Bellator 170’s Biggest Winners

Paul DaleyWith Bellator 170 behind us, there were many noteworthy performances which saw fighters’ stock rise. Jay Primetown takes a look at the key performers and what’s next for them. Paul Daley Overview: Coming off a loss to welterweight champion Douglas Lima, the 33-year-old English fighter was once again put into a high-profile fight at Bellator 170. Brennan Ward was entering this fight on a high after knocking out Saad Awad in November. In this bout, Ward scored a couple takedowns but was unable to hold down the feisty Daley. The Englishman landed a spinning back fist and followed it up with a hellacious flying knee to put Ward unconscious. It was a stunning knockout and an early contender for Knockout of the Year. What’s Next: I highly doubt this matchup will ever be made, but one of the most entertaining fights Bellator can currently make is a battle of English welterweights in Daley and Michael Page. Both fighters have a history of highlight fight-ending knockouts, and this is a fight that can be easily marketed for one of Bellator’s tent pole events in 2017. At this point in Daley’s career, he should only be put in fun action fights. Tito Ortiz Overview: In the final fight of Ortiz’s legendary career, he was pitted against former UFC middleweight mainstay Chael Sonnen. After some barbs during fight week, with Sonnen dishing some below the belt verbal jabs at Ortiz, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy had a turn-back-the-clock performance. He used his size and strength advantage to out-grapple Sonnen, finding full mount and then switching to Sonnen’s back. Ortiz was then able to lock in a rear-naked choke, ending his career with a victory. What’s Next: Ortiz has had a career he can be proud of, one that has spanned 20 years and sees him go down as one of the first multi-faceted fighters in MMA. He combined strength, speed and a solid wrestling game, making him one of the top fighters in the early eras of MMA. He was one of the first fighters to push the UFC regarding fighter wages and simply didn’t just accept what the promotion was willing to offer. In a way, Ortiz was ahead of his time. I think we see Ortiz continue to work within MMA perhaps as a brand ambassador for Bellator. It’s important for the sport’s biggest fighters to continue to promote it and continue to help it grow, and I believe Ortiz can play a part in doing that. Emmanuel Sanchez Overview: The talented RoufusSport featherweight has shown in his time in Bellator that he is a fighter capable of competing with some of the division’s best, but he had not yet been able to get over the hump. He had been involved in four straight split decisions, winning three and losing one. He has a strong record, but the two times he faced quality veterans in Bellator (Pat Curran and Daniel Weichel), his opponents got their hands raised. Tasked with fighting another quality veteran, Georgi Karakhanyan, Sanchez had a strong first two rounds, but he had his back taken in round three and had to fend off submission attempts to get to the final bell. It was certainly close when the scorecards were announced, but Sanchez finally was able to get his hand raised over one of Bellator’s better veterans. What’s Next: With Sanchez registering a win over one of the better featherweights on the Bellator roster, he will look to continue to move up the ladder in that weight class. Potential fights with John Teixeira and Goiti Yamauchi are meaningful and would put the winner a fight away from competing for a Bellator championship. Featherweight is Bellator’s deepest division, with talented young fighters and quality veterans sprinkled throughout the weight class.

Written by Jay Primetown

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