By Jason Nawara
This isn’t 1993 anymore, Mixed Martial Arts programming is in your face like a spinning wheel kick. So how do you separate the grain from the chaff? How do you know what shows deserve your hard-earned attention? Well MMANuts is here to take your hand like a lost child in a supermarket to guide you to the delicious and most choice fights that you should watch. Then we will help you find your Mommy… Actually, we’re just kidding about that last part. We don’t know if we can find your lost parents. Sorry.
This is the MMANuts Guide to Your Week in MMA 3/4 – 3/10.
TUF Tuesday – March 5th: 8pm EST.
The best season of TUF in years rolls on as Team Jones and Team Sonnen continue to trade wins. Last week, we saw Jon Jones suck at bowling, then the much hyped Tor Troeng fall to Josh Samman via a beautiful 1-2 combination that dropped the Swede to the mat and out of the competition. This is particularly shocking considering how many thought Tor was a lock to go deep into the tournament. Guess not. Now Team Jones takes control and we will see how Chael reacts.
Next week’s fight: Clint Hester of Team Jones goes up against Jimmy Quinlan of Team Sonnen.
With the slick production values, sage advice from Chael Sonnen, and the surprisingly endearing coaching of Jon Jones, TUF is becoming can’t miss. I have to admit though, as the season rolls on, my attention span is waning, even with Urijah Hall being made out to be a ‘bad guy.’
Kick off the week right and WATCH!
Bellator 92 – Thursday, March 8th
It’s hard to deny Spike’s influence on the Bellator product, there has nary been a poor show since the promotion debuted on the ‘only network for men’ in January, and Bellator 92 is the latest in a long line of sweet cards. This is actually only the second time in the last two months where Bellator won’t be putting a title fight on the card, and only the first time where a tournament final or a title fight isn’t on the line. You may think this would lead to a skippable event, but that is wrong – dead wrong. Bellator 92 features four season 7 semifinals; two in the middleweight division and two in the featherweight division. Let’s check ’em out.
Sultan Aliev vs. Doug Marshall – middleweight tournament semifinals. Doug Marshal hits hard, really hard. In his 16 wins he has 11 knockouts and is currently on a two-fight winning streak with back-to-back knockouts to land him across the cage from Sultan Aliev; a scary, undefeated Russian sambo practitioner who also has a 66% knockout rate. Two words of advice for this fight: don’t blink. In fact here’s seven more words: someone is going to get knocked out!
Brett Cooper vs. Dan Cramer – middleweight tournament semifinals: Brett Cooper is incapable of having a boring fight. Dude bangs, and bangs hard. Now, under the tutelage of of Mark Munoz, he has a new-found ground game. Cramer is a grinder who will probably take the fight to the ground, but call it a gut feeling – we think this fight is going to be awesome.
Alexandre Bezerra vs. Mike Richman – featherweight tournament semifinals: Yes, yes, yes, This will be fun. Richman has finished 13 of 14 opponents and Bezerra has finished 14 of 15 opponents. I think that’s all I need to say.
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev vs. Marlon Sandro – featherweight tournament semifinal: Pfft, like the legendary Marlon Sandro can be missed… He’s trying to make it to the Bellator featherweight tournament a third time, and in front of him stands another Russian discovery of Bellator in Khasbulaev, a dude who submits more humans than Ronda Rousey as a file clerk (12 subs to be exact). Let it be known that this dude is a ‘master’ sambo practitioner, which sounds really scary.
At first glance, you may think you could skip this show. I think not.
WATCH IT! Skip TUF if you have to. Seriously, I can feel it in my MMANUTS that you need to see this show.
Bellator 92 is the CAN’T MISS SHOW OF THE WEEK.
Friday, March 9th
Cage Warriors 52. Live on MMAJunkie.
Cage Warriors has been delivering consistent MMA-goodness for years, giving birth if you will to Conor McGregor and a slew of other exciting fighters. Recently they picked up Che Mills after the UFC dropped him, and this Friday afternoon’s show should be damn fun, but it’s tough to recommend a show that is on a Friday afternoon throughout the continental United States. Gael Grimuad and Cathal Pendred will fight for the welterweight title, but no one of obvious interest outside the UK is on the show.
SKIP, unless you are dying for some MMA on a Friday afternoon.
Saturday, March 10th
AXS TV Fights: Bamma 12
Every time we skip an AXS TV fight night I feel like I regret it. That isn’t enough to make me recommend a show, but there is a factor at play that changes everything for this event: Saturday afternoon MMA factor. Watching MMA on a relaxing Saturday afternoon is one of the finer things in life, just a few steps removed from Sunday football.
“Judo” Jim Wallhead takes on Matt Veach in the main event, which should be an entertaining enough scrap, and Curt Warburton will face Stevie Ray for the lightweight title. These fights could have no names and I would still recommend. The Saturday afternoon MMA effect is strong.
WATCH IT! You know you have nothing better to do. Treat yourself.