Eduardo Dantas defended his Bellator bantamweight title for the second time at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. on Friday while four fighters advanced to the Bellator Season 10 Heavyweight Tournament semifinals.
Heading into the title fight, Anthony Leone said he wanted to get the Dantas to the ground on his first attempt, and that’s exactly what he did. Leone caught a leg kick early in the fight and was able to take the Brazilian down. He maintained top position for the duration of the round, peppering Dantas with punches to the body and head.
Dantas established his jab in the second frame and used his speed and footwork to stay just out of reach of Leone’s punches. Leone worked to get the fight to the ground midway through the round and a scramble ensued. While Leone worked to grab a leg, Dantas stepped over and took the challenger’s back. He quickly locked in a rear naked choke that forced Leone to tap out.
“I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu too. I’m really good in the jiu-jitsu, but I sometimes don’t need to prove my ground. I feel really great today,” said Dantas following his title defense.
Dantas will put his title on the line against former featherweight champion Joe Warren in his next fight. Warren was brought in the cage and asked what he thought of the match-up.
“He’s a great champion, but he better bring more than that to the cage to beat this battle-tested warrior. I’ll tell you that much,” said Warren. “I’m excited about this fight. I’m honored to fight you in two months, and I’ll be happy to rip that belt off and bring it home with me.”
Lavar Johnson punched his way to the semifinal round of the Heavyweight Tournament, finishing Ryan Martinez in the first round. Martinez closed the distance and initiated the clinch in the opening moments of the fight. He was able to secure a takedown and pounded away with punches and hammer fists. He moved to side control and Johnson scrambled to his feet. Johnson started winging big shots. A left hand found its home and dropped Martinez. Johnson followed him to the canvas and finished with a series of right hands.
Mighty Mo came from behind to advance to the semifinals of the heavyweight tournament, winning by submission. Peter Graham utilized leg kicks to keep Mighty Mo on the outside in the opening round. He mixed up his striking attack well and outworked the 43-year-old to win the round.
Mighty Mo secured a takedown in the early going of the second frame, but Graham worked his way back to his feet. He continued to land kicks to lead leg of the former kickboxer. Mighty Mo got the fight back to the ground in the closing seconds and moved to side control, but it was too little too late. MMAWeekly scored the round for Graham.
Mighty Mo wasted little time getting the fight to the ground in the final round. He moved to side control and landed short left hands. He smothered Graham and locked on a head and arm choke forcing Graham to tap out.
Alexander Volkov advanced to the heavyweight tournament final four by finishing Mark Holata in the opening round. Holata came out aggressive, landing a stiff left hand that knocked Volkov back. They clinched and Holata pressed Volkov against the cage and was met with knees to the body. While he worked to get the fight to the ground, Volkov delivered short left hands on the inside that knocked Holata to the canvas. He finished with a series of punches on the ground.
Blagoi Ivanov became the firest fighter to advance to the next round in the Bellator Season 10 Heavyweight Tournament by defeating Rich Hale by unanimous decision on the preliminary card.
Full Bellator 111 Results:
Bantamweight Title Fight:
Eduardo Dantas def. Anthony Leone by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:04, R2
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round:
Lavar Johnson def. Ryan Martinez by TKO at 4:22, R1
Mighty Mo def. Peter Graham by submission (head and arm choke) at 2:31, R3
Alexander Volkov def. Mark Holata by TKO at 1:21, R1
Blagoi Ivanov def. Rich Hale by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Cortez Coleman def. Daniel Miller by submission (strikes) at 4:49, R2
Javy Ayala def. Eric Prindle by TKO at 2:05, R3
Abdul Razak def. Matt Jones by TKO at 1:23, R1
Brent Primus def. Chris Jones by TKO at 1:45, R1
Chris Gutierrez def. Justin McNally by TKO at 2:50, R1
Treston Thomison vs. Stephen Banaszak (result TBA)