By: William Holmes
Just because it’s not the UFC, doesn’t mean it’s not exciting, and it doesn’t mean they don’t have high caliber fighters.
Eduardo Dantas is a high caliber fighter.
Atlantic City has quietly become a second home for Bellator, and for good reason, they seem to draw well here. Tonight’s event took place in the ballroom of Boardwalk Hall and featured bouts in the bantamweight and featherweight tournament, as well as a bantamweight title fight between Eduardo Dantas and Zach Makovsky.
The opening bout of the televised portion of the card was a bout in the bantamweight tournament. Ed West (17-6) took on Marcos Galvao (10-5-1), and Galvao had a sizeable contingent in the crowd cheering him on as Mobb Deep’s shook ones blasted on the speakers. Galvao came out swinging with wide and looping punches, and West answered with straight and accurate punches. Galvao was able to take West down in the first round briefly and take his back, but they popped right back to their feet. West unwisely goes for a jump kick in the first round but was clocked with a right hand that sent him crashing to the ground. Galvao took West to the ground again in the second round, and West had a guillotine choke locked up but not tightly. Galvao was able to escape it easily and controlled the grappling position for most of the fight. Galvao landed a beautiful jumping knee in the second round, but West landed a majority of the strikes in round two when it was standing. West landed a solid high switch kick on Galvao to start off round three, and Galvao responded by trying to keep the fight in a clinch. Galvao gets a takedown early in round three, and lands some hard knees to the ribcage of West from the side control position. West is able to gramby roll out of danger and get back to his feet , but found himself back on his back defending himself from the attack of Galvao in full guard position. The official scores were 30-27 three times, even though the bout was closer than what the scores suggested.
The second bout of the night was another bout in the bantamweight tournament, as Alexis Vila (11-1) took on Luiz Nogueira (12-2). This bout interesting in that Vila is a former Olympic wrestler, and Nogueira is a Brazilian who specializes in jiu-jitsu. It reminded me of the early days of MMA, when you had fighters who were good in only one discipline but not good at any others. Nogueira surprisingly was able to avoid the takedowns of Vila early on in the bout,but still got popped by some punches from Vila. Nogueira took the back of Vila while standing to end round one. Vila used his wrestling ability to his advantage in round two and scored several takedowns, while keeping Nogueira guessing with solid strikes while standing. The third round started off slower, as Nogueira stayed circling on the outside and both fighters exchanging blows every now and then. Some members of the crowd started booing at the end of the fight. The official scores were 29-28 three times for Luiz Nogueira.
The next bout was a match in the featherweight tournament between Mike Corey (12-2) and Daniel Straus (18-4). Straus dropped Corey early in round one with what seemed like a stiff straight right hand. Strauss. Strauss displayed a good variety of punches and kicks to keep Corey on the defensive in round one, and grappled effectively enough to avoid being placed in any type of danger. Corey came out for the second one with a nose that was clearly broken, but despite it, he was able to land an early takedown. The referee stood them back up kind of quickly, but Corey wasn’t really doing any damage from the top position. Corey had a much better showing in round two, as he did more than hold his own while standing, and controlled positioning when they were in the clinch. Corey’s eye was swollen badly as round three began. Straus was able to get a hold of Corey’s back in round three while standing, but was unable to drag him to the ground. Straus did a good job on his feet in round three, and landed a few hard uppercuts and knees by the cage, but round three was close. Official scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 for Daniel Straus.
The main event of the night was between Philadelphia native Zach Makovsky (14-2) and Eduardo Dantas (13-2) for the Bantamweight title. Dantas earned his title shot by winning the bantamweight tournament in the previous season of Bellator. It was easy to tell early on that Dantas had the height and reach advantage on Makovsky. Dantas ripped Makovsky with two vicious leg kicks to the body, and Makovsky had no choice but to take the fight to the ground. Some intense grappling occurred on the ground as Dantas briefly threatened with an oma palata but did not execute it completely. Makovsky landed some decent ground and pound before they both got back to their feet and finished an exciting first round. Round two started off quickly, and after a brief exchange on their feet Dantas executed a picture perfect switch and took the back of Makovsky. Dantas stayed in tight on Makovsky from the half guard position and was able to roll with Makovsky effortlessly and eventually transition to full mount position. Dantas eventually slid into a arm triangle choke, got to the side of Makovsky, and forced the referee to stop it making him the new Bantamweight champion.
Eduardo Dantas is your new Bellator Bantamweight champion by way of arm triangle choke at 3:26 of round 2.
Mikhall Malyutin (11-9) vs. E.J. Brooks (5-0); Lightweight
Slow match to start the night. Not a lot of stand up action, Brooks was able to land a few nice hard knees from the muy thai clinch, and landed a few takedowns in the second and third rounds while maintaining an advantageous position. No surprise when the final scores were announced of 30-27, 30-26, and 30-27 for E.J. Brooks.
LeVon Maynard (12-8) vs. Lyman Good (11-2); Welterweight
Former Bellator welterweight world champion Lyman Good rushes in and immediately drops Maynard with straight right hand directly on the button. Maynard drops and Good finishes him off with some quick ground and pound. A very short night for Good as he wins by KO at 0:13 of round 1. This victory for good guarantees him a spot in the next Bellator welterweight tournament.
Kris McCray (7-3) vs. Ailton Barbosa (10-3); Welterweight
Barbosa and McCray traded takedowns in the first one, but McCray landed the harder one and landed more ground and pound. Barbosa briefly threatened with a knee bar but was unable to hold onto the leg for a serious submission attempt. McCray controlled most of the rest of the fight from top position landing short ground and pound. Barbosa had a triangle attempt locked up at the end of the third round, but it was too little too late. Official scores were 29-28 for McCray, 29-28 for Barbosa, and 29-28 for McCray.
Scott Heckman (9-3) vs. Lester Caslow (7-5); Featherweight
Heckman lands an early takedown and has blood gushing from the top of his head. Not sure how he got the cut but it was dripping all over the place on the mat. Heckman controls most of the first round with a front headlock and is eventually able to threaten Caslow with a darce choke in the middle of the first round. He eventually transition beautifully into a back control and locks in a rear naked choke to force the tap. Scott Heckman wins by rear naked choke in 3:40 of round 1.