“I cannot wait to see this bantamweight final,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Alexis Vila, an Olympic wrestler with dynamite in his hands, is a 40-year-old world-class athlete that is just now hitting his peak. Then you have a 22-year-old buzzsaw Eduardo Dantas, who is the top Bantamweight prospect in the world. It was a great night of fights at Cocopah and I expect a great final next month.”
Vila and Marcos Galvao traded shots for three rounds and though Galvao landed a flurry of leg kicks and stiff jabs, the judges liked Vila’s aggression and the power behind the punches. The Olympic wrestler wasn’t able to finish a lot of takedowns but dictated the pace of the fight and two judges scored it for Vila 29-28 while one judge saw it 30-27 completely in Galvao’s favor, securing a finals spot for Vila.
Ed West had to pick his jaw off the floor when he heard Dantas declared the winner instead of him but this was a very close fight where both fighters stayed extremely active for three full rounds. West may have landed more strikes, but Dantas was able to make him miss often and staggered West with solid punches of his own. Two of three judges declared Dantas the winner, and with the victory Dantas secured his spot in the Bantamweight Finals against Vila.
Outside of tournament action, for the first time in the history of Bellator one of its Champions suffered a loss in a non-title Feature Fight. Current Light Heavyweight Champion Christian M’Pumbu met his match at Bellator 55 when he went up against Travis Wiuff, an enormous wrestler and veteran of 80 fights. Wiuff had trouble standing and trading punches with the champ as predicted, but managed to take him to the mat in all three rounds and won in dominant fashion by unanimous decision. Wiuff was excited to win the battle and looks forward to a chance to fight M’Pumbu for the belt if he can make it through all three rounds of the next Bellator Heavyweight Championship Tournament.
“I want a shot at the belt. That’s why I’m here,” Wiuff said. “I wish I could take more credit [for the win] but I’m just a big strong wrestler and he hadn’t experienced that, but there are a lot of tough guys in Bellator at 205. I’m going to have to train my butt off for that.”
Next week on October 29, the Bellator Welterweight Championship is on the line as champion Ben Askren takes on Jay Hieron the Season 4 Tournament Champion. Hieron upset the formerly unbeaten Rick Hawn to get to title shot and hopes he can be the first to beat another undefeated welterweight in Askren. Also at Bellator 56, Neil Grove will re-enter the Bellator Heavyweight Championship Tournament as both Mike Hayes and Blagoi Ivanov have suffered injuries that will keep them from competing in the semifinals. Grove steps in for Ivanov to fight Thiago Santoas and Eric Prindle is scheduled to face Ron Sparks.