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Bellator 184 ‘Dantas vs Caldwell’ recap with results, .gifs and interviews

Bellator 184 'Dantas vs Caldwell’ aired Friday night (Oct. 6, 2017) from WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card with exciting Bantamweight and Featherweight action!

Dantas vs Caldwell
Dantas vs Caldwell
Bellator MMA

Bellator 184 “Dantas vs. Caldwell" took place last night (Fri., Oct. 6, 2017) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The emphasis for the night was on the hard hitting and quick moving fighters in the Featherweight and Bantamweight divisions.

Two time and current Bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (20-4) took center stage in the main event, looking to push back the challenge of top contender Darrion Caldwell (10-1).

Caldwell scored the single biggest move of the first round with a beautiful belly to back suplex, and given Dantas did little in response when Jason Herzog finally reset them for the last 70 seconds, the first frame went to the challenger.

Dantas fared better in the second round by being the aggressor most of the time, but the only shot that landed that wobbled either man was Caldwell’s elbow to the chin, which once again suggested that he ultimately won the round.

The third round was the closest of the fight so far. Even though Caldwell was able to use his wrestling effectively to stifle much of Dantas’ offense, he was still the fighter coming forward and wound up on top when he stuffed a takedown with a minute left, getting a full mount at the bell.

Caldwell was in a bad spot in Round 4 when a takedown got reversed and Dantas put on a body triangle, but Caldwell managed to use the slickness of their body sweat to swivel his way on top, then bust open Dantas left eye with a hard elbow. This round and the fifth round could have gone either way. Dantas may have gotten away with an illegal eyepoke in the frame, but it was far more telling that he grabbed the fence multiple times and never got docked a point for it.

The judges ultimately rendered a verdict of 48-47 X2 and 50-45 for the new champion Darrion Caldwell, who immediately spoke to Jimmy Smith after his hand was raised.

“Aww man I dealt with a lot of adversity leading up to this fight, getting served papers, seemed like nothing could go my way, but I want to give a big shout out to my team Alliance in San Diego. They’ve been putting in a lot of hard work. You saw my boy Chance (Rencountre) in the prelims get it done. Best f—-ing team in the world is here! It feels like a dream come true. This is my belt and I’m keeping it for a long long time!”

The co-main event saw former Featherweight champion Daniel Straus (25-7) try to ascend back to title contention, but “El Matador” Emmanuel Sanchez (15-3) came in on a two fight win streak against two former world champions.

A wild first round was packed with reversals and turns of fortune. Sanchez had a deep knee bar that Straus survived, Straus mauled him on top with elbows and hands, then Sanchez flipped him over and locked on a body triangle to go for a rear naked choke but had to let it go. Still Sanchez was doing the damage at the end of Round 1 and momentum seemed to be in his favor.

That momentum turned into a second round blowout after a Sanchez takedown reversal resulted in a full mount and a non-stop barrage of heavy hands. With only 20 seconds left in the round referee Kerry Hatley was taking a very close look but decided Straus could continue to Round 3.

The former champion finally ran out of Hail Mary plays in the final round after he went for another takedown but Sanchez quickly turned it into a triangle choke. He patiently waited and slipped it in tighter second-by-second, and with one tap on the chest Straus capitulated to “El Matador” at 1:56 and Sanchez relished it with a post-fight celebration.

Sanchez spoke to Jimmy Smith after the huge win over Straus.

“I knew it was a long time coming. You’ve seen a lot of close ones, a lot of back and forth, but this is the life of a prize fighter — I left it all on the line and got the finish. Anybody, anywhere, any time, I don’t care what weight, what division, anything. I’ve fought everybody Rich Chou and Scott Coker wanted me to fight. That’s the third former champion in a row - what’s next?”

Another former champion also sought contention as Pat Curran (22-7) went to war with John Teixera (21-2-2) in a bout with big ranking implications for both men.

Even though Teixeira tried to set the tone early with his aggression, he paid the price for it as Curran patiently waited on the outside for Teixeira to close the range, then popped him with brutally hard right hands that dropped him and buckled his knees, winning Curran Round 1.

Teixeira had more success in Round 2 by relying on kicks instead of his hands, slowly outpointing Curran over the course of five minutes, who never once touched Teixeira’s chin in a noticeable way. The former champion was going to have to win Round 3 big or get a finish to ensure victory.

The strategy for Curran in the last frame was neither — he went for multiple takedowns and got them, and seemed to mostly outpoint Teixeira with well timed shots and one really loud leg kick. This left it up to the judges and they rendered a decision of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-26 Curran.

After picking up his third straight win but first in over a year, Curran spoke to Jimmy Smith.

“Dude it’s amazing. This is a dream come true right now. I put such a hard training camp together. I worked 40 hours a week getting ready for this fight. Thank you so much.”

Rounding out the card was the man who once scored a huge upset over Caldwell in Joe Taimanglo (23-7-1) facing off with a former Eduardo Dantas opponent in Leandro Higo (17-3).

Taimanglo was a game opponent for Higo, forcing his taller opponent to battle him chest-to-chest in clinch, making Higo block multiple takedown attempts and go for his own, but Higo slowly but surely outpointed his foe over the span of 15 minutes.

Late in the fight Higo pulled guard and tried to squeeze out a guillotine submission — something Taimanglo knows well from having done it to Caldwell. Taimanglo survived it to the bell but Higo earned the unanimous 29-28, 30-27 X2 decision.

For complete Bellator 184 results and coverage click here.

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