MMA Root

Five things we learned from Jake Paul’s weekend war with the MMA world – MMA Root

Peace was never an option this weekend.

When Jake Paul and his legion of social media sycophants descended on our precious MMA bubble, most hardcore fans were outraged by the possibility that Paul’s Ben Askren freak show eclipsed UFC Vegas 24’s compelling main event featuring top middleweight contenders. Robert Whittaker and Calvin Gastelum, as well as a strong Bellator card headlined by a pair of light heavyweight Grand Prix bouts.

The Triller Fight Club event undoubtedly generated widespread interest from a wide variety of demographics, but for fighting fans who used their time wisely and chose not to indulge in all three events, here’s a rundown of the storylines that played out on Friday and Saturday.

Reaper Run

Robert Whittaker
Zuffa LLC

I never understood why Robert Whittaker didn’t have a stronger push to get his chance to reclaim the middleweight title from Israel Adesanya.

Yes, Adesanya finally won their first meeting by outplaying the aggressive Whittaker and making it look like his fellow Oceanic warrior did not belong to him in the octagon. It was the climax for The Last Seeker of Style. But that loss shouldn’t determine Whittaker’s run through the 185-pound division, which included a reign of snake-bitten championship.

On paper, Whittaker’s time with the title was just a pair of pentagons with Yoel Romero. Both unforgettable matches, to be sure, and real tests of Whittaker’s character, but not exactly an epic stretch of title fights (technically, the rematch was not even a title fight, because Romero lost weight, so officially Whittaker does not have successful title defenses). In fact, Whittaker was only an interim champion at first and was promoted without a chance to unite the belts when Georges Saint-Pierre vacated his recently won undisputed championship and retired due to colitis problems.

One missed opportunity led to another, as it was followed by a non-title duel with Romero, and then Ultimate fighter coaching concert with Calvin Gastelum, which ended with the cancellation of their anticipated UFC 234 meeting due to Whittaker having to undergo emergency surgery.

The circle was closed for Whittaker on Saturday, when he finally entered the cage to fight Gastelum and defeat his comrade. TUF winner. Whittaker spoke openly about the burnout he experienced during the 2014 to 2019 win-win period and the changes he made to his life so that it doesn’t happen again. His last three walks have been some of the best of his career, and he looks more than ready to take Adesanya out again.

Maybe Adesanya will beat him again, and maybe he will do it even faster than last time, given that he will have fresh motivation for his next title defense after Jan Blachovic scored his attempt to become a champion in two divisions at UFC 259. But Whittaker earned the right to know if this rematch could happen in Australia or New Zealand, even better.

Bellator does it best

Bellator stole the show this weekend?

While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, it wouldn’t be the slightest exaggeration if we assume that Friday’s Bellator 257 map was more interesting than UFC Vegas 24 and Triller Fight Club, if we judge strictly by the product in the cage.

In the main event, Vadim Nemkov and Phil Davis competed in light heavyweight competition of the same high quality as elsewhere, while the co-headliner saw Corey Anderson show how much his play and maturity changed when he tackled Dovletzhan Yagshimuradov. the mysterious man of the Bellator World Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Vadim Nemkov and Phil Davis
Bellator mma

It was important that the two fights were staged as the start of the tournament between Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida was a depressing flop for anyone who wasn’t a member of Bader’s family and friends. If two more first-round bouts had failed, the £ 205 Grand Prix would have been dead on arrival. Instead, he has already given us two quality fights to whet the appetite for the already highly anticipated May 7 meeting between Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero.

While the light heavyweight deserves its praise, we’ve already buried ice here, without mentioning the opening of the main map Bellator 257, which produced the favorite of the year. Paul Daly’s 62nd (!) Career fight was a worthy celebration of his greatest break with Nick Diaz 10 years ago, and much credit goes to his rival Sabah Homasi for performing the dance of destruction with him.

A ferocious finisher, Homasi nearly pushed Daley away in the first round, but learned from his own experience why Daly had only hit twice in his 18-year career. Semtex hung and shook off the cobwebs, then blew up Homasi with their characteristic left hook in the second round and won a spectacular victory.

Take four of Bellator’s core card fights, stack them together with Triller quirks and the UFC patchwork card, and I’m comfortable giving Bellator a crisp 10-9 this round.

Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren happened

When it was first announced that Ben Askren would indeed accept Jake Paul’s challenge, everyone agreed that it was the perfect match for Paul’s third boxing match. Askren was not a striker, even when he won the MMA world championships, besides, he had already retired from active competition, he is 36 years old, he has a ton of sports run on tires, and he almost got his hip replaced (instead he had a different type of surgery, which would leave the door open to return to combat). If Paul wanted to beat a reliable MMA fighter, he could do a lot worse than Askren.

