Bellator 192: Rampage vs Sonnen
Bellator 192 is Bringing the Heat this Saturday
I have never been more interested in a Bellator fight card than I am for Bellator 192 this weekend. A promotion that has made its name off the backs of old stars and “freak show” fights has recently turned to the more legitimate side of the business. Instead of putting together questionable contests to draw viewers, Bellator has finally gotten behind their home-grown stars and have put together a stellar show to kick off 2018.
Of course the main-event, Chael Sonnen x Rampage Jackson, is a bit of a head scratcher though it’s a legitimate fight that will kick off the opening round of the heavyweight grand prix.
But when you move down the card, the best fighters in the world are there to be seen. Including the greatest title fight Bellator has ever put on. Rory MacDonald vs Douglas Lima features as the co-main event and pits two of the best welterweights on earth against each other. But, those two fights do not begin to cover the depth of this card.
Bellator is bringing it this weekend.
Just to start, this is a weird move from Bellator. Up until a few days ago, Lima x MacDonald was expected to headline the card. But on Saturday, we learned that would not be the case. Instead, Rampage x Sonnen, the opening fight of the year-long heavyweight grand prix, would usurp the spotlight from the welterweight title. For a company that has pushed to become more respected as a legitimate promotion rather than a laughing stock, it was an odd step-back. Of course, bout order is somewhat trivial and maybe I shouldn’t be so upset about it. But I am.
However, i’m also a big fan of the tournament Bellator is putting on this year. So the main event being its inauguration is reasonable. And i’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it. Rampage Jackson and Chael Sonnen are two legends of the game, not just for their ability inside the cage but for their ability to hype a fight. They’re two fan favorites who shoot from the hip and draw eyes.
But from a more specific fight sense, it’s not the “gold-standard”of MMA. If you’re expecting some knock-down, drag-out war, you should lower your expectations. Rampage will want to stand and trade but he’s lost a step or two in his older years. As for Chael, he’s gonna look for a takedown and if he gets it, which is likely given Rampage’s poor wrestling defense, he’ll simply stay on top and hold position. Lay and pray some might call it.
In essence, we’re more likely to see the fight end a whimper than with a bang. But that’s just one fight. It’s the main event but it’s just one element of an impressively stacked card at Bellator 192.
The Greatest Title Fight in Bellator History
Here’s the real main event.
Douglas Lima x Rory MacDonald represents the very best title fight Bellator has ever put on. It is one of the best title fights of 2018 regardless of promotion and i’m super excited for the opening bell.
It’s a well-known secret that i’m a YUGE Rory Mac guy. His days in the UFC were fun to say the least. The way he shut down guys like Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley was sensational, then add his war with Robbie Lawler to the marquee and you’ve got yourself quite the resume. But after jumping ship, he’s somehow gotten better. He opened his stint with a dominant submission victory over Paul Daley and has now earned a shot at an extremely underrated champion in Douglas Lima.
Lima has not had too many bad nights. He’s 17-2 in his last 19 fights and has already avenged one of those losses with a knockout win over Andrey Koreshkov to reclaim his throne. And in his first defense, he put it on a premier welterweight challenger in Lorenz Larkin.
1 UFC transplant down, 1 more to go.
Rory Mac would represent Lima’s final entrance into the main-stream UFC crowd and will establish himself as a top-5 welterweight in the world. But he’s got to get into the win column first. And when you’re looking into the eyes of the “Canadian Psycho”, doubt can creep in.
“Iron Mike Chandler”
I hate to turn this bit into a Michael Chandler hype piece. After all, Goiti Yamauchi is a legitimate threat to his well-being. But Chandler has more than earned my over-abundance of respect, so i’m selling him rather than the fight itself.
In case you somehow missed it, Michael Chandler lost his belt at Bellator: NY last year but it came under peculiar circumstances. Early in the first round, Chandler took a bad step and rolled his ankle which led to a serious hindrance of skill. Brent Primus then began attacking the damaged leg and almost got himself knocked out in the meantime. That’s the power and will you face when fighting Michael Chandler.
The dude was fighting with one leg and still almost slept a super tough challenger attempting to capitalize on an injury he didn’t even cause. Not to say I detest his targeting of a weakness but it shows the mentality of “Iron Mike”. Do your worst and he’ll make you pay.
In the end, doctors stopped the fight and Primus, in a somewhat falsely confident sort of way, celebrated his victory.
But Michael Chandler is back in action after claiming that the now-champion was delaying their rematch. And while Yamauchi represents a serious challenge for the former champion, “Iron Mike” isn’t concerned.
The Rest of the Card
But wait! That’s not all!
Georgi Karakhanyan x Henry Corrales are to-the-bone scrappers and will put on a show this weekend. Karakhanyan has a decent experience advantage but Henry Corrales has looked tremendous in his last 2 fights and a win will put him in that title picture. Big fight with big circumstances surrounding it.
Rounding out the main card is uber-prospect, Aaron Pico facing 12-3 Shane Kruchten. It’s a pretty solid step-up but Pico has said since day one he doesn’t want to take baby steps in this sport. Pico’s looking to get to the top as quickly as possible and following the first win of his career, he’s got a chance to do just that. I’m always excited to watch this guy fight so you better believe i’m tuning in for it.
And finally, the prelim-headliner is the professional debut of one Khonry Gracie. Maybe it’s simply the soft spot in my heart, but any time I see a Gracie fighting in MMA, i’ve got to tune in. Son of Royce Gracie, Khonry carries on the name and will look to earn a win on the biggest card in Bellator history.
The Unfortunate World of Counter-Programming
Everything has come together for Bellator 192 on Saturday night. Except just one pretty major issue. The UFC is counter-programming the card on Saturday night with UFC 220 and the biggest heavyweight title fight in the promotion’s history.
Now, there’s a decent shot that UFC 220’s main event will occur after the entirety of Bellator 192. So hopefully, there will be no problems with watching both cards simultaneously. After all, the main card of UFC 220 is not exactly as stacked as Bellator’s 2018 debut. So if anything, the UFC may suffer from the effects of counter-programming more than Bellator.
But still, once DC x Volkan come out, it’s gonna be tough to pull me away from that card. So, in a way, it’s a positive that Lima x MacDonald will be on earlier than anticipated. You can watch the welterweight title clash and still pay attention to the two belts on the line in Boston. Unless of course you simply cannot miss Villante x Barroso.
But enough of that. This is the 21st century. Watch them both and enjoy a crazy night of fights.