Four MMA legends are back in the news again, and you’ll be able to read what they’re up to beneath.
Bellator Books Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen
Bellator has been reserve legends struggles and this time the promotion has signed a light heavyweight competition between Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani confirmed the reservation, though Bellator has not announced a date or location for the contest as of yet. Notably, the competition will occur at 205lbs after Machida last competed at middleweight and Sonnen at heavyweight.
Machida (25-8) defeated Rafael Carvalho via split decision in his Bellator debut and defeat both Eryk Anders and Vitor Belfort before that at the Octagon in what was a comeback 2018 to get”The Dragon.” Though he is 40-years-old today, Machida revealed last year he still has a lot of gas left in the tank. Many believed he was next in line for a rematch against Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, but instead he’ll move back up to light heavyweight for this big struggle against Sonnen.
Sonnen (31-16-1) is 2-2 in Bellator and is coming from a TKO loss to Fedor Emelianenko at the semifinals of their Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Prior to that, Sonnen had defeated Quinton”Rampage” Jackson in the tournament quarterfinals and Wanderlei Silva prior to that. Though he’s 41 now and no more an elite fighter, Sonnen proceeds to land big-name matchups due to his entertaining fights and colorful personality.
As far as the gambling line goes, start looking for Machida to be a big favorite in this one. His solid takedown defense skills combined with vicious knockout power contrary to a chinny fighter like Sonnen makes this an extremely favorable matchup on paper.
ONE Championship Inks Vitor Belfort
After a year’s signings of Eddie Alvarez, Demetrious Johnson and Sage Northcutt, it seems that ONE Championship isn’t done signing former UFC fighters only yet. The Singapore-based MMA promotion announced over the weekend it’s signed former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort into some brand new, multi-fight contract. Belfort was released from the UFC after announcing his retirement after a KO loss to Machida in May 2018, but ONE gave him an offer he can’t deny, and he’ll end his short lived retirement when he fights for ONE after this year, likely in Brazil because the promotion looks to expand in South America.
ONE hasn’t declared who Belfort’s first competition is going to be, but there are plenty of alternatives for him. Most likely Belfort is going to be ticketed to a heavyweight fight since he won’t have to cut weight in that case. An individual could easily give Belfort a title fight against their heavyweight winner Brandon Vera, but they might want to provide him an easier fight against a journeyman for example James McSweeney. Roger Gracie is the advertising’s light heavyweight/cruiserweight champion, but he has not fought in two decades. Perhaps ONE could book that fight in Brazil. At the same time, Belfort stated he would be interested in boxing and boxing fights. I personally think the 41-year-old Belfort should have stayed retired, but he’ll make some good money under the ONE bannerads. Cro Cop Retires
Legendary heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop has retired, just weeks after a decision win over Roy Nelson in Bellator. Based on reports, Cro Cop suffered a stroke and must retire. Cro Cop (38-11-2, 1 NC) will retire at age 44 among the best heavyweights to compete at the sport. He’ll retire on a 10-fight win streak, one which saw him struggle and compete throughout the world to find the best promotions in MMA. We at MMAOB wish Cro Cop the very best of luck in retirement.
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