Even with their lagging combat experience, it was hard to shake the image of Paul, who did to Askren what he did to former NBA player Nate Robinson, a boxing rookie who outnumbered Askren by roughly 1,000 times in athleticism, and went on Saturday by KO Paul … was a pretty safe bet.

Shocking shock: Paul quickly found Askren’s time, cut him off with his right hand and came out with a TKO victory less than two minutes after referee Brian Statts decided the shaky Askren had enough. Sure, there was at least one supposedly smart MMA analyst who thought Askren’s combat experience could lead him to victory, but for the most part it happened as many initially predicted.

Jake Paul
Getty Images for Triller

Paul is now 3-0 as a pro boxer, defeating another YouTuber, a three-time NBA dunk champion and, yes, a former Bellator and ONE Championship holder. He claimed to be serious about his boxing career and at this stage he can continue to participate in these special fights. Who knows, maybe next time he will meet a professional wrestler, self-help guru or famous pantomime? The world is his oyster. He already has several fighters lining up for this sweet, sweet payday for Thriller.

As several smarter people than me have pointed out, the way Paul compiles his resume is not very different from how most professionals do. Check out the records of the clubs some of your favorite boxers played in their first 10-20 fights and have a laugh. Can crushing is a long tradition. The difference is that Paul has the resources, influence and luxury in the form of a huge built-in audience that will tune in to his developmental fights, and he chooses his opponents accordingly.

This guy’s not going anywhere.

but what is a dodge cat

And now … Black Keys!

Admittedly, even if you totally agree with Thriller’s multi-pronged attack on the senses, which included numerous musical performances, meeting celebrities and, uh, Steve Urkel (???), there was definitely some fat that could have been ripped off from the proceedings.

Saturday nightlifePete Davidson hesitated between pleasing disrespect and outright disdain for the event he was paid to host, a drunk Oscar De La Hoya was invited to comment on the fight between Frank Meer and Steve Cunningham (De La Hoya’s display in this state was particularly brutal given his history of abuse psychoactive substances), and the pace of the show, like cruel for those who are primarily interested in fighting. In the first two hours of the main card, there was only one fight, and it involved former professional boxer-turned-entrepreneur Joe Fournier, who fought Colombian reggaeton star Raikon, who was completely lost.

But the spirit of the event seemed to rule, and if you were in any way interested in the musical aspect, there was probably at least one performance that you enjoyed. The Black Keys opened with an energetic set as if they were performing in front of a crowded crowd, the newly formed rap supergroup Mount Westmore (consisting of Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $ hort and E-40) performed a mixture of their individuals. hits before the debut of their first single, and Justin Bieber added even more stellar power to set the stage for Paul and Askren’s clash.

It was indeed a welcome distraction from the usual Saturday night fighting routine, even if there were plenty of jerk-worthy moments that are likely a feature rather than a bug considering Thriller tossed against the wall and saw the “if he sticks” strategy. Maybe next time we can cut a couple of sets and sketches?

On the other hand, at least I finally know what Doja Cat is.

Dodge Cat performs at Triller Fight Club on April 17th in Atlanta.
Getty Images for Triller

Do not forget about me

While some of us have fun skated in the best mud, there was also a 10-fight UFC map on Saturday that was thrown out along with the loss of two fights this week. One of those canceled fights was a co-main event that would mark Jeremy Stevens’ return to lightweight. Sadly, Stevens went too aggressively on the official gazes, blasting Drakkar’s opponent Klose with a jerk that could have left Klose injured and sent off the map.

Klose’s departure was officially announced at the start of the pre-broadcast, overshadowing the squad’s lack of stellar power. But not only was the main event a success, we also had the added pleasure of seeing three veterans take on much-needed victories to remind us that there is no one to be counted in this business.

In the de facto co-main event, Andrei Arlovski scored a landslide victory over the tyrannical Chase Sherman in his 20th UFC victory (one of seven fighters to reach that mark), Jessica Penne fighting for the first time out of four. years and won for the first time since December 2014, and Gerald Meerschart recovered from a 17-second knockout defeat from Khamzat Chimaev with a spectacular serve from Bartosz Fabinski.

Chase Sherman and Andrey Arlovsky
Zuffa LLC

We’re throwing the fighters aside too quickly in this game, so it’s reassuring to see this trio again in the win column. With massive pay-per-view just around the corner, these victories will soon be lost in the continuous information cycle, so let’s rate them now before our eyes jump to the next trinket that hangs in front of it. us.


What was the best event?

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    Bellator 257

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    Ufc vegas 24

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    Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren (Thriller Fight Club)

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