Eduardo Dantas ran circles around Joe Warren.
Dantas retained the Bellator MMA bantamweight championship with a majority decision over Warren in the Bellator 166 headliner on Friday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Judges Todd Anderson and Dan Mathisen cast 49-44 and 48-46 scorecards for Dantas, while Jacob Montalvo saw it 47-47, his ruling leaving many to scratch their head in bewilderment (online betting).
It was not close. Dantas (19-4) chewed up Warren’s face with a stinging left jab and battered his lead leg with destructive kicks. More importantly, he steered clear of the clinch and shrugged off all but one of the challenger’s takedown attempts. Trapped on the feet, an increasingly desperate Warren (14-6) could do little more than charge forward and eat punches. Referee John McCarthy docked Dantas a point for a second low blow in the fifth round, the foul proving meaningless to everyone but Montalvo.
In the featherweight co-main event, Team Bodyshop prospect A.J. McKee passed his first serious test as a professional and kept his perfect record intact with a unanimous decision over Ray Wood. McKee (6-0) swept the scorecards with 29-27, 30-25 and 30-27 marks from the judges.
A replacement for the injured Emmanuel Sanchez, Wood (7-3) made his intentions known in the first round. There, he clipped McKee with a jumping knee strike to the side of the head and later connected with a spinning back kick and side kick to the body. His success was short-lived. McKee manhandled Wood in Round 2, where he secured a takedown and bludgeoned him with ground-and-pound to effectively turn the tide. The 21-year-old did further damage over the final five minutes, as he again grounded Wood and put the exclamation point on his latest victory with a belly-to-back suplex.
Meanwhile, former Bellator bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao won for the fifth time in six appearances, as he eked out a split decision over L.C. Davis in a featured matchup at 135 pounds. All three judges scored it 29-28: Todd Anderson and Dan Mathisen for Galvao, Jacob Montalvo for Davis.
Neither man seized control in a meaningful way. Galvao (18-7-1) delivered takedowns in the first and second rounds, applied some mild ground-and-pound and executed a few guard passes but never approached a finish. Davis (23-8) turned the corner late in the second round, forced the Brazilian to fight off his back foot and lured him into a series of clinches. It was not enough.
Elsewhere, two-time NCAA All-American wrestler Chris Honeycutt leaned on repeated takedowns and smashing ground-and-pound, as he pocketed a lopsided unanimous decision against Ben Reiter in their three-round catchweight showcase at 194 pounds. All three cageside judges sided with Honeycutt (9-1): 30-26, 30-25 and 30-25.
Reiter (17-2-1) was a non-factor. Honeycutt executed takedowns in all three rounds and hammered away at the body with knees and kicks when upright. While Reiter’s pace slowed and his output dwindled to next to nothing, his counterpart found another gear. Honeycutt did his best work late in Round 3, where he assumed top position and cut up the Peru-based New York native with elbows, punches and forearm strikes.
The 28-year-old Honeycutt has won three fights in a row. In other action, Gregory Babene (18-11) submitted Emiliano Sordi (14-6) with a guillotine choke 3:11 into the first round of their middleweight pairing; Treston Thomison (10-4) tapped Dawond Pickney (10-6) with an armbar 51 seconds into the first round of their catchweight clash at 159 pounds; Derrick Adkins (9-3) submitted Chris Jones (10-5) with a brabo choke 4:09 into the second round of their catchweight tilt at 164 pounds; and Kinny Spotwood (3-2) took a unanimous decision from John King (4-4), earning 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 marks from the judges in their three-round catchweight affair at 210 pounds.