Eduardo Dantas (left) bested Alexis Vila at Bellator 59. |
Photo: Chris McGuigan
In a beautiful display of all-around skill, Eduardo
removed the last remaining obstacle between himself and
Bellator Fighting Championships bantamweight titleholder Zach
Dantas out-struck and out-grappled previously unbeaten 1996 Olympic
bronze medalist Alexis Vila
en route to a unanimous decision victory in the Season 5
bantamweight tournament final at Bellator 59 on Saturday at Caesars
Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Dantas (13-2, 3-0 BFC)
swept the scorecards by matching 29-28 counts.
It took Dantas a round to find his rhythm, as Vila (11-1, 2-1 BFC)
delivered a pair of takedowns and grinded him against the cage in
the clinch for much of the first five minutes.
“I was expecting his game,” Dantas said through his translator. “I
was expecting him to take me to the ground.”
Undeterred, Dantas roared out of his corner in the second round, as
he attacked Vila with a variety of strikes, from counter right
hands to leg kicks and flying knees. The 22-year-old Nova Uniao
standout also threatened Vila with a standing guillotine choke and,
more importantly, kept the fight standing, allowing his most
glaring advantages to take hold.
Dantas was even more impressive in round three, as he scrambled
into back mount, locked the 40-year-old Cuban export in a body
triangle and spent most of the second half of the frame fishing for
the rear-naked choke. The submission never materialized, but the
round provided a fitting exclamation point for the Dantas
“My goal is to get the belt,” he said, “and I’m going to go for
Dantas will carry a six-fight winning streak into his five-round
showdown with Makovsky sometime in early 2012. The 29-year-old
champion has not lost since August 2009.
“I think it’s going to be the toughest fight of my career,”
Makovsky said. “He’s the most well-rounded guy and dangerous from
every position. It will be an honor to fight him.”
Santos hovered casually above the grounded Eric
Prindle and punted him between the legs, ending their Season 5
heavyweight tournament final 1:24 into round one. Ruled accidental,
the blow resulted in a no contest.
Santos (10-1, 1 NC, 2-0 BFC, 1 NC) dominated the matchup while it
lasted, as he grounded Prindle with ease and attacked him with
heavy, clubbing blows from inside guard. Unable to stay on his
feet, Prindle (9-1, 1 NC, 3-0 BFC, 1 NC) had no outlet for his
brutal punching power. However, the illegal kick to the groin made
all matters moot. The two men will face one another in a rematch in
early 2012, the winner earning a six-figure paycheck and a shot at
reigning Bellator heavyweight champion Cole
Pitbull teed off on Pellegrino.
Bellator Season 4 lightweight tournament finalist Patricky
Freire put away UFC veteran Kurt
Pellegrino with first-round punches in a featured matchup at
155 pounds. It was over 50 short seconds after it began.
Freire (10-2, 3-1 BFC) wasted no time introducing his powerful
hands to another opponent. He floored Pellegrino with a left
hook-straight right combination and swarmed as the New Jersey
native dove for a single-leg takedown in desperation. Pellegrino
could not finish the takedown and instead found himself trapped
beneath the Brazilian, eating left hands and hammerfists.
Despite the fact the Pellegrino was conscious and competing,
referee Kevin McDonald decided it was time to intervene.
“Fortunately, I got a quick finish and a knockout,” Freire said. “I
want to thank Kurt for taking this fight. He’s a great
Afterward, Pellegrino (16-7, 0-1 BFC) announced his retirement from
“I lost fair and square,” he said. “This is the last time you’ll
ever see me fight again.”
Held slipped by Nover.
Carried by an unorthodox but effective ground
attack, Polish prodigy Marcin Held
captured a split decision from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8
in a lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges
scored it 29-28, two of them for the 19-year-old Held (12-2, 1-1
Held, who weathered an encounter with a beautiful counter right
hook from his foe, was aggressive from the start, as he threatened
Nover with an inverted heel hook and a kneebar in round one.
Neither was successful, but the overt aggression seemed to catch
the American off guard.
Nover bounced back in the second round, where he established his
superiority on the feet, moved into top position on the mat and
uncorked some clean ground-and-pound, including some short elbows
and a thudding left hand that bounced Held’s head off the
Nover (5-4-1, 0-1 BFC) had difficulty getting his offense in gear
in the final frame. Held met him with an immediate takedown and
worked briefly from half guard. Nover later scored with a takedown
of his own and let go with more ground-and-pound, but his efforts
went for naught. Held, long viewed as one of Europe’s most
promising fighters, has rattled off four victories in five
Amoussou blasted Martinez.
Strikeforce and Dream veteran Karl
on first-round punches in a preliminary 175-pound
catchweight bout. Amoussou (13-4-2, 1-1 BFC) closed out the
Bellator newcomer 2:20 into round one.
The two men clinched early, until Martinez hit the floor after a
leg kick from Amoussou and a subsequent slip. The 31-year-old old
returned to his feet but only briefly. There, Martinez (6-2, 0-1
BFC) was met with a head kick and well-placed right hand to the
chin that crumpled him where he stood. Amoussou, a 26-year-old
Haute Tension representative, pounced on his wounded foe, unleashed
punches and forced the stoppage.
In other action, welterweight LeVon
Maynard (12-8, 1-2 BFC) defeated Christopher
Wing (3-2, 0-1 BFC) by unanimous decision, earning 30-27, 30-27
and 30-26 nods from the judges; Lucas
Pimenta Borges (5-0, 1-0 BFC) kept his unbeaten record intact
and needed just 40 seconds to do so, as he stopped Doug Gordon
(11-11, 0-1 BFC) on first-round punches in their 175-pound
catch-weight duel; featherweight Scott
Heckman (9-3, 1-1 BFC) submitted Brylan
Van Artsdalen (5-3, 0-3 BFC) with a standing guillotine choke
98 seconds into round one; and Gregory
Milliard (2-2, 1-0 BFC) defeated Brandon
Saling (6-5, 0-1 BFC) by unanimous decision in their
preliminary middleweight affair, sweeping the scorecards by
identical 30-27 counts.
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