Torres, Bellator shine for MMA
In case we forgot, last weekend served as a pretty nice reminder that fights in a ring or cage are far more entertaining than ones
With Zuffa placing a newfound emphasis on World Extreme Cagefighting events, there is a need now more than ever to promote stars who can draw ratings for Versus and, eventually, sell pay-per-views. In his five WEC fights, four of which featured an up-for-grabs title, Torres (37-1) has done more than enough to earn a place alongside
During his 17th consecutive win Sunday, Torres showed that even when he can't finish a fight, it's going to be exciting. It helped, of course, that he had a game opponent standing across from him. And
One contest after
The obvious name to consider is
Only injuries have stymied Yamamoto, who last summer failed to follow in his father's footsteps and wrestle for Japan at the Olympics, in part because of a severe knee injury.
If he can work his way through the ongoing Dream 139-pound tournament, Yamamoto will immediately be thrust back into the discussion regarding pound-for-pound consideration, and will quickly become the name uttered most when it comes to a desirable opponent for Torres.
Yamamoto would appear to have the style and physical attributes to really trouble the WEC champ. He's unquestionably the better wrestler. If he's right physically, "Kid" is faster. He hits harder, too. Torres, as usual, would have a significant edge on height and reach, and submissions would favor him, as well. At worst, it appears to be an even fight.
This may all be moot, however. Yamamoto is under contract to FEG, which puts on Dream and K-1 events. Zuffa won't co-promote. Unless fan interest gets to the point where organizations don't have a choice but to put on fights like these for fear of alienating their paying customers, we may never see the Japanese star take on the likes of Torres or Faber. If you recall, we already missed out on
I'll happily argue that winning is the only thing that matters when determining the best fighters, which is why Pride Fighting Championships were so highly regarded. There was a true sporting element to them: win and the rest should take care of itself. In today's fight world, where title shots aren't assured unless a mixed martial artist can impact pay-per-view numbers, brackets could provide a necessary change of pace.
I don't think there's any doubt that if the UFC selectively embraced the format -- say, to crown a No. 1 contender, find a champion for a weight division in which the belt lost its relevance (such as heavyweight after the Couture affair), or to create intriguing catch-weight matchups -- it would captivate audiences.
When Zuffa floated around the idea that a four-man tournament would decide the organization's heavyweight champion, how many of us really predicted
That's the fun of tournaments -- unless you were like everyone else and had the Tar Heels winning the NCAA Division I Championship.
Bellator Fighting Championships, which debuted Saturday on ESPN Deportes, is set to crown four tournament winners from 185 to 145. Lightweight would appear to be the organization's strength, what with top-five ranked
Absent the format, I doubt anyone would pay attention to Imada, or the likely fourth semifinal participant,
Picking up where Pride left off, Dream is also tournament-heavy this year -- including the previously mentioned featherweight grand prix, which seems destined to produce more than one great fight along the way. Last Sunday, in Japan, its welterweight version kicked off with one of the best fighters in the world getting crushed in 27 seconds. Clearly,
Outside of "Mach," however, the bracket doesn't possess much star power, not a surprise considering the UFC has long since dominated the welterweight division has. But if a star emerges from Dream's ranks (and that has to be FEG's hope) the event will have fulfilled its mission.
• By a large margin, strangest fight of the week goes to Lithuanian
• Early prediction: Brown will topple Faber a second time when they meet June 7. The current WEC champ is too strong and competent in the clinch. Faber needs to dart in and out with speed. At some point, Brown will snare him.
• This one comes at the urging of more than a few of you who e-mailed: Mir's commentary of the Torres-Mizugaki fight sounded noticeably one-sided. Calling fights straight shouldn't be too much to ask. I'm also a proponent of watching on mute, so there's always that option.
• And finally, it was great to see