL.

Except the ultimate act, that is. That is when the PFL obtained exactly what it wished. Ferreira, who has misplaced ultimate realizing to be one of his closing 10 fights, scored his fourth knockout in a row, with all however one coming in Round 1. We all know what Ngannou is ready. Now he is lined as much as strive in opposition to a particular person with equally devastating energy.

For the PFL, or no longer it is miles a dream matchup paired with a nightmare of a ready game. If Ngannou defeats Joshua in a few weeks, he’ll nearly for certain continue with boxing, the keep lucrative opportunities will anticipate. However when he is inspiring to return to MMA, an awfully broad be troubled awaits.

Ferreira made the loudest assertion, however Nemkov may perchance well even very properly be the ultimate heavyweight


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Jon Jones weighs in on MMA diversifying, hobby in battling Francis Ngannou

Jon Jones joins the “PFL vs. Bellator: Champs” broadcast and predicts he would beat Francis Ngannou and varied heavyweights in doable future matchups.

Okamoto: Create no longer be taken aback if 12 to 18 months from now, we’re speaking about Vadim Nemkov as the ultimate heavyweight in the PFL/Bellator world. Sure, Ferreira knocked out Bader in spectacular model on Saturday, and he deserves the Francis Ngannou strive in opposition to bigger than anybody. And he is for certain in a position to worthwhile that strive in opposition to. The athletically talented Ferreira has been on the radar of hardcores for a couple years now, and now we’re seeing that doable realized.

However even so, Nemkov is so confirmed at this level in his profession. He’s properly-rounded and he is no longer dramatically undersized at heavyweight. He ran via a used PFL champ in Bruno Cappelozza. Nemkov will must wait his turn in most of those opportunities, however sitting here, factual now, I’m undecided I wouldn’t resolve him in opposition to any of those varied heavyweights, at the side of Ferreira and Ngannou. He’s extremely consistent and carries heavyweight energy for a used gentle heavyweight.

Let’s all ogle and abilities the Ngannou vs. Ferreira matchup it seems we are going to gain in the discontinuance to future, however undergo in mind there may perchance well even very properly be a gloomy horse lurking in Nemkov.

Bellator’s early investment in McKee-Pico may perchance well possibly yield dividends for PFL

Raimondi: AJ McKee and Aaron Pico were realizing to be the two cornerstones of Bellator’s future. Used Bellator president Scott Coker signed the two of them after they were extremely young. McKee debuted in Bellator three days after his 20th birthday in 2015. Pico became as soon as appropriate 18 when he save pen to paper in 2014.

McKee and Pico were supposed to discover interplay the reins of Bellator from one of the crucial crucial legends of yesteryear and elevate the promotion into the long accelerate. Those ultimate-laid plans did no longer moderately work out. Bellator sputtered out, and PFL received the corporate in late 2023 from dad or mum company Viacom. However, a few decade later, McKee and Pico peaceable discover an opportunity to be the main men of a imprint: PFL.

Each received Saturday on the PFL vs. Bellator: Champs card in Saudi Arabia, every by definitive first-round finishes. McKee submitted Clay Collard with a beautifully slick armbar from a triangle on the bottom. Pico pounded out Henry Corrales, who became as soon as coming in on brief perceive, via TKO to avenge a outdated loss.

McKee has already fulfilled some of his doable, worthwhile the Bellator featherweight title. However he peaceable has significant more to advise at appropriate 28 years used. As soon as realizing to be the ultimate prospect in MMA history, Pico has ultimate executed a part of what he is able to after stumbling in his early 20s. At 27 years used, Pico feels like esteem realizing to be one of the crucial most polished fighters on this unique roster. Ditto for McKee.

It received’t discover been what all people realizing would happen nine or 10 years previously, however it might perchance be moving to take a look at what McKee and Pico can cease in this unique amalgamation of PFL and Bellator.

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