However, his signing was a big deal, he took part in some big fights and even though he’s only ever fought for an interim title (a fight which he lost, by the way), Lawal has been a fixture in the title chase in the light heavyweight division since his arrival, while occasionally moonlighting at heavyweight and representing the organization at various Rizin events as well.
The 28-year-old flyweight champion is 7-0 under the Bellator MMA banner, with five submission wins, a title win and one successful title defense under her belt. Bellator is the second largest MMA promotion in the world.
Joe Warren is a veteran warrior of this sport and one of the best fighters on the Bellator roster. Entering the Season 2 lightweight tournament with a familiar last name, a 10-3 record and limited expectations, he rattled off wins over Mike Ricci, Roger Huerta and Toby Imada to land a title shot against Eddie Alvarez. There is a line in High Fidelty about whether or not it’s fair to punish previously great artists for their latter-day sins — “Is it better to burn out than to fade away?” I think about that a lot with fighters because great fighters tend to become once-great fighters and as the losses start mounting, you start trying to recalculate where they stand within the pantheon of all-time greats. Despite all his success, he’s not currently the best fighter in the welterweight division and he’s not even one of top two talents to pass through the 170-pound ranks since Bellator’s inception. He was back at it in Season 10, only this time, he bested Patricky Freire to earn a title shot. The younger half of “The Pitbull Brothers” has been a staple in the promotion for more than eight years now, making three tournament finals appearances while enjoying two different featherweight title reigns, each of which have yielded two successful title defenses, including one against Daniel Weichel each time. He’s a tournament winner and a two-time champion, with three combined title defenses, as well as both the face of the organization and its greatest homegrown talent.
guys to grace the Bellator roster. The only people to beat him are Joe Warren, Curran, Straus and Benson Henderson, who was getting picked apart before the Brazilian suffered a leg injury and couldn’t continue. Mousasi arrived in Bellator MMA with a head of steam, having won his final five UFC appearances, and while his debut win over Alexander Shlemenko wasn’t exactly an earth-shattering performance, it was still a win over the tenured former middleweight titleholder. Curran was the first surprise star in Bellator. He’s also earned wins over Nazareno Malegarie, Marlon Sandro and Henry Corrales, which is slightly better competition than his Russian counterpart Koreshkov. A dangerous finisher who is rarely in a boring fight, Lima has been a tremendous find for Bellator and developed into a championship fixture. That’s no fault of his own; it’s just how things shake out from time-to-time. “The Wolf” is the reigning bantamweight champion, holding wins over Bunch, Warren, Joe Taimanglo, Dantas, Higo and Noad Lahat, amongst others. As it stands, the two-time Bellator MMA welterweight champion, who advanced to the Grand Prix semifinals by finishing Koreshkov in their trilogy bout earlier this year, is a standout talent who doesn’t get the respect and recognition as someone who has gone 12-3 under the Bellator banner, with wins over Steve Carl, Ben Saunders (times two), Rick Hawn, Paul Daley and Lorenz Larkin, merits. He’s 16-4 in 20 Bellator starts, has been in the title picture for literally the entire time he’s been in the organization and has been a must-see attraction from the outset. After that, Brooks registered two more successful title defenses, beating both Dave Jansen and Marcin Held before leaving the promotion. More than seven years after his promotional debut, Freire is in the midst of his greatest run of success inside the Bellator MMA cage, having earned four straight victories, featuring knockout wins over Josh Thomson, Derek Campos and Roger Huerta and a split decision nod over Benson Henderson. But the Brazilian doesn’t feel like he’s made the same kind of impact as the fighters who land higher than him on this list. “King Mo” is a difficult guy to place because he has never held a title, fought in a couple tournament semifinals that didn’t lead anywhere and is just 10-5 overall in the Bellator cage, with only a couple victories that truly feel meaningful. Askren went 9-0 inside the Bellator cage, winning the Season 2 welterweight tournament before claiming the title from Lyman Good and successfully defending it four times before dropping the belt and moving on to fight elsewhere. A former Olympic judoka, Hawn was a contender in two different divisions during his four-year run with the promotion. Held debuted with a loss to Chandler in the opening round of the Season 4 lightweight tournament. Just as the NBA wouldn’t have been the same without 'Nique, Bellator MMA isn’t the same without the elder Pitbull. It also doesn’t help that after losing the title to Darrion Caldwell (more on him shortly), Dantas got bombed on my Michael McDonald. Like Lima, Freire is one of the promotion’s best discoveries over the years and one of its greatest fighters of all-time. Straus is essentially the featherweight version of Koreshkov, except he has one more title reign, one fewer tournanment wins and zero successful title defenses to his name. The former middleweight champion is 12-6 with one no contest result overall inside the Bellator MMA cage, and while it feels like he’s transitioning out of title contention and into a “veteran name” role, Shlemenko’s place as one of the early standouts in the organization has to be recognized. All 12 of the 23-year-old featherweight’s professional fights have taken place under the Bellator MMA banner and McKee has won every single one of them.
