Tag Archives: Bellator

Bellator 243: Ranking History for Benson Henderson and Michael Chandler

5 Aug , 2020,
Richard Mann
, , ,

In the main event of Bellator 243, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson takes on former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler in a rematch of their 2016 bout. Both have slipped slightly in the rankings since their first encounter, but they are both currently ranked inside the top 20.

Despite spending the majority of their careers in different promotions, both fighters have had prolonged success, mostly in the lightweight division. Neither fighter has been ranked lower than 20th since 2011. Henderson’s peak quarterly ranking came on July 1, 2013 at #1 lightweight during his UFC title reign. Chandler’s peak ranking actually came in the same quarter when he was ranked #3 lightweight.

Chandler is reportedly on the last fight of his Bellator contract. If the promotion allows his deal to lapse, he could follow fellow former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez’s path to the UFC. Alvarez left Bellator in 2013 as the #6 lightweight and captured the top spot, as well as the UFC title, in the Octagon.

Comparing the strength of schedule of Michael “Venom” Page and Anderson Silva through 18 fights

3 Jan , 2020,
Richard Mann
, , ,

During the broadcast of Bellator 237, former referee turned commentator “Big” John McCarthy mentioned that Michael Page’s schedule through his career so far has been similar in terms of difficulty to that of former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva through the same stretch. Since Page has developed the reputation of a can smasher, this comment raised the ire of many MMA fans on social media. On its face, the comment is absurd. In his first 18 fights, Silva claimed the Shooto middleweight (168-pound) championship and knocked off a former UFC welterweight champion. But is the comparison really that outlandish?

Using Fight Matrix ranking points, it is possible to approximate the level of difficulty both fighters have faced through their first 18 fights. Every year, the website publishes the “Upsets of the Year” award. The most simple calculation is “Most Noteworthy,” which is the difference in ranking points (ranking points of a fighter minus the ranking points of an opponent). The higher the number, the larger the favorite. Through their first 18 fights, Page’s average most noteworthy score is 22.83, while Silva’s 21.61. However, that does not tell the entire story. Page’s average is buttressed by his fight against Douglas Lima. He went in as a heavy underdog against the Bellator champion and got knocked out in the second round. Without that fight, his average most noteworthy score rises to 41.35.

Also, Page’s level of opposition has declined significantly following his only career defeat. He has been a heavy favorite in his last three fights over Richard Keily, Gianni Melillo and Shinzo Anzai. The spike on the following chart is quite evident.


(Click here for the interactive Tableau Public version of this chart)

It would also be unfair to Silva to ignore that fact that his a large portion of his early opposition went on to have solid careers. When he fought Luiz Azeredo, Fabricio Camoes and Roan Carneiro they were a combined 3-2. All three went on to have extensive careers in major promotions such as the UFC and Pride FC. While those fighters blossomed later in their careers, it seems unlikely that will happen for some of Page’s early opponents. His first two opponents, Ben Dishman and Miguel Bernard, are still a combined 0-6 nearly eight years later.

While it does seem like large McCarthy was shilling from the commentary booth, Page’s early career run has not been that facile. However, his team and Bellator have clearly tried to give him a softer touch as of late.

Richard Mann is a regular contributor to @ESPNMMA, @FightMetric, @RotoWireMMA and @InterMat. You can follow him on Twitter at @richardamann.

Aaron Pico faces unusually tough debut opponent at Bellator NYC

22 Jun , 2017,
Richard Mann
, , ,

On Saturday, wrestling prodigy Aaron Pico will make his MMA debut on the main card of Bellator 180/NYC. For the uninitiated, Pico made news in 2014 when he left high school wrestling and forfeited any potential collegiate wrestling career to sign with Zinkin Entertainment. He continued to compete in freestyle wrestling for a shot at the Olympics, but MMA was always the ultimate goal. This past summer he ended up one match short of winning the U.S. Olympic Trials and has since focused on his MMA debut.

In his debut, the 20-year-old fighter will face Zach Freeman. “The Altar Boy” holds an 8-2 professional record and has been ranked as high as #118 LW in the Fight Matrix system. It is safe to say that Pico will face one of the toughest debut opponents for a wrestling prospect in the last 10 years.

The following table shows the debut opponents for all NCAA Division I wrestling All-Americans in the last 10 years who have transitioned into MMA. As you can see, only three others besides Pico have faced fighters who were ever ranked and only two others faced opponents who were ranked at the time. Freeman also has more wins that any of the other opponents, slightly beating out Phil Davis’ debut opponent Brett Chism.

Fedor Emelianenko Ranking History

17 Feb , 2017,
Richard Mann
, ,

On Saturday night, former Pride FC champion Fedor Emelianenko makes his Bellator debut against Matt Mitrione in the main event of Bellator 172. Emelianenko spent a large chunk of his career as the number-one ranked heavyweight. As you can see in the following chart, he has not experienced the same kind of success recently. However, his time on top is virtually unmatched.