Bellator 177: "Dantas vs. Higo" takes place TONIGHT (Fri., April 14, 2017) from inside Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary, featuring a Bantamweight match for Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas against Leandro Higo.
Dantas was originally scheduled to face outstanding wrestler Darrion Caldwell, but when “The Wolf” was pulled because of an injury, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Brazil” veteran stepped in for the biggest fight of his entire career. We’re about to learn if he can upset a dominant Dantas.
Also set for tonight’s card — a pair of Featherweight bouts to set the rankings as the division continues to queue up behind Straus and Freire, and a Ukranian Flyweight seeking her second win in Bellator as the 125-pound women’s division waits to crown a champion.
Bellator 177 will start at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV. MMAmania.com will be here to deliver results and play-by-play for the entirety of the Bellator MMA broadcast card.
Many readers check in before, during and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 177) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 177 QUICK RESULTS:
Eduardo Dantas vs. Leandro Higo -- Dantas SD 30-27, 28-29, 30-27
Daniel Weichel vs. John Teixeira -- Weichel SD 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Lena Ovchynnikova vs. Helen Harper -- Ovchynnikova TKO 5:00 R2.
Anthony Taylor vs. Adam Borics -- Borics by sub (RNC) 4:12 R1.
BELLATOR 177 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Eduardo Dantas vs. Leandro Higo
In case you hadn’t already heard the main event was changed to a non-title fight when Higo missed weight by four lbs. “Pitbull” Higo is out first in the black trunks and blue gloves sporting a career record of 17-2. The champion Dantas has on the red trunks and gloves for this now three round fight, sporting a record of 19-4. Higo fights out of Mossoro and Dantas fights out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Big” John McCarthy is in charge.
Round 1: Dantas skitters forward on his feet and unloads with a hard leg kick. Higo responds in kind. He catches a kick and pushes Dantas away before letting it go. Dantas throws a head kick that misses. Higo is pawing with his hands, hinting at strikes he doesn’t throw, hoping to lure Dantas into watching him move around and get caught flat footed. Higo with a leg kick. Dantas keeps backing Higo up and forcing him to charge forward to regain position. Dantas is landing a lot of leg kicks and jabs. Higo nearly eats a spinning backfist in the final 10 seconds. 10-9 Dantas.
Round 2: The crowd in Budapest is watching in quiet appreciation of the skill on display in this fight. You can hear some occasional whistling but otherwise this is a Japanese style audience. Dantas is tagging Higo with right hands and tries another spinning backfist. Every time Higo gets off a leg kick Dantas gets off three to four shots in return. It’s a lot like the Teixeira fight and I’m still perplexed that Teixeira actually lost on the scorecards. Higo is chasing but he is having a hard time catching up to Dantas to land anything big. Dantas clinches at 3:47 and uses the body lock to drive Higo into the fence, but Higo gets an ankle pick and goes for a guillotine, but he can’t get it on as Dantas pops straight to his feet. Higo’s got him pinned against the fence and goes for a takedown with 20 seconds left but Dantas blocks with a whizzer. You can see bruising all up and down Higo’s left leg. 10-9 Dantas.
Round 3: Dantas continues to work the jab and the kick, and Dantas thinks he accidentally poked Higo in the eye, but McCarthy says no and orders the fight to continue. Higo pushes forward, Dantas clinches, then breaks off of his own accord. The crowd is finally getting frustrated with how one-sided this fight is at the halfway point of R3 as a few boo birds can be heard. Higo with a front kick. Dantas with the left jab. Higo misses with a kick. Higo throws a 1-2 and clinches against the fence. McCarthy may have called for work but Sonnen was rambling and I can’t be sure. Higo gives chase for the final 20 seconds but doesn’t land another strike so we go to the judges.
Final result: 30-27 Dantas, 29-28 Higo, 30-27 for Dantas by split decision.
Daniel Weichel vs. John Teixeira
Teixeira is out first in the blue gloves and black trunks. Weichel too has the black trunks and red gloves, but true to his new nickname “Drake” he enters to “Started From the Bottom.” Teixeira is 21-1-2 and Weichel is 38-9. Teixeira fights out of Macapa, Brazil and Weichel fights out of Frankfurt, Germany. Our referee in charge is Todd Anderson.
Round 1: Teixeira and Weichel square off. Teixeira throws a kick and Weichel catches it. Weichel is staying out of range until he gets hurt with a right hand at 1:11, and Teixeira is still attacking as Weichel gets back up against the fence, landing a left hook over the top that may have hurt Weichel again. He doesn’t burn out the gas tank trying to finish Weichel off though, settling back in at the center of the cage and looking for openings. Teixeira lands a hard leg kick at 2:44. Weichel is trying to respond with his own kicks but Teixeira is outlanding him with both the hands and the feet. Weichel finally tags him with a good right hook with about 50 seconds left this round. A short hard left for Weichel connects at 4:33. Teixeira still outworks him in the last minute to solidify a 10-9 round.
