Bellator 89 saw the promotion take up residence at the Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., featuring the Bellator bantamweight title bout between champion Eduardo Dantas and Marcos Galvao, as well as, the quarterfinal round of the middleweight tournament.
The bantamweight title bout between Dantas and Galvao was much more than the usual battle for the belt. The two are teammates and training partners at Nova Uniao, Galvao being Dantas’ senior by six years, but more importantly, the mentor in their relationship.
It certainly couldn’t be an easy task for either fighter, especially coming from a background steeped in the traditions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where seniority and lineage weighs heavily in relationships.
The younger champion, Dantas, made it evident from the beginning that his speed in the stand-up game was going to be a difficult proposition for the heavy handed Galvao. He quickly used his superior technique and speed to create openings, finding his mark frequently, while Galvao struggled to find a rhythm.
Galvao started to get some offense going in round two, landing some solid leg kicks, but remained stiff. Dantas was much smoother, using his reach advantage and speed, working front kicks to the body and even landing a spinning back kick, mixing in flurries of punches, keeping Galvao searching for answers.
Galvao’s answer never came, however, as a short time after landing the spinning back kick to the body, Dantas dropped his mentor with a short right uppercut and finished him off with a couple of hammerfists for the finish at 3:01 of round two.
Dantas was extremely emotional following his victory, sitting down in his corner with tears streaming down his face. Happy at defending his belt, he clearly took no joy in having just defeated a man that has meant so much to him.
“I am sad and happy. Sad because I had to fight my friend,” Dantas said after the fight, tears still welling in his eyes. “Happy because I am still the champion of Bellator.”
Galvao also had a difficult time with the fight. He reportedly would have nothing to do with Dantas leading up to the fight, and even as Dantas reached out to his mentor after the fight, Galvao didn’t yet appear ready to put the fight behind them, deflecting Dantas’ attempt at an embrace.
Brian Rogers began his third attempt at a Bellator middleweight tournament on Thursday night, but it the third time wasn’t a charm for him. Unlike his two previous attempts, Rogers failed to get out of the Season 8 quarterfinals, dropping a unanimous decision to Dan Cramer.
Cramer looked as if he might run away with the fight in the opening round, constantly taking Rogers down and peppering him with ground and pound.
Rogers came back strong to open the second stanza, suplexing Cramer a couple of times, and controlling a decent portion of the five minutes. He also ended the round on a good note, landing a couple big right hands that got Cramer’s attention.
The tide shifted once again in round three, however, when Cramer went back to his bread and butter, taking control with his grappling. Rogers, visibly tired, flashed a moment of hope, again landing the right hand in the stand-up, but Cramer clinched and landed a knee to the chin, again taking Rogers to the mat. He smothered Rogers, passing to side control and continuing his ground and pound attack, but Rogers still wouldn’t give in.
Making his way back to his feet, Rogers cracked Cramer again, calling on reserves from deep down inside, but again, Cramer went to his instincts and continued to take Rogers to the mat and control the fight with positioning and ground and pound to earn the decision.
Brett Cooper followed the Ben Askren playbook in his fight with Norman Paraisy, taking Paraisy down and will, grounding and pounding him throughout the duration of their three-round bout.
Cooper landed a notable slam midway through round one that left Paraisy wobbly and set the tone for the rest of the fight.
He looked like he might finish Paraisy at the beginning of round two, when he dropped him with an uppercut. Cooper swarmed Paraisy, trying to finish him with a flurry of ground and pound, but Paraisy dug deep to survive.
Cooper continued planting Paraisy on the mat for the duration of the fight, giving him no quarter, but couldn’t find the finish.
In the end, Cooper walked away with a unanimous decision victory, moving on to the semifinal round of the middleweight tournament.
Former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug “Rhino” Marshall made quick work of Bellator middleweight standout Andreas Spang, knocking him out in the first round of their main card opener.
Marshall clipped Spang a couple times with the right hand in the early goings of their fight, but the finisher was crystal clear.
Marshall stepped in with a right hook that landed flush on the jaw, dropping Spang to the canvas. Marshall immediately turned and walked away.
Spang woke up almost as quickly as he hit the mat, but the referee had already stepped in, waving off the bout as a one-punch knockout at the 3:03 mark.
“It was a great punch; Andreas is an excellent striker,” said Marshall after the fight, before adding, “The bottom line is: you mess with the Rhino, you get the horn.”
Following Thursday night’s fights, the middleweight semifinal pairings are set with Dan Cramer vs. Brett Cooper and Doug Marshall vs. Sultan Aliev.
-Eduardo Dantas def. Marcos Galvao by KO (Punches) at 3:01, R2
-Dan Cramer def. Brian Rogers by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Brett Cooper def. Norman Paraisy by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Doug Marshall def. Andreas Spang by KO (Punch) at 3:03, R1
-Sultan Aliev def. Mikkel Parlo by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Aaron Johnson def. Brennan Ward by submission (Armbar) at 0:15, R1
-David Mejia def. Mont McMullens by TKO (Strikes) at 4:15, R1
-Joe Pacehco def. Kyle Bolt by TKO (Strikes) at 4:02, R2
-Johnny Buck def. Chris Mierzwiak by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Mike Maldonaldo def. Timothy Goodwin by Unanimous Decision, R3
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