Fact Check: Bellator 167

By Brian Knapp Nov 30, 2016

Darrion Caldwell wants a second look at the man who introduced him to defeat.

“The Wolf” will meet Joe Taimanglo in a potential Bellator MMA bantamweight title eliminator, as they headline Bellator 167 on Saturday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Taimanglo stunned the previously unbeaten Caldwell in July, when he submitted the Rahway, New Jersey, native with a third-round guillotine choke and slowed his rise on the 135-pound ladder.

Flawless outside of his failed encounter with Taimanglo, Caldwell has compiled a 6-1 record since arriving in Bellator a little less than three years ago. His run of success includes his March 4 rout of former two-division champion Joe Warren, a leading contender for “Beatdown of the Year.” Caldwell savaged Warren for some three minutes before choking him unconscious. He was thought to be on the brink of a title shot before Taimanglo inserted himself in the discussion.

Taimanglo, 32, will enter the cage on a four-fight winning streak. His upset of Caldwell was preceded by consecutive victories over Sirwan Kakai, Antonio Duarte and Michael Parker. A former Pacific Xtreme Combat champion, Taimanglo has trained out of the powerhouse Alliance MMA camp in the past.

With the Caldwell-Taimanglo rematch as the centerpiece, here are 10 facts surrounding Bellator 167:

FACT 1: Caldwell was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at North Carolina State University, where he won a national championship in 2009 and finished with a 109-13 career record.

FACT 2: A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt under Renato Verissimo, Taimanglo has 12 submission wins to his credit: four by rear-naked choke, two by arm-triangle choke, one by guillotine choke, one by north-south choke, one by kneebar, one by brabo choke, one by triangle choke and another by undisclosed choke.

FACT 3: Justin Lawrence reached the quarterfinals on Season 15 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series before being eliminated by Michael Chiesa, the season’s eventual winner.

FACT 4: The five opponents Nova Uniao export John Teixeira da Conceicao has beaten during his current five-fight winning streak -- Milson Araujo, Gleristone Santos, Fabricio de Assis Costa da Silva, Scott Cleve and Oberdan Vieira Tenorio own a cumulative record of 91-27-1.

FACT 5: Chidi Njokuani is one of six men to have held the Tachi Palace Fights welterweight championship. David Mitchell, John Alessio, Nate Loughran, Ricky Legere Jr. and Max Griffin are the others.

FACT 6: Undefeated American Kickboxing Academy prospect Andre Fialho, 22, has started his career 7-0 with seven finishes, six of them inside the first round. He needed a grand total of 16:13 to secure those seven victories.

FACT 7: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane trains with the Team Hurricane Awesome outfit in San Diego, where she sharpens her skills alongside Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Liz Carmouche, Walel Watson and Mike de la Torre.

FACT 8: Having linked arms with an American Top Team affiliate on Oklahoma City, Emily Ducote has rattled off four straight wins since she lost a unanimous decision to Emily Whitmire in her September 2015 pro debut.

FACT 9: Jarod Trice earned NCAA All-America honors three times at Central Michigan University, where he remains one of only 19 wrestlers in school history to reach 100 career wins.

FACT 10: All 10 of featherweight Stephen Banaszak’s bouts -- five wins and five losses -- have concluded inside two rounds.

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