Marcos Galvao heard another hard-luck decision on Saturday. | Photo: Dave Mandel

Yuma, Ariz., has not been kind to Marcos Galvao.

Six months after dropping a highly controversial decision to Bellator featherweight champ Joe Warren at Yuma’s Cocopah Resort and Casino, Galvao returned to the scene of the crime Saturday to face Cuban slugger Alexis Vila in the semifinals of the company’s fifth-season bantamweight tournament. Once again, the Brazilian came out on the wrong end of a verdict which many observers felt he had in hand.

Speaking with on Sunday, Galvao’s trainer and Nova Uniao head Andre Pederneiras lamented his pupil’s second debatable defeat in three outings.

“I’m so confused to talk about the rules with my students after yesterday. I don’t know anything about these rules,” said Pederneiras. “In my opinion, Galvao clearly won the fight, 29-28. I really don’t understand the judges giving this fight to Alexis Vila. I think the judges need more training to learn about MMA.”

“I’d like to be clear that it wasn’t Bellator’s fault. Sometimes commissions make mistakes because of a lack of knowledge” Pederneiras later wrote via Twitter. “[Galvao] was a poor boy who left his family at age 13 in Manaus with a dream of becoming a fighter. He slept for 10 years on the mat, believing that all his sacrifice would be worthwhile to change the lives of his mother and family. This dream was stolen yesterday for a second time by a boxing commission who knows nothing about MMA. It has to end.”

Galvao’s bout with Vila was a much tighter affair than his March fight against Warren, with a toss-up opening round, a close second period and a third which clearly leaned in Galvao’s favor. Judges Luis Cobian and Cardo Urso each saw fit to award two rounds to Vila, while dissenter Peter Rogers gave all three to Galvao. None of the judges scoring Saturday’s bout were involved in the Warren decision.

In a Saturday video interview with, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney agreed that while the Galvao-Vila outcome was “not nearly the kind of obvious, clear-cut, poor decision” seen in the Galvao-Warren affair, he still believed Galvao to be the winner.

“It was much closer. I don’t want to go overboard and say ‘Marcos clearly won the fight,’ but it appeared, based on what I was seeing, that the second and third looked to be more in Marcos’ favor than they did in Alexis’ favor,” said Rebney, who offered Galvao automatic entry into the company’s next 135-pound bracket, as he did after the Warren debacle.

Although the judges did not award him a victory, Galvao was paid his win bonus by the promotion and granted a spot on Bellator’s Nov. 26 card in Atlantic City, N.J. The 30-year-old Brazilian was also on the receiving end of some effusive praise from his boss.

“He’s just a great warrior. He’s a great fighter. He’s a really good human being,” said Rebney. “He’s got a great wife and a lot of support mechanism around him. He’s come out of a real crap situation and has really turned his life into something positive.”

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