Four MMA legends have been back in the news , and you’ll be able to read what they’re up to below.
Bellator Books Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen
Bellator continues to reserve legends struggles and this time that the promotion has signed a light heavyweight competition between Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani affirmed the booking, though Bellator hasn’t announced a date or location for the contest as of yet. Notably, the competition will take place at 205lbs following Machida last competed at middleweight and Sonnen at heavyweight.
Machida (25-8) defeated Rafael Carvalho via split decision in his Bellator introduction and beat both Eryk Anders and Vitor Belfort earlier that at the Octagon in what was a comeback 2018 for”The Dragon.” Though he is 40-years-old today, Machida revealed last year that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Many believed he had been next in line to get a rematch against Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, but rather he’ll move up to light heavyweight with this big fight against Sonnen.
Sonnen (31-16-1) is currently 2-2 at Bellator and is coming off of a TKO loss to Fedor Emelianenko at the semifinals of their Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Prior to this, Sonnen had defeated Quinton”Rampage” Jackson from the tournament quarterfinals and Wanderlei Silva prior to that. Though he’s 41 now and no longer an elite fighter, Sonnen continues to land big-name matchups because of his entertaining struggles and vibrant personality.
As far as the betting line goes, start looking for Machida for a large favorite in this one. His strong takedown defense abilities combined with vicious knockout power against a chinny fighter such as Sonnen makes this a very favorable matchup on paper.
ONE Championship Inks Vitor Belfort
After last year’s signings of both Eddie Alvarez, Demetrious Johnson and Sage Northcutt, it seems that ONE Championship is not done signing former UFC fighters just yet. The Singapore-based MMA advertising announced over the weekend it’s signed former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort into a brand new, multi-fight contract. Belfort was released from the UFC after announcing his retirement following a KO loss to Machida in May 2018, but ONE gave him an offer he can not refuse, and he’ll end his short lived retirement when he struggles for ONE after this year, likely in Brazil as the advertising looks to expand in South America.
ONE hasn’t announced who Belfort’s first competition is going to be, but there are plenty of options for him. Most likely Belfort is going to be ticketed into a heavyweight fight as he will not have to reduce weight in that circumstance. ONE could readily give Belfort a name fight against their heavyweight winner Brandon Vera, but they may want to give him an easier battle against a journeyman such as James McSweeney. Roger Gracie is the promotion’s light heavyweight/cruiserweight winner, but he hasn’t fought in two decades. Perhaps ONE could book that struggle in Brazil. As well, Belfort said he’d be interested in boxing and boxing fights. Personally, I believe the 41-year-old Belfort should have stayed retired, but he’ll make some good money under the ONE banner. Cro Cop Retires
Legendary heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop has retired, only weeks after a decision win over Roy Nelson in Bellator. Based on reports, Cro Cop suffered a stroke and has to retire. Cro Cop (38-11-2, 1 NC) will retire at age 44 as one of the greatest heavyweights to ever compete at the sport. He’ll retire on a 10-fight win streak, one which saw him fight and compete all over the world to find the best promotions in MMA. We at MMAOB want Cro Cop the top of luck .
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