This Week in MMA: Bellator and BBC make history in MMA's first French event

France held its first MMA event in Paris over the weekend while the UFC continued their Fight Island project in the Middle East.

Bellator took the shine for the UFC this weekend as it hosted a European event in Paris with 1,000 fans in attendance at the Accord Arena.

It was an historic moment in the sport's history with it holding their first card in France, which was also the first time the BBC had streamed a live MMA event in the UK.

MMA was only legalised in France earlier this year, and Bellator were able to beat the UFC to the punch to become the first major promotion to hold an event in the country, after Covid-19 likely shut down the UFC's rumoured plans.

The event got off to a good start with the first three fights all finishing inside the opening round, although things soon hit the skids in the co-main event between Michael "Venom" Page and Ross Houston.

The pair collided in what turned out to be a dull contest as a spectacle with neither fighter offering much on the offensive side. Page won the fight via unanimous decision and afterwards gave an explanation as to why the fight lacked much action, blaming the slippery canvas.

"I only want one person, the one person that's given me my defeat," demanded Page, who wants to avenge his only defeat in MMA against Douglas Lima.

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BBC Bellator project a French failure?

The BBC would show all but two of the fights, with the final two bouts of the evening being broadcasted on Channel 5 to fulfil Bellator's TV deal with Viacom.

Fans and journalists on Twitter were quick to pick faults with Bellator's production, with presenter Gareth A Davies being cut off multiple times whilst talking.

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One of the most talked about moments of the event was when home favourite Yves Landu backflipped and began breakdancing following victory over Terry Brazier.

While there were some sensational moments, Bellator's first foray in France must be considered a failure. The production errors and dead air time on BBC iPlayer ruined the good feel factor to a relatively good card.

Sandhagen sails through Moraes

Elsewhere on Saturday, Marlon Moraes took on Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC Fight Island 5.

Sandhagen would leave the victor after dropping Moraes after catching him with his calf on a spinning kick before dropping heavy ground and pound shots in the second round to win via knockout, but it wasn't the biggest talking point of the evening.

In the prelims, Joaquin Buckley performed one of the best spinning kick knockouts ever.

Buckley threw a left leg roundhouse to the body that was caught by his opponent, Impa Kasanganay, before jumping up and twisting round to catch Kasanganay perfectly on the chin with a spinning back kick. It has been hailed as one of the best knockouts of all time in MMA history.

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British duo Tom Aspinall and Tom Breese also secured wins on Fight Island in the Middle East with both winning inside the opening round via knockout.

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