Bellator Has Opened The Door For Jon Jones To Fight Under USADA Suspension

Over the past week, several mixed martial arts media members have expressed concern about Bellator’s decision to book Mirko Cro Cop for their 200th event. This is because Cro Cop has yet to begin serving a two-year USADA suspension for having human growth hormone in his system before UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Masvidal. Bellator’s decision to book Mirko Cro Cop despite his USADA suspension puts at risk a well known unwritten rule among most MMA promotions and commissions. The unwritten rule states that no fighter should be given a commission license or be booked by a company until he/she has completed the suspension. This rule was meant to show competitors that if they got caught cheating, the ability to earn money would be stripped away. As a result of this, media members like Ryan Harkness of MMA Mania are asking the question does Bellator want to be known as the promotion that regularly breaks the unwritten rule. For instance, he stated in a recent article on this topic that “Bellator wants to use every single star they can get their hands on. But at the same time, do they want to be known as a promotion that ignores USADA suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs?”.

However, one can argue that Bellator broke the unwritten rule because they see a small window of opportunity to potentially sign Jon Jones in the near future. Jon Jones is currently facing a two to four-year suspension for his second violation under the USADA. The USADA violations are related to Jones ingesting substances that were banned by the agency. For example, according to ESPN, Jones was suspended for a year by USADA on November 7th of 2016 (“retroactive to July 6, the date Jones was pulled from a UFC 200 pay-per-view title fight”). This is because Jones tested positive for “the banned substances clomiphene and letrozole” which can be found in male enchantment drugs. A year later, Jon Jones committed another violation after he tested positive for turinabol in a drug test leading up to UFC 214. Due to this, if USADA decides to suspend him for four years retroactive to July 29th there is a possibility that he requests his release; to continue fighting elsewhere until the suspension is complete. If the UFC grants his freedom, Bellator would have real interest in signing Jon Jones because they have already established that entertainment is more important than the health of the sport.

As a result, if  Bellator and Jon Jones agreed to a contract, he would instantly become the company’s biggest television and pay per view star. According to mmapayout.com, the worst pay per view headlined by Jones had over three hundred thousand buys which is more than both Bellator pay per views. Furthermore, Jon is still considered one of the greatest of all time thus his potential presence in the company could entice free agents to jump ship. This is because these free agents would have the opportunity to be recognized as the first fighter to beat Jon Jones.

Brian Ortega’s Obsession With The Guillotine Choke Should Lead To His Demise Vs Frankie Edgar

Throughout his UFC career, Brian Ortega has shown a tendency to walk down his opponents in an attempt to get them into striking range. If Ortega is successful, he will throw the left jab followed by an occasional straight right hand or lead left hook. Once Ortega throws the initial combination, he would retract his arms back towards his body and place his hands at about chest height. Brian intentionally puts his hands at about chest height because he wants to give the illusion that his head and body are wide open to be countered. If the opponent takes the bait, he will throw a counter strike from the edge of the pocket or take a step in an attempt to throw the counter. When the opponent decides to take a step in, Ortega will reach out to get a body lock or duck under to shoot for a takedown. If he is successful, Brian will slowly start moving his arms up the back of his opponent until he reaches the neck to lock in a guillotine choke. For instance, in the first round of the Cub Swanson fight, Cub stepped in to throw a counter left hook to the body, but in the process, he got caught in a body lock. Once this happened, Brian slowly started to move his arms up the back of his opponent until he reaches the neck to lock in a guillotine choke.

Cub Swanson vs Brian Ortega fight on UFC Fight Night 123

However, Frankie Edgar has most likely been made aware of Brian Ortega’s tendencies by his coach Mark Henry. As a result, Edgar will look to engage with Ortega in short spurts where he can land his strikes and immediately get out of range. For instance, he will feint or throw the left jab followed by the straight or overhand right. After Edgar finishes his striking combination, he should take a couple of steps back and circle out to the left away from the power hand of Brian. The strategy should force Ortega to reset by having to chase Edgar around the octagon constantly.