Round 2: Teixeira has no fear of Weichel, pushing right into range and going strike for strike in the first minute. When Weichel resets and tries to step forward he’s immediately met with a left jab. Teixeira doesn’t just throw one shot though. Every attack is a combo of hands and leg kicks. Teixeira gets a body lock but doesn’t complete the takedown, but it hardly matters since he lands another hard right when he stands upright. Weichel tries a front kick high that’s a quarter inch off. Teixeira tries to catch a hard leg kick and gets thrown to the side. The canvas looks a little slippery tonight - Teixeira is ice skating for a second or two. Hard right hand to Weichel’s chin. Weichel catches another leg kick but can’t turn it to anything. They slug it out for the last ten and Weichel tries a jump knee at the end. 10-9 Teixeira.
Round 3: The announcers are openly speculating that Weichel was completely spaced out on his stool at the end of round two. Teixeira is certainly not letting up. Weichel tries a body lock but can’t get Teixeira off his feet. A couple of right hooks connect though and he briefly trips Teixeira to the ground afterward. Weichel lands another nice shot at 2:58 and creams Teixeira with a 1-2 at 3:10. This is easily Weichel’s best round but it’s coming a bit late. He needs a knockout or a submission to turn this around. More of Teixeira’s shots are missing than landing now. Sonnen says any second Weichel isn’t throwing shots not is wasted time. Weichel grazes Teixeira with a head kick. Another right hand connects at 4:17. Another one lands at 4:37. He’s got to drop Teixeira though and try to get a 10-8. He goes for a takedown late but it’s just not enough. 10-9 Weichel.
Final result: The judges score this contest 29-28 Weichel, 29-28 Teixeira, 29-28 for Weichel by split decision.
Lena Ovchynnikova vs. Helen Harper
“Hellraiser” Helen Harper is out first in the black trunks and top with blue gloves, bringing a 4-1 record to the Bellator cage after a stint on The Ultimate Fighter, fighting out of London, England. Her opponent Ovchynnikova has on the red gloves and a record of 11-4 and fights out of Liev, Ukraine. Our referee is “Big” John McCarthy.
Round 1: Harper is giving up both height and reach in this fight so she’s trying to make up for it by being aggressive early. She goes for a single leg at 52 seconds and gets Ovchynnikova to the ground ten seconds later. If she can get her left knee across she’ll have full mount, and she gets it at 1:45. Harper goes for an americana but then lets it go to pound on Ovchynnikova some more. Ovchynnikova keeps trying to bridge up with her back but can’t shake Harper off. Harper goes for the americana again then to the armbar as Ovchynnikova tries to sweep then to a triangle as Ovchynnikova tries to get free again. Ovchynnikova tries to powerbomb her way out of the triangle and it actually works. Both women are on their feet for the almost all of the last minute of the round save the final second or two. I give the first five minutes to Harper 10-9.
Round 2: Both women tap gloves and we’re underway with Harper pushing forward again. Ovchynnikova is bouncing on her feet, constantly bobbing and feinting, while Harper hunts for a chance to either come in or change levels. Instead Ovchynnikova uses her length to pop Harper in the nose and open it up. Harper finally shoots and gets the takedown at 1:48 right into side control but Ovchynnikova gets back up at 2:10 firing a knee on the exit. Ovchynnikova tags her with another left at 2:44. Harper shoots in with her hands around Ovchynnikova’s waist, Ovchynnikova keeps her balance and stays upright, and finally shoves Harper off at 3:38. Harper goes for a clinch but eats a bunch of shots and Ovchynnikova swarms as Harper’s face has become a bloody mess. Ovchynnikova is landing a lot of knees and big left hooks. They clinch again at 4:38 and this time it’s Ovchynnikova who lands on top in side control. 10-9 Ovchynnikova.
Round 3: Before this round can begin referee “Big” John McCarthy waves it off due to the damage Harper suffered in the previous five minutes. It’s all over. Harper can’t even get off her stool.
Final result: Lena Ovchynnikova wins by TKO (referee stoppage) at 5:00 of round two.
Anthony Taylor vs. Adam Borics
Borics is 5-0, Taylor is 1-2, and Borics has both a height and reach advantage for this 147 lb. catchweight fight. Taylor hails from Alameda but fights out of Long Beach, California in the American flag trunks and blue gloves. Hungary's own Borics has black trunks and red gloves. The referee is Todd Anderson.
Round 1: Borics has Taylor backpedaling immediately. He steps into range at 58 seconds and knocks Borics down, but Borics is working for a submission off his back and Taylor has to pull out and step away. Taylor continues to shift back and forth on the outside as Borics throws leg kicks, then tries to step in again for power shots. Borics hurts Taylor with a leg kick so he tries to catch the next one. He has a cut over his left eye from one of Taylor's power shots. Taylor catches a kick to the cup at 2:55 and Anderson calls time. Borics is told it was accidental because they were both moving but he still gets a verbal warning before the restart. Borics rocks him in the next exchange, Taylor recovers, but he felt the sting of a big left hook. Taylor gets stunned again at 3:45 and Borics jumps on his back and gets the hooks in. He gets the rear naked choke, Taylor falls down and taps out with under a minute left.
Final result: Adam Boric wins via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:12 of round one.