Bellator 51 took place last night (September 24, 2011) from the Canton Memorial Civic Center in Canton, Ohio and yours truly was there to personally cover it live.
The event marked the first round of the promotion's season five bantamweight tournament.
If you didn't know who Alexis Vila was before, you most certainly do now.
The former Olympic bronze medalist freestyle wrestler absolutely obliterated Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren with a first round knockout that made the self-proclaimed "Baddest Man on the Planet" go completely stiff.
Vila set up his knockout with a right hand that stunned Warren and when the American dove in aggressively with a right hook in retaliation, he was met with a beautiful left hook counter that put his lights out.
The 40-year old Cuban defector definitely made a statement in his Bellator debut.
The rest of the card was wildly entertaining as well.
Reis put up a fight in the first round, keeping the pressure on the 22-year old but all it took was one mistake for the fight to be over.
Reis had been having issues getting inside of Dantas reach and early in the second round he threw a head kick that left him off balance. He backed away in a straight line and that gave Dantas all the opening he needed to throw a vicious flying knee that cracked Reis on the chin and sent him tumbling to the canvas. After some quick blows on the ground, it was all she wrote for Reis.
WEC veterans Marcos Galvao and Chase Beebe put on a tremendous display of mixed martial arts for the fans in a bout that featured multiple wild scrambles, sweeps and harshly delivered strikes. Galvao got the better of the exchanges in the first two rounds, bloodying up the former WEC bantamweight champ pretty badly but Beebe showed pure heart in round three, bouncing back and getting the better of the stand-up.
When it was all said and done, the work Galvao put in in the first two rounds was enough to carry him to a split decision victory and allowing him to advance to the semifinals.
The opening bout of the night featured previous Bellator bantamweight tournament runner-up Ed West against powerful Luta Livre fighter Luis Nogueira. West controlled the range well with a vast array of kicks including front kicks, side kicks and even some flashy switch kicks but when Nogueira got inside he landed the more significant punches.
West's wrestling was his downfall in the last tournament against champion Zach Makovsky and he showcased improved offensive and defensive grappling against Nogueira, avoiding nearly all of the Brazilian's takedown attempts and even scoring a couple of his own.
The judges were impressed enough with West to award him a unanimous decision.
In the post-fight press conference, it was announced that Ed West will face Eduardo Dantas and Alexis Vila will fight Marcos Galvao in the tournament semifinals to be held on October 22, 2011.
Was there any result last night that really shocked you, Maniacs? Who's your pick to win the whole thing now that you've had a chance to see these incredible bantamweights in action?