Rampage Jackson’s Obsession With Boxing Should Lead To His Demise Vs Chael Sonnen

Throughout his MMA career, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has shown a tendency to walk down his opponents in an attempt to get them into striking range. If Rampage is successful, he will feint or throw the left jab which forces the opponent to slide back out of range; because he wants to avoid the possibility of being hit with the punch. When the adversary moves backward, Jackson will take a couple of steps forward and restart the process of feinting or throwing the left jab until the foe is near the fence. Once this happens, he will continuously throw a lead left hook followed by the right hook or overhand right; with the intention of severely hurting and knocking out the opponent. For instance, during the first fight against King Mo, Rampage feinted or threw the left jab forcing Mo to hop or slide back out of range on numerous occasions. Eventually, King Mo surrendered so much ground due to the threat of the left jab that he was near the fence. As a result of this, Rampage began to throw the lead left hook followed by the right hook or overhand right; with an occasional uppercut when Mo would duck down for a takedown attempt. Rampage’s strategy allowed him to pick up a controversial decision victory over King Mo.

 

However, one can argue Rampage Jackson’s fighting style has been the catalyst for his losses in MMA. This is because Rampage has often developed tunnel vision in search of the knockout that he disregards the wrestling aspect of mixed martial arts. In fact, when Jackson has an opponent near the fence, he tends to throw a wide lead left hook followed by a right hook or overhand right with the intention of generating as much power as possible. Jackson’s strategy gives his foes a chance to duck beneath the punches and create an opportunity for the clinch. Once the clinch has started, the opponent will reverse Rampage and put him up against the fence. Although one would expect fighters to try to get away from the wall, that is not the case with Rampage. Quinton will attempt to create space inside the clinch to throw some right uppercuts to the head and knees to the body. After a few moments, he stops striking, and the opponent is back on top of him to stay busy and win rounds by throwing some strikes or attempting takedowns. Due to this, Rampage has repeatedly asked his promoters to book him in fights vs. foes who are willing to strike with him. For example, in March of 2012, Rampage made an appearance on HDNet’s “Inside MMA” and said that; he was upset “with the UFC and the opponents they’ve been giving me…. why you giving me wrestlers who are gonna take me down and hump me?”

 

As a result of this, Chael Sonnen can develop two plausible game plans to defeat Rampage at Bellator 192.  Chael can interrupt Rampage’s pattern of throwing the left jab to get the foe near the fence by ducking under the punch to attempt a takedown. If he is successful on the takedown attempt, Sonnen will try to land some ground and pound. However, if Rampage can stop the takedown, Chael can let Rampage put him up against the fence. If  Sonnen is up against the wall, he can duck beneath the punches and create an opportunity for the clinch. Once the clinch has started, Chael will reverse Rampage and put him up against the fence. After this happens, he can once again shoot for the takedown.

Ultimately, this strategy should help Chael Sonnen pick up a decision victory over Rampage Jackson to advance to the next round of the heavyweight grand prix.

Douglas Lima’s Fighting Style Will Lead To His Downfall Vs Rory MacDonald 

Throughout his Bellator MMA tenure, Douglas Lima has shown a tendency to walk down his opponents in an attempt to get them into striking range. If Lima is successful, he will feint or throw the left jab followed by a straight/ overhand right to get the opponent to raise their hands to block the punches. When the adversary raises their hands, it gives him an opportunity to use the right leg kick without having to worry about the opponent catching the kick. For instance, during the second fight against Andrey Koreshkov, Lima feinted or threw the left jab followed by a straight/ overhand right. The strategy forced Koreshkov to elevate his hands by a couple of inches to shield his face from the punches. As a result, Lima had an open window to throw and land the right leg kick because Koreshkov’s hands were out of range to catch the kick. Eventually, the strategy helped Lima Douglas Lima pick up a knockout victory over Andrey Koreshkov.

However, Rory MacDonald has most likely been made aware of Lima’s tendencies by his coaches at TriStar and Toshido MMA. As a result,  MacDonald will look to interrupt his combination by ducking under and attempting a takedown after the jab. If he is successful, Rory will try to land some ground and pound with the right hand or elbow. On the other hand, if Rory isn’t able to complete the first couple takedowns, it will at least force Lima to start over again and possibly be hesitant to throw punches. This opens the door for Rory to throw the left jab followed by the straight/overhand right without much resistance from Douglas Lima.

Ultimately this strategy should help Rory MacDonald cruise towards a decision  victory over Douglas Lima to become the new Bellator welterweight champion.