Bellator Dynamite 1 may have been one of the most up and down events in recent history. The card started out with a spectacular opening and ended with two first round finishes. In between those two were a lot of disappointing performances, a head scratcher of a major announcement and a re-shuffling of a tournament. With all that said, here are your winners and losers of Bellator Dynamite 1.
Phil Davis is no doubt the big winner of the night. The UFC received a lot of flack for releasing a top 10 ranked fighter. The best way for Davis to come back from being released was by shedding any of the negatives that he would carry over from his UFC departure. In the first fight of the night, Davis started off predictably by getting the takedown, but then cranked a kimura on Newton like the Davis of old. In his second fight, Davis did the unthinkable and got a knockout. Not only was it a knockout, but it was against a former UFC fighter, and not a random scrub. Davis is now one win away from being the Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion, and it seems like the promotion is willing to put him front and center as their next star.
Liam McGeary had a couple of wins tonight. The first and most obvious was his first round submission of Tito Ortiz. The best case scenario for McGeary was to not look bad and hope for a quick finish. Although McGeary was taken down, he didn't look like a fish out of water on the ground and was able to control Ortiz. He picked up a slick submission win with the reverse triangle. Another minor win was not only getting a win against a notable fighter in Ortiz, but being the final fight of a broadcast that likely did close to record numbers for Bellator MMA. Now he has a chance at beating a legit top 10 Light Heavyweight in Phil Davis to legitimize his world championship.
Bellator MMA had several big wins for themself, but the biggest is comparing Bellator to where is was not long ago. Two years ago it would have been odd to see a UFC fighter at a Bellator event. Not only were there five former UFC fighters on the main card, but there were a bunch of current and former UFC fighters in attendance, along with other legends of the sport. Here is a quick list off the top of my head: B.J. Penn, Georges St-Pierre, Randy Couture, Fedor Emelianenko, Tito Ortiz, Cain Velasquez, Frank Shamrock, Royce Gracie, Kazushi Sakuraba, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Kimbo Slice, Cung Le, Phil Davis, Paul Daley and Francis Carmont. All of those fighters were in the arena for Bellator: Dynamite 1, and that's a big win for the promotion.
Other winners: Crazy Pride entrances and Josh Thomson
Emanuel Newton had the toughest night and his stock probably dropped the most out of any fighter. Newton defended his Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship three times before losing to Liam McGeary by decision. Although Phil Davis was the favorite going into the fight, Newton's job was to show that the Bellator Light-Heavyweights are able to fight in the same league as the best in the UFC. Newton was controlled from the beginning to the end by Davis. Losing by submission after getting tooled on the ground for three minutes showed that Davis and UFC Light Heavyweights were in a different league for a reason.
Glory Kickboxing had a chance to appeal to MMA and North American fans by teaming up with Bellator MMA for the card. It was a great chance for exposure, but ended up falling flat. As someone who hasn't watched a lot of kickboxing, it was very obvious that the first two fights were mismatches, and they still didn't produce a finish or at the least an entertaining fight. The championship bout between Saulo Cavalari and Zack Mwekassa was not the great brawl or even the tactical war that I thought it would be. It's not to say that kickboxing is more boring than MMA, but those three fights did nothing to bring MMA fans over to the sport.
Fedor Emelianenko is not the loser here, but the situation that has transpired has resulted in a loss for the MMA community. The only reason for Fedor to come back would have been to fight the best of the best in the UFC or to have fun fights against former challengers and notable names. That could have been accomplished had Fedor signed with the UFC. It could have also been done if Bellator had signed Fedor. Instead, we are left scratching our heads as to what it all really means. We know Fedor will be fighting in Japan, which is definitely what the North American fans didn't want. We also won't be seeing him fight a notable heavyweight fighter unless the new promotion he is fighting under is able to sign one. We don't even know who he will be fighting next, and the options are very minimal. People wanted to see Fedor return only if it would be to challenge himself against the best in the world. As fans, we demand answers, and seeing Fedor fight in the UFC would have gone a long way to answer some questions. Now, Fedor will likely fight under-developed or past their prime fighters in a new promotion attempting to revive Pride. It could be exciting, but it isn't what I or many others wanted
Other losers: Francis Carmont, Linton Vassell and the 7 bout "postliminary" card.