Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky knows he has a difficult test ahead. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Season 5 of Bellator posed its fair share of questions, perhaps none bigger than who would come out of the bantamweight tournament.
A field that included the featherweight champion, an Olympic champion and last year’s tournament runner-up was dubbed as the deepest tournament this season. With the champion Zach Makovsky waiting in the wings, Eduardo Dantas took a unanimous decision over Alexis Vila at Bellator 59 to win the tournament.
“I was thinking, 'It’s a good thing I only have to fight one of them,' Makovsky told Sherdog.com after the fights. “In all seriousness, maybe the first bantamweight tournament gets a little less credit than it should. I think Ed (West) fought very good in this tournament. He had a good fight against Dantas. I was just excited to watch it out. I’m a fan of the sport too. It played out well. I thought Dantas would win tonight. He looks pretty good.”
Looking ahead to the title fight, Makovsky admitted there won’t really be a separate training camp because he’s “always training.” The Philadelphia Fight Factory bantamweight did mention he’s training with Bellator featherweight Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra and will bring in West to train for Dantas. He also has plenty of tape to refer back to from this tournament.
“I got some good fights to look at,” Makovsky said. “He fought a couple of people that will have the same difference I’ll have. He fought Wilson (Reis), he’s a small southpaw, and he fought Alexis Vila, who’s a small wrestler. I think we’ll have some good fights to look at. He beat both of those guys pretty convincingly. I got my work cut out for me. I think I could take advantage of some things. I think I time my takedowns a little bit better than Vila. He’s a better wrestler than me no question, but it’s a little bit different in MMA. I think it’s about putting everything together, and I think I can do that pretty effectively against Dantas. He’s very good with his kicks and knees, but if I can time that right it’s a takedown opportunity.”
As for his opponent, “Dudu” showed up to the post-fight press conference none the worse for wear. After dispatching Vila he had already turned his attention to “Fun Size.”
“It was a dream of mine to win this tournament. I said in the beginning that I was going to win. Another dream of mine is to win the belt. I’m looking forward to this fight with Zach. I’m not going to disappoint. I just can’t wait to get back in there. Zach’s a really great champion but I’m going to come in and take the belt,” Dantas said.