The Aces BJJ News Team has once again braved the gaping maw at the end of the combat sports world to bring you the very best updates from this wonderful world of violence. We’ve crossed the globe thousands of times over because our dear readers deserve nothing less than the best-curated content blood and loose teeth can buy. It’s a thankless job, but with all the fantastic mayhem we get to sit ringside for, I never hear many complaints. So, what happened this time?
Well, the MMA community was graced with the return of a fan favorite to a new promotion. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson’s Bellator debut might not have lived up to his expectations, but fans were still happy to see his KO power follow him out of retirement.
And, speaking of fan favorites in new promotions, former UFC Champion Fabricio Werdum suffered an incredibly controversial loss to Renan Ferreira in his first fight under the Professional Fighters League. Though that story would take a crazy twist in the following days, possibly changing fighter advocacy in post-fight complaints.
Lastly, the biggest draw in professional grappling will make his ONE FC premier against a fellow legend.
All this and more, so brace for impact!
Anthony Johnson Earns KO Victory
Stop the presses; Rumble did a Rumble.
Anthony Johnson won an impressive stoppage in his first post-retirement fight, taking out Jose Augusto in the second round of their Bellator 228 co-main bout. Rumble displayed little of the ring rust one would assume he’d acquired in his four-plus years of inaction, taking big shots and remaining composed. The first round showcased a ton of action from both men, Rumble firing off some big leg kicks and Augusto keeping distance with superior reach.
Jaws dropped, however, when Augusto dropped Rumble with a fiery combination against the cage in the last 90 seconds. Many thought the fight ended as he crumpled to the ground, and Rumble’s return would sputter on arrival. But the UFC vet defended well against vicious ground and pound, initiating a scramble for position and even landing a takedown before the round ended.
In round two, Johnson showcased why his return was such a huge deal. Seemingly recovered from round one, Rumble was light on the feet and throwing jabs like a fresh fighter. And at just over 1:14 into the round, Rumble dropped Augusto with a nuclear right hand. He fell to the mat, and Rumble got off a final closing shot before Mike Beltran called the fight. Rumble took the win at 1:20 via KO.
In the post-fight, Johnson was quick to lambast his performance and outline his failings. “He hit me. I don’t mind getting hit, but I got hit, and I dropped. I mean, what the hell? That ain’t me. That was a piss-poor performance on my part. I’m better than that. I know I’m better than that. You guys know I’m better than that. I’m not going to call it a lucky shot – he hit me. He caught me slipping. He got in on me. That was all on me, and I’m pissed at myself that he hit me.”
“I’m getting mad at myself. That was a dumbass performance.”
Many, including Bellator CEO Scott Coker, felt that Rumble was too hard on himself. The win comes off a massive layoff from the sport and shows that he still has moved towards a title shot.
That was the original end of the story, but Tuesday afternoon news broke that Rumble, I shit you not, was arrested in Connecticut on suspicion of identity theft.
The fighter was detained at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, shortly after his win at Bellator 228. According to the arrest record from the New Canaan Police Department,
“On 11/09/2019, the New Canaan Police took a complainant regarding a victim having their credit card being used by a third party without permission. The illegal use of the credit card was used to purchase a round-trip airline ticket from Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL) to Newark, NJ (EWR). The name of the passenger was Anthony Johnson. A subsequent investigation determined Johnson used the illegally obtained credit card to purchase the airline ticket. An arrest warrant was obtained for Johnson for the above charges.”
Johnson will appear in court on June 8.
So, uh, yeah. Great fight, Rumble!!!!
Fabricio Respects Tap. Loses, Then Wins
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum had possibly the weirdest match of his MMA career this past week at PFL 3 in Atlantic City, NJ. Facing Renan Ferreira in his PFL debut, the BJJ legend quickly took the fight to the ground in round one and began to drown his opponent. Fighting for but subsequently losing mount, Werdum worked from the bottom to lock in a tight triangle finish. Then, after Ferreira visibly tapped multiple times, Werdum loosened the choke thinking the match was over. But with the ref missing the consent of defeat, Ferreira launched right into a brutal series of hammer fists to secure a shocking TKO victory.
At the moment, the confusing series of events happened a bit too quickly to get fully mad at anyone for the result. But a quick replay catching the tap at multiple angles soon had fans and competitors livid. Taking to the mic in the post-fight, a visibly upset Werdum promised to fight the decision.
Though threatened before by the commissions, changing a ruling no matter how controversial is a slow process. But miraculously, ESPN journalist Marc Raimondi and Werdum’s manager Ali Abdelaziz confirmed via social media that the NJ State Athletic Commission overturned Werdum’s loss to a no-contest on Monday afternoon. Both Werdum and Abdelaziz expressed gratitude to the commission and referee Keith Peterson for their quick action in the matter. The reversal propels Werdum onto the PFL tournament rankings, however strange the path there has been thus far.
Congrats to Vai Cavalo!
Gordon Ryan to Face Shinya Aoki
With his MMA debut still a ways off, ADCC champ Gordon Ryan will instead be making his first appearance at ONE FC in a grappling match against veteran grappler, professional wrestler, and MMA fighter Shinya Aoki.
So, that’s a thing.
The two will face off on August 27 for an open-weight super fight that, and I think my math is right here, no one asked for.
Aoki is definitely no slouch, sporting one of the most impressive ground games in MMA with over 30 submissions inside the cage. A former ONE FC champion at lightweight, the man, is decked out in more prestige than you can shake a stick at.
Ryan, meanwhile, is one of the greatest nogi submission grapplers alive. With both ADCC and IBJJF titles to his name, the 25-year-old has conquered the likes of Buchecha, Cyborg, Tex Johnson, Vagner Rocha, and many more. The superstar is quickly running low on meaningful competition.
Will this be the greatest match in history? No clue, but the introduction of Ryan to a new sphere against a veteran of both MMA and BJJ is a fascinating scenario, to be sure. Be on the lookout for more details on the match-up.
And there you have it, folks! Certainly a wild one, but the crazy weeks are what we live for here at Ace’s. Stay safe, and we’ll see you next time!
Aces BJJ Blog staff writer and BJJ Blue belt under Edward “Scissor Hands” Berberich of Soulcraft BJJ. Kevin has been training BJJ for four years and complaining about Star Wars for over 20. Follow him on Instagram @kbrads_bjj