Warren used his wrestling early, but showed a taste of his much-improved striking, including a cartwheel kick in the opening round.
Dantas had Warren mounted and in trouble for a short time in the second round, and lit him up on the feet in the latter half of the frame. Warren escaped without any serious damage, but it was by far Dantas’ most dominant frame.
Dantas tried to continue his striking in round three, but Warren fell back to his bread and butter, his wrestling, to regain control of the fight and stay out of trouble.
In the fourth frame, Dantas made it close by landing several hard shots, but Warren was dogged with his grappling, not allowing Dantas to take hold of the momentum.
Warren did enough striking in the final round to set up his takedowns and keep the fight where he could keep control. He slipped up briefly early in the round when, from an odd position with both fighters grounded and shoulders to the mat, he landed a kick to Dantas’ head. Warren was handed a stern warning for the transgression, but was not deducted a point.
He maintained control for the rest of the fight, but the decision by referee John McCarthy to not deduct a point was crucial, as it would have changed the final tally from a unanimous decision victory for Warren to a draw.
Warren, however, was awarded the victory, erasing the interim from his championship designation.
“That is a great opponent. I take my hat of to Eduardo Dantas,” said Warren after the fight, knowing that it had been a battle of inches.
“The key was heart. I was just gonna keep pushing until that bell range. He kept hitting me hard; I kept moving. Baddest man on the planet baby.”
The snakebite didn’t happen on Friday night, but Michael “Venom” Page remained undefeated after scoring the first decision victory of his career, earning the nod of all three judges against UFC veteran Nah-Shon Burrell.
Page is used to landing the big splash, knockout finish, but couldn’t quite find the mark on Burrell, who was also trying to finish the fight in one blinding flurry of fisticuffs. With both men trying to win the fight in the stand-up arena, it was Page’s improved wrestling game, particularly in the clinch, that secured the victory.
Alexander Sarnavskiy set the tone early, landing a spinning backfist on Dakota Cochrane in the opening moments of their fight. It was only a couple minutes later that he landed a jab that set up a jumping knee, and Cochrane went down to the canvas. Sarnavskiy quickly followed, took Cochrane’s back, and finished him with a rear naked choke.
In the main card’s opening bout, Emiliano Sordi made quick work of Bubba McDaniel, finishing The Ultimate Fighter 17 alum by way of guillotine choke 58 seconds into their fight.
Bellator 128: Dantas vs. Warren Results
Joe Warren def. Eduardo Dantas by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47), R5
Michael Page def. Nah-Shon Burrell by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Alexander Sarnavskiy def. Dakota Cochrane by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:32, R1
Emiliano Sordi def. Bubba McDaniel by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:58, R1
Jason Sampson def. Danny Sykora by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Cody Walker def. Treston Thomison by KO (Head Kick) at 4:59, R2
Cortez Coleman def. William Florentino by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), R3
Jason Butcher def. Andreas Michailidis by TKO (Strikes) at 0:28, R2
Emmanuel Sanchez def. Stephen Banaszak by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:18, R1
John Teixeira def. Scott Cleve by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), R3
Johnny Cottrell def. Jonathan Gary by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:38, R2
Brandon Seyler def. Demario Cade by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:25, R1