Bellator 166 "Dantas vs. Warren 2" took place last night (Fri., Dec. 2, 2016) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The card was headlined by a world title fight at bantamweight.
Joe Warren and Eduardo Dantas already know each other well. Dantas was the champion the last time these two met two years ago and Warren was able to out wrestle Dantas to take his title. Did the self-proclaimed "Baddest Man on that Planet" repeat that feat and become the champ once again?
The first round was all Dantas, who was openly taunting Warren by leaning back and spreading his arms out wide. Warren wasn't able to make him pay for it as Dantas used the left jab and right hook frequently and effectively. Dantas saved his taunting until the end of Round 2 but it was essentially more of the same, with nasty leg kicks added in as well.
The only point that things could have turned in Warren's favor in the next three rounds was when Dantas got a one point deduction in round five for a second errant kick to the cup. Despite that, Dantas still landed all the effective strikes of the round, and Warren did not score a takedown.
One judge scored it an inexplicable 47-47 draw, but the other two saw it 49-44 and 48-46 for Dantas.
"I'm the best bantamweight of the world. I'm the true champion! Don't worry, I'm the champion."
Undefeated featherweight A.J. McKee put that record on the line against late notice replacement Ray Wood after original opponent Emmanuel Sanchez withdrew due to injury.
Wood had one chance early in the fight when he landed a jump knee that momentarily stunned McKee, but from the second round on it was a one sided affair of McKee taking Wood down and pounding his face in on the ground.
The scores reflected how lopsided it ultimately was -- 29-27, 30-25 and 30-27 all for McKee. He still wanted a piece of Emmanuel Sanchez in the post-fight interview.
"First off I want to apologize to all the fans. I hit him with a left hand in the second round, think I broke my thumb, hey I'm gonna be back, stronger and better than ever. You guys know what I want, I want that belt, so let's cheer me on my way to get it cause I'ma keep putting on a show for you guys. It's all about you guys and I hope you enjoy the show tonight so thank you! Sanchez you signed that dotted line homey. You can run but you can't hide. If you want come get it I'ma kick your ass just to say I did it."
Former champion Marcos Galvao was thumped soundly in his last fight with Dantas, but stood a chance to get back into contention if he could get past L.C. Davis, a man who was once in contention before a loss to Joe Warren.
Galvao had just one goal in mind in Round 1 -- get the takedown. It took him over half the round to find it, but given Davis didn't land any significant strikes before it, it was all Galvao needed to win it. Galvao was able to hit another takedown in Round 2, but Davis didn't stay down for long and he was coming forward aggressively with left hands, particularly late in the round when being memorable counts.
Davis clearly won the third and final round when Galvao was not able to score a single takedown and Davis peppered him with left hands whenever he got into range. None were powerful enough to rock Galvao, but his only answer was to clinch up, which Davis consistently turned around on the fence to fire knees before breaking clean. The judges were left to decide and rendered a split decision of 28-29, 29-28 X2 favoring Galvao.
Two middleweights with only one loss apiece looked to move up in another key divisional battle as "The Cutt" Chris Honeycutt faced down the more experienced Ben Reiter.
Through the first two rounds it was all Honeycutt, who took down Reiter almost at will, and although Reiter would get back to his feet he wasn't winning the striking exchanges there either.
Reiter tried a desperation takedown in Round 3 when he got hurt by a right hand, and when he tried again "The Cutt" stepped over on the ground and diced Reiter up with elbows. Unsurprisingly the judges rendered a unanimous decision for Honeycutt of 30-26, 30-25 and 30-25.
The .gif tells it all -- no post-fight interview was needed nor given.
These televised bouts were paired with exciting action that aired exclusively on Spike.com.
For complete Bellator 166 results and coverage click here.