Daniel Straus Bellator 68The Bellator featherweight title has a new challenger as Daniel Straus became the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament Champion with a dominating victory over Marlon Sandro. In additional tournament action, Marcos Galvao will move on to the finals of the Bellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament, while Marius Zaromskis and Marcin Held picked up victories at Bellator 68 from Caesars Atlantic City in New Jersey on Friday night.

“Daniel Straus was able to break through with a huge win in a loaded featherweight tournament and earn his shot at the world title,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Marcin Held was able to continue his assault on the legs of his opponents with another submission victory and Marcos Galvao continues to impress with another close fought victory over Travis Marx.”

Two of the top featherweights in the world met inside the Bellator cage as Marlon Sandro and Daniel Straus fought with the winner claiming the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament Championship and a $100,000 payday.

Known for his aggressive striking and exceptional cardio, Straus showed early on why he made it to the finals of the Featherweight Tournament. While Sandro appeared hesitant at times, Straus was constantly moving forward and pushing the action for the duration of the fight. Landing the crisper strikes, Straus found a way to control Sandro while both striking and in the clinch. After three entertaining rounds, a new tournament champion was crowned as Daniel Straus walked away with the unanimous decision victory.

“I’m going to keep improving, I’m going to get better,” said Straus. “I have to go back to the drawing board and prepare for my title shot.”

With the unanimous decision win, Daniel Straus becomes the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament Champion and earns the biggest victory of his career. His record improves to 20-4, while Marlon Sandro loses for just the fourth time in 26 contests.

For Marcos Galvao and Travis Marx, a victory in the semifinals of the Bellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament would bring them one step closer to an opportunity to face Bellator bantamweight world champion Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas.

Marx showed occasional moments of dominance, however, Galvao appeared to be in control for most of the fight. Galvao, who clearly had the advantage in the stand-up, landed combinations of punches, kicks to the body and knees. Although Marx attempted to press Galvao against the cage and secure a takedown, Galvao was able to stuff all but one. After three intense, action-packed rounds, the cageside judges scored the fight in favor of Marcos Galvao.

“It’s been my dream since I was a kid,” said Galvao. “I know I’m going to win this tournament.”

With the victory, Marcos Galvao will now move to the final round of the Bellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament and face the winner of the Luis Nogueira vs. Hiroshi Nakamura later this year. His record improves to 12-5. Travis Marx loses for just the fourth time in his professional career as his record falls to 19-4.

Following his last fight inside the Bellator cage, a split decision victory over Phillipe Nover at Bellator 59, 20-year-old Polish lightweight Marcin Held looked to make a greater impression Friday night against New Jersey’s own Derrick Kennington. The fight started with Kennington moving forward, looking to keep the fight standing. After landing a kick to the body of Held, Kennington was forced to defend a takedown, but Held quickly latched on to Kennington’s leg and secured a leg lock. Kennington was forced to tap at 2:08 of the first round.

“I wanted to fight standing up, but my opponent was better than me there,” said Held. “I tried my strength, which was the leg lock, and it worked.”

With the submission win, Marcin Held earned his second straight victory in the Bellator cage and improved his record to 13-2 in his emerging career. Kennington, dropped to 6-3 in his Bellator debut.

In the first televised fight of the evening, Lithuanian welterweight Marius Zaromskis made his highly anticipated Bellator debut opposite hard-hitting Bellator veteran Waachiim Spiritwolf.

In the first round, Spiritwolf was able to utilize the clinch as he pinned Zaromskis against the cage. A Zaromskis elbow opened a deep cut near the right eye of Spiritwolf that would later prove to be pivotal. The second round appeared more one-sided for Spiritwolf than the first. After landing a series of punches to the jaw of Zaromskis, Spiritwolf began to unload on his hurt opponent but was unable to put him away. However, between the second and third round, the ringside physician stopped the fight, citing the cut near the eye of Spiritwolf.

With the doctor stoppage victory, Marius Zaromskis earned his first win under the Bellator banner and improved to 17-6 overall. Waachim Spiritwolf fell to 9-10-1 in a hard-fought performance.

A bout between Carmelo Marrero and Seth Petruzelli was nixed at the last minute when a doctor examining Petruzelli prior to the fight would not clear him for competition.

“Guys, I have unbelievable news. The doc wouldn’t clear me to fight,” Petruzelli wrote on his Twitter account. “I have been feeling sick for past week, but haven’t told anyone. When the doc checked me he said he heard wheezing and fluid in my lungs. Got a 2nd doc for another opinion and he said same thing. I am so sorry…I feel like I’m in a nightmare.”

Bellator 69 takes place next Friday, May 18, in Lake Charles, La., with a highly anticipated women’s bout between Megumi Fujii and Jessica Aguilar.

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