Strange as it may sound, the loss of Tito Ortiz-Quinton Jackson turned out to be a positive for Bellator 106 based on the organization’s subsequent decision to show the card for free. Doing so exposed a lot more fans to the product than would have been the case with a $50 price tag and no doubt created some new followers based on the attached action. The undercard was strong, the featured fights were decent, and headliners Eddie Alvarez-Michael Chandler produced another classic. Some quick thoughts: Joe Riggs still has a little gas left in the tank and should end up in a Bellator tournament final at some point / Pat Curran has some mental hurdles to leap before truly emerging as an elite fighter / Daniel Straus’ size and wrestling ability are going to make him a hard champ to dethrone / Mo Lawal’s lack of improvement, even regression, over the past few years is concerning / Is there any unification bout in history with less interest than Emanuel Newton’s eventual date with Attila Vegh? / I could watch Chandler-Alvarez fight 10X. Their heart combined with technique and willful aggression is a recipe for action-packed entertainment in the cage. Belfort recently turned heads by saying he would stop using TRT if required to do so for a title-shot. While the sentiment is commendable on the surface, it also calls into question the reason he needs to inject testosterone currently if able to fight confidently without it in a situation with such high stakes. If there’s one issue other than judging I’d like to see State athletic commissions address in a serious manner come 2014 it is TRT. There’s too much gray area. Then again, considering Belfort has only fought outside of Brazil a single time over the past two years it may not really matter in his case. The UFC definitely made the right decision by booking Machida-Mousasi (February 8). The fight not only pairs two exceptionally talented individuals against one another, but it also makes complete sense from a divisional perspective and the winner could easily emerge with a title-shot depending on how action unfolds. Machida looked fantastic in his middleweight debut where he knocked out Mark Munoz, while the 34-3-2 Mousasi was a force at 185 pounds before deciding to move up as a means of avoiding the rigors of dieting. They’re two of the best in the business and fans are fortunate to see their eventual scuffle. Gracie has been attempting to talk his way back into the Octagon for awhile now. Tired of the chirping, UFC President Dana White decided to make Gracie an offer to stay on the sidelines. Gracie’s response? Money’s nice but he would fight for free if given the chance. Honestly, with some of the bums the UFC puts out there on undercards or overseas shows there’s no reason a legend like Gracie shouldn’t get one more shot. Additionally, a Brazilian event would be a perfect backdrop for the bout since the fans would embrace his presence rather than scoff at it. In order to battle Browne at UFC 168 the Nevada Athletic Commission forced Barnett to undergo increased drug testing based on past infractions. Happy to clear his name, Barnett agreed, and so has Browne based on an interest in leveling the playing field. It’s nice to see the NAC on the ball in terms of focusing on a fighter with a history of PED use even though he’s been clean as of late, as well as two competitors willing to take the extra effort and a company open to supporting the process financially. It’s hard to blame the big lug for wanting to give it a go, at least one final time. He was forced to retire due to health-related issues and the last time he fought he was pummeled from pillar to post by Junior dos Santos. Personally, if Carwin can get his body in check I would have no problem with a send-off scrap. Carwin has been a class act throughout his career and entertained on numerous occasions thanks to his brand of cement-fisted slugging. Stakes are high for Henderson this Saturday night and not just because he’s battling Vitor Belfort in Brazil. He’s has butted heads with management before in the past, is 43 years old, uses supplemental testosterone, and also happens to be on a two-fight skid (though both losses involved razor thin Split Decisions). Compounding matters, the grizzled veteran’s contract expires after the effort meaning there’s a significant chance he won’t be re-signed if he stumbles. Hopefully “Hendo” will weather the storm and either pick up a win or have endeared himself enough in the hearts of fans to essentially force the UFC to keep him around for another three tilts until it’s finally time for the former PRIDE/Strikeforce champ to call it quits. The UFC’s questionable booking of Gustafsson against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for five months down the road fell apart this week when “Little Nog” was forced to withdraw due to injury. Rather than give him a Top 5 foe, the matchmaking team made it clear the company is invested in maintaining the possibility of another go between Gustafsson and champion Jon Jones by tabbing Manuwa as a replacement. The British powerhouse is an excellent striker but he has yet to face a Top 10 foe, let alone beat one. The only saving grace is that the event is scheduled for London so local fans have at least been given a treat. However, beyond that the match-up is head-scratching, as Gustafsson has shown he is one of the best 205ers in the world while Manuwa has only proven he knows how to smash tomato cans. UFC Fight Night 32 isn’t one of the company’s best cards in Brazil but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering how many shows the UFC has produced in the MMA hotbed as of late. The headliner between Dan Henderson-Vitor Belfort should be excellent, plus there are some other pleasing pairings for enthusiastic fans including Brandon Thatch-Paulo Thiago, Rony “Jason”-Jeremy Stephens, Thiago Tavares-Justin Salas, and Daniel Sarafian-Cezar Ferreira. Also, Rafael Cavalcante-Igor Pokrjac is almost certain to produce a highlight reel knockout given their respective abilities. Throw in the high level of energy Brazilian crowds consistently bring to the table and you’ve definitely got plenty of reasons to crack a cold one on the couch Saturday night and enjoy the festivities. The UFC has always shown solid support for soldiers by helping veterans financially through donations to various charities, having the organization’s stars visit with troops, and delivering action with the military in mind. Tonight’s show is no exception to the rule. It features some potential-laden preliminary fights like Lorenz Larkin-Chris Camozzi and Steven Siler-Dennis Bermudez, as well as competitive clashes on the main card including Jorge Masvidal-Rustim Khabilov, Liz Carmouche-Alexis Davis, and Tim Kennedy-Rafael Natal. There are also a number of fighters with military ties like Carmouche, Colton Smith, and Kennedy slated for service, making the atmosphere even more special than it might be otherwise.
Welcome back to the 10-Point Must! Every week I’ll give my thoughts on ten topics from the past seven days with hopes the readership will contribute their takes as well in the Comments section. This time around, subjects range from
to a few new Bellator 106 UFC match-ups to the hazy future for beyond his upcoming bout with Dan Henderson at Vitor Belfort . (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 32