Bellator 65 continued the Bellator Fighting Championship's sixth season last night (April 13, 2012) from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was a thrilling night of bouts and none were more impressive than the main event, a bantamweight title fight between champion Zach Makovsky and challenger Eduardo Dantas.
In a back and forth first round, Dantas kept Makovsky on his toes with a pair of brutal body kicks which knocked the champion off his feet. "Fun Size" immediately decided to take the fight to the ground, but once he put Dantas on his back, he was still not out of danger as the Nova Uniao fighter threatened with a pair of omaplatas off of his back.
In the second round, Makovsky quickly attempted to take the fight to the ground but this time, Dantas was ready for it and hit a "switch" which reversed the attempt and put the former Drexel wrestler somewhere he's never been in the Bellator cage, on his back.
Dantas frustrated Makkovsky from top position, twice passing to mount and dropping some occasional elbows while threatening with a rear naked choke whenever Makovsky attempted to scramble out of danger. The second time he passed to mount, he transitioned to an arm triangle choke and immediately passed to side control to tighten the hold.
Makovsky tried to hold out by creating space and grabbing his own knee but the choke was too tight and he was rendered unconscious.
We have a new Bellator bantamweight champion. And at just 23 years old, this talented Brazilian looks completely unstoppable.
The rest of the main card featured some very interesting bouts including one of Bellator's finest 2012 fights:
Straus, fighting with a heavy heart due to the recent death of his teammate, Chris Smith, started incredibly strongly by dropping Corey with his first combination and beating Corey soundly in the stand-up department in the first round. By the time the round was over, Corey's face was a bloody mess.
In typical Mike Corey fashion, he bounced back by turning up the pressure in the stand-up, initiating clinches and even scoring a couple takedowns against Straus in the second round. He was especially effective along the fence, repeatedly gaining inside position and throwing some strong knees to the body while mixing in dirty boxing.
Straus would take control in a tough third round, going back to his boxing where he was able to land the more effective strikes while mixing up his own clinch and takedown attempts to keep Corey guessing. Corey's face was tenderized by this point with his eye nearly swollen shut but he continued to battle back, even landing some solid strikes in a flurry with 30 seconds left but it wasn't enough as the judges sided with Straus unanimously to advance the Cincinnati-based fighter to the featherweight finals.
In bantamweight quarterfinal action, season five finalist Alexis Vila got all he could handle from a very game Luis Nogueira in what was a rather lackluster bout. Nogueira used his size and speed to fluster Vila throughout the bout and was able to outstrike the former Cuban Olympic wrestler in both the first and third rounds, even taking Vila down at the end of the first.
Vila used his wrestling a little more effectively in the second round but was unable to do much damage and in the end, the strong first and third rounds for Nogueira were enough for the Brazilian to pull off the upset, earning him a unanimous decision much to the dismay of the 41 year old Vila.
In the opening bout of the main card, bantamweight quarterfinalists Marcos Galvao and Ed West put on a hell of a battle. Galvao, who'd been robbed in both of his Bellator losses against Joe Warren and Alexis Vila, vowed to finish this fight and boy did he ever try.
The Brazilian opened with some extremely aggressive punching, closing the distance on West and landing effectively with heavy haymakers while mixing in strong takedowns and working his top control and jiu-jitsu. West attacked from bottom and repeatedly got back to his feet but Galvao was all over him in the stand-up, walking through many of his attacks to land power strikes.
There was one beautiful exchange where West attempted a flying knee but was knocked out of the air by a vicious Galvao looping right hook and sent crashing to the canvas.
The pace slowed down slightly in the second and third rounds, but Galvao continued to mount a strong offense in the stand-up while mixing in takedowns and the judges finally decided in his favor as he was awarded a unanimous decision victory with a clean sweep of 30-27 by all three judges which didn't tell the full story of how awesome this fight was.
In undercard action, former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good starched LeVon Maynard with 13 second knockout. Good pushed forward extremely aggressively in the opening seconds and after landing some short punches, appeared to drop Maynard with an accidental headbutt. Once on the ground, he blasted Maynard with heavy ground and pound until the referee intervened.
With the victory, he punched his ticket to the next Bellator welterweight tournament, which is likely taking place this fall.
For complete Bellator 65 results and detailed round-by-round commentary of all the televised fights click here.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you as impressed as I was by how dominant Eduardo Dantas looked against such a strong fighter like Makovsky? After finally seeing the full bantamweight quarterfinals and featherweight semifinals, who are your picks to win each tournament?