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The Monday After: A look at some of the big performances from UFC 180, Bellator 131, and WSOF 15

This past Saturday (Nov. 15, 2014) was chock full of fights. UFC 180, Bellator 131, and WSOF 15 were all going on simultaneously. It was a Saturday like no other as you had to watch one card, DVR another, and flip back and forth to catch all the action. Here is a look at some of the best performances from all three cards.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday (Nov. 15, 2014) was an eventful one for the mixed martial arts (MMA) fan.

You had UFC 180 going down in Mexico City, Bellator 131 taking place in San Diego, and WSOF 15 kicking off in Tampa Florida.

All at once.

You the fan, had to decide what to watch, what to DVR and what to skip. For me, I had the WSOF 15 recap assignment, so my eyes were devoted to that, while I flipped over to Bellator 131 in between fights. The UFC 180 prelims, not so much. Although I did come home from my Trader Joe's/Meijer weekend shopping to see Jessica Eye knock Leslie Smith's ear off. Aside from that, it was WSOF 15 and Bellator 131, and if I was lucky enough I would get to mosey on over to my local Buffalo Wild Wings (my usual getaway to save $60 on my cable bill) to catch some of the UFC 180 main card.

Full disclosure: I missed the entire main card of UFC 180.

Not to fear though, I know what happened and have seen and caught up on all the important stuff. And by the way, my juggernaut of a fantasy team, otherwise known as "Stets B Nation" has triumphed once again and is now 10-1. As Chael Sonnen would say: "You're Welcome."

Now let's go over a few of the big performances on the three cards.

UFC 180

Fabricio Werdum

Werdum is the real deal. The Brazilian keeps winning big fight after big fight. He won a great deal of the Mexican fans over at UFC 180 and his finish over Mark Hunt was an outstanding one (replay). We are not usually privy to jumping knees in the heavyweight division. Werdum's striking can now be almost as deadly as his ground game has always been. He will be a worthy adversary for Velasquez when he returns from injury.

Kelvin Gastelum

Gastelum submitting Jake Ellenberger (watch it) was probably the biggest impactful victory of the entire weekend. The The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner is now 10-0 and has wins over Uriah Hall, Rick Story and now his biggest win, a rear-naked choke over Ellenberger at UFC 180. Gastelum is only 23-years-old and his victory over the No.7-ranked welterweight will pop him into the top 10 and assert him as one of the best in the division.

Ricardo Lamas

Lamas did not have the best of performances against Jose Aldo at UFC 169, but he proved he is not going anywhere anytime soon as far as the top of the division goes. His finish over Dennis Bermudez (video) snapped a seven-fight win streak. Lamas rocked him with a kick and then pounced on him and finished up with a guillotine in the first round. Lamas is now 6-1 in the featherweight division.

Bellator 131

New Production

From the big screens and new ramp for the walkouts, the new bells and whistles were a big positive at Bellator 131. Hell, even Joe Vedepo being accompanied by nurses was doing it for me. Viacom is pulling out all the big guns in the new Bellator era. Consider me a fan.

Tito Ortiz

Say what you want about Ortiz, but the dude came in shape and fought hard. It's not his fault that Bonnar did not. As for the one judge scoring it for Bonnar? Judges gonna judge. Ortiz is 39, has back-to-back wins for the first time since defeating Ken Shamrock in the trilogy fight in 2006. He has a few more performances in him and hey, getting paid $300,000 should keep him highly motivated. If he gets another win under his belt, he could challenge Emanuel Newton for the title. Wouldn't that be something.

Joe Schilling

Schilling's KO over Melvin Manhoef was the KO of the weekend from all three cards. It's not even up for discussion. Manhoef had him in some trouble in the first round, but Schilling-who is the No.1-ranked GLORY middleweight-was adamant about showing his complete game and that he isn't just a kickboxer in MMA. He showed that is work with Nick and Nate Diaz is paying dividends as he rolled away from trouble and once Manhoef was in his guard he was able to avoid any further damage. Then in the second he put the Dutch fighting icon to sleep with a right cross left straight combo from south paw. "Stitch 'em Up" improves to 2-3 overall and has just made the middleweight division a ton more interesting.

Will Brooks

Michael Chandler was moving his hands up and down at Brooks during their stare down at the weigh ins, suggesting he was all talk. Brooks beat Chandler back in May and he did it once again. Except this time he closed the show. Yes, it was a bit of a strange ending (GIF), as Chandler appeared to not know what was going on. Brooks waited for a second and then went in and took care of business. Huge, huge victory for the new Bellator lightweight champion. Last year we were all clamoring for the Eddie Alvarez/Michael Chandler trilogy fight. Now it looks like it is these two who are destined to eventually go a third time. Chandler, of course, will now need to be built back up as that was an absolutely devastating loss for him. "Ill Will" has now won six straight and is now 15-1 overall.


David Branch

The Brooklyn-based fighter has long been known for being a Renzo Gracie black belt, but his striking has continued to improve. Branch's brother is Sechew Powell, and IBF light middleweight boxer. So, you can say striking runs in the family. Branch showcased it at WSOF 15 and scored a technical knockout against Yushin Okami in the fourth round to retain his middleweight title (replay). Branch really started to find his rhythm in the third round and was landing crisp jabs and solid combinations. In the fourth, he dropped Okami with a big right and finished up on the ground. Branch's biggest win to date against a former UFC title contender proved he is the rightful owner to the crown and that he is continuing to get better and better.

Those are some of my top picks ... what are yours?

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