Alexis Vila knocked Joe Warren out cold before he hit the floor.
| Photo: Keith Mills
CANTON, Ohio -- In
Bellator 51’s battle of wrestling world champions, it was fists
that made the difference inside the Canton Civic Center, where 1996
Olympic Games bronze medalist Alexis Vila
knocked Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren
out cold just 64 seconds into the opening round.
Warren, the 2008 Greco-Roman wrestling world
champion at 132 pounds, was making his bantamweight debut in MMA
after earning the Bellator featherweight title at 145 pounds. On
the other hand, Vila, a Cuban defector now based in Miami, carved
out most of his 9-0 record entering the fight in the flyweight
division, 10 pounds south of the bantamweight limit.
Joe Warren got emotional.
The carnage started with an overhand right just seconds into the
bout, as Vila clipped a surging Warren. The rattled Warren turned
and retreated, but Vila gave chase, swinging heavy leather. When
Warren thought to punch back, Vila landed a crushing left hook that
left Warren unconscious before he ever hit the mat. When he did,
his head whipped violently off the floor.
Now 10-0, the 40-year-old Vila has had stoppages in nine of his
bouts, including six straight knockouts. Warren falls to 7-2 with
On the other end of the age spectrum, the bantamweight tournament
contains several notable prospects but perhaps none quite as
interesting as 22-year-old
Nova Uniao prodigy Eduardo
Dantas, who knocked out Wilson Reis
in impressive fashion.
The Philadelphia-based Reis controlled the action early, getting
the better of Dantas by bringing the bout to him. However, after
Dantas just missed with a knee to start the second round, Reis was
stumbling back, moving away to avoid danger. The Brazilian would
have none of it, though, and immediately pounced on his opponent.
Reis tried to recover and shoot in for a takedown but it played
right into Dantas’ game. Just as Reis went down for the takedown,
Dantas came in with a devastating jumping knee that knocked the
Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt out cold.
The powerful finish came 62 seconds into round two, moving Dantas’
career mark to 11-2.
Dantas was not the only successful Nova Uniao representative on the
bill, nor even in the bantamweight bracket, as his elder teammate
Galvao turned in an impressive display in taking a deserved
split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over former
WEC champion Chase
'Dudu' did it with knees.
Fighting for the first time since losing a controversial decision
to Joe Warren at Bellator 41 in April, Galvao went out
aggressively, leaving nothing to chance in this bout. From the
opening bell, Galvao wore Beebe down with his superior jiu-jitsu
and did just enough in the striking department to supplement his
game, landing wild-but-effective overhand rights.
Beebe valiantly stuck it out, threatening with guillotines in the
first round that made the Brazilian sweat. However, Galvao escaped
and took top positon, where his grappling proved superior over the
15-minute bout. Although judge Mike Barry had a hard-to-believe
29-28 Beebe scorecard, judges John Beltz and Darren Austin saw it
29-29 for Galvao, now 10-4.
The first man to advance to the semifinals was former Bellator
bantamweight tournament runner-up Ed West, who
earned a crafty unanimous verdict over another talented young
Renovacao Fight Team's Luis
The Tucson, Ariz., native used every inch of his 5-foot-10 frame to
stay outside of Nogueira for most of the 15 minutes. Nogueira
repeatedly sought to clinch West along the fence and secure
takedowns, but when it did occur, West was able to separate from
the cage -- or escape to his feet -- where his wild kick arsenal
was on full display.
West even tried a fireball.
With the fight close in the third frame, West turned it on with a
salvo of kicks and punches. It paid dividends, as judges Mike Barry
and Darren Austin saw the bout 29-28, while John Beltz had it 30-27
for West, now 17-5 with the win. West's lone loss in his last 10
was his championship contest with Bellator 135-pound king Zach