Though he’s currently on a two-fight skid, Straus remains an integral member of the featherweight division, a role he's maintained for more than seven years. A big part of the reason that Lombard was able to command beaucoup bucks from the UFC is that he was like “The Boogeyman” when he fought under the Bellator banner — a low-output, high-finishing rate nightmare with insane takedown defense, daunting power and a demeanor that left many guys beaten before they even stepped in to face him. This weekend, the San Diego Combat Academy product returns home to face Letourneau in her toughest test to date and if she retains her title and posts another impressive performance, Macfarlane will cement herself as one of the key fighters the promotion should continue to build around in 2019 and beyond. Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: you’re not going to agree with the list that follows and that’s OK.
conversations. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/1f/6b/michael-chandler_1irsyncba3fax1xz15tjnn7pyz.jpg?t=-1550789329&w=500&quality=80, as he finally faces Brent Primus for a second time. The Bellator Top 25: Ranking the best fighters in Bellator MMA history 1. Michael Chandler. This is one of those rankings that people are going to question because Brooks flamed out hard in the UFC, but “Ill Will” went 9-1 in the Bellator cage, avenging his loss to Saad Awad en route to winning the Season 9 lightweight tournament with a victory over Alexander Sarnavskiy. A two-time bantamweight champion, Dantas is 10-3 overall under the Bellator MMA banner, with wins over Wilson Reis, Vila, Zach Makovsky, Galvao (twice), Warren and Leandro Higo. Check out the Bellator MMA roster of fighters, including champions and some of the biggest stars and hottest prospects in MMA. Regardless of what has happened since, there is no denying that Brooks is one of the best fighters to pass through Bellator MMA over the years. Though he never claimed gold, Hawn was a key piece of what Bellator was doing during that stretch.
She's unmatched in the division and unless the UFC opts to shutter its women’s 145-pound weight class, that shouldn’t change. He was a Top 5 lightweight at the time and instantly became the face of the company. MMAFighting.com: Israel Adesanya never expects Paulo Costa rematch: ‘I don’t think I ever see him again to be honest’ ; MMA Junkie: Bellator 249 weigh-in results ; MMA Junkie: First loss changed Mandel Nallo's perspective going into Bellator 249 ; MMA Junkie: In order to beat Cris Cyborg, Arlene Blencowe aims to 'put some fear in her' at Bellator 249 More than just about anything, trying to sort out some kind of hierarchy in any arena where there are passionate fans and supporters leads to debate and discussion, points and counterpoints, and if you really rankle someone enough, 'What (insert writer's name) got wrong' counter-articles pointing out how you’re an idiot for not having Die Hard as the greatest Christmas movie ever.
Budd is the second best featherweight on the planet right now and a dominant force in Bellator’s 145-pound division. The younger half of “The Pitbull Brothers” has been a … Next up is a bout with unbeaten Brazilian jiu jitsu ace Rafael Lovato Jr. in January. The Bellator MMA (formerly known as "Bellator Fighting Championships") promotion was … While often criticized for his style, the suffocating wrestler was a perfect heel champion for the emerging company and one of the earliest 'I wonder how he would do in the UFC?' Jon Jones — 26 wins (10 KOs, 6 subs, 10 decisions) against 1 loss (DQ) and 1 NC. “The Iliminator,” who headlines Saturday’s event against Valerie Letourneau, is another current champion with the chance to climb future versions of this list. As an encore, the undefeated champion edged out Cheick Kongo on the scorecards, winning 48-46 across the board at Bellator 115. Best Fighters in Bellator. What separates the 30-year-old Caldwell from someone like Dantas is that his fights feel like events and there is just an energy about the Alliance MMA product that makes you want to see him continue to challenge himself. As a former two-division champion, Warren deserves a ton of recognition. Alvarez was the company’s marquee signing heading into its first season and headlined Bellator 1, collecting a first-round submission win over Greg Loughran to advance in the lightweight tournament. Lombard cruised to victory in the middleweight tournament in Season 1, becoming the inaugural champion with a fourth-round stoppage win over Jared Hess. Minakov, who arrived with a 9-0 record, earned three straight stoppage wins to secure a title bout opposite Alexander Volkov, whom he promptly stopped in a shade under three minutes.
“The Jewel” won the title with a fourth-round stoppage win over legend Marloes Coenen, squeaked by Arlene Blencowe in her first title defense and then blew the doors off Talita Nogueira to retain her title. He advanced to the welterweight tournament finals in Season 4, losing to Jay Hieron, and then dropped down to lightweight in Season 6 and beat Brent Weedman to earn a title shot. The older half of “The Pitbull Brothers,” Patricky has been a permanent fixture in the lightweight title picture since his debut at Bellator 36 and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere any time soon. After a couple successful title defenses, Curran started a game of hot potato with the featherweight belt where he lost the belt to Straus, won it back and then lost two straight.
In the UFC, it’s currently known as “The Anderson Silva Conundrum” and in Bellator, it’s “The Joe Warren Problem.” Warren won the Season 2 featherweight tournament, then knocked out Joe Soto to win the title. He then won the title from Michael Chandler by split decision before finishing him midway through the fourth round of their rematch six months later. He should be one of the foundational pieces for the company going forward and if he continues winning and making strides between each fight the way he has to this point, McKee will be a permanent fixture in both the title picture and main event conversations for years to come.
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