Eduardo Dantas retained his title in spectacular fashion at Bellator 111.| Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Anthony Leone was not the man to dethrone Bellator MMA bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas.
In a clear frontrunner for “Submission of the Year,” the gifted Dantas tapped Leone with a sublime second-round rear-naked choke and retained his 135-pound crown in the Bellator 111 main event on Friday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. A replacement for the injured Rafael Silva, Leone (13-7, 3-4 Bellator) conceded defeat 2:04 into round two.
Dantas (16-3, 6-0 Bellator) spent much of the first round pinned to the canvas after being taken down inside the first minute. Leone kept himself centered on the Brazilian’s hips and popped him with intermittent ground-and-pound. In the second round, Dantas piled up the points with a stiff jab and straight punching combinations. After a brief scramble, the Nova Uniao export countered an overzealous double-leg takedown attempt from Leone. In one fluid motion, with the American clinging to his ankles, Dantas slid to his kneeling challenger’s back from a standing position and locked in the rear-naked choke for the finish.
The 25-year-old Dantas has won nine of his past 10 bouts.
Semifinal-Bound Johnson Halts Skid
Ultimate Fighting Championship and Strikeforce veteran Lavar Johnson took out Ryan Martinez with a left hook behind the ear and follow-up ground strikes in the first round of their Season 10 heavyweight tournament quarterfinal. Johnson (18-8, 1-1 Bellator) drew the curtain 4:22 into round one.
Martinez (10-4, 3-3 Bellator) gained an upper hand inside the first minute, as he moved into clinch range and brought it to the floor with a beautiful lateral drop. From there, he unleashed his ground-and-pound with short but powerful punches and hammerfists.
Johnson weathered the onslaught and created the necessary space to return to an upright position. The 36-year-old Californian then let loose with wild haymakers, backed Martinez into the cage, drove him to the canvas with a left hook and closed it out with unfettered right hands.
Johnson -- who entered the cage on a three-fight losing streak -- has finished all 18 of his victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, 16 of them inside one round.
‘Mighty Mo’ Smothers, Submits Graham
Siala-Mou Siliga submitted Australian kickboxer Peter Graham with a third-round scarf hold in the Season 10 heavyweight tournament quarterfinals. “Mighty Mo” finished it 2:31 into round three, extending his current winning streak to three fights.
Graham (9-7, 1-2 Bellator) controlled much of the first 10 minutes with a barrage of savage kicks to the inside and outside of the Samoan’s lead leg. His movement compromised by the punishment he had absorbed, Siliga (6-2, 3-0 Bellator) countered with a pair of takedowns in the second round, providing a glimpse of what was to come.
In the third, the 43-year-old delivered another takedown, moved to side control and locked down the fight-ending submission.
Volkov Blasts Overmatched Holata
Former champion Alexander Volkov dismissed Mark Holata with close-quarters punches and follow-up ground-and-pound in the first round of their Season 10 heavyweight tournament quarterfinal. Holata (12-5, 3-3 Bellator) wilted 1:21 into round one.
Volkov (20-4, 4-1 Bellator) withstood an early rush from the Oklahoman and settled into the clinch, his back to the cage. There, he uncorked a volley of knee strikes to the body, followed by a series of short lefts that drove Holata to the canvas. Volkov then pounced on his fallen prey, finishing it with unanswered blows from the top. The 25-year-old Russian has won 11 of his last 12 bouts.
Ivanov Outpoints Hale, Moves Into Semifinals
In preliminary action, 2008 combat sambo world champion Blagoi Ivanov (10-0, 5-0 Bellator) captured a unanimous decision over Rich Hale (21-7-1, 6-4 Bellator) in the Season 10 heavyweight tournament quarterfinals, sweeping the cards with 29-28 scores across the board; Cortez Coleman (10-5, 2-2 Bellator) struck Daniel Miller (4-3, 0-1 Bellator) into verbal submission 4:49 into the second round of their middleweight tilt; Javy Ayala (7-3, 2-0 Bellator) forced the cageside physician to call a halt to his heavyweight scrap with Eric Prindle (8-5, 3-4 Bellator) 2:05 into round three; Abdul Razak Alhassan (2-0, 1-0 Bellator) dispatched Matt Jones (4-7, 0-3 Bellator) with punches 1:23 into the first round of their 190-poind catchweight clash; Brent Primus (5-0, 3-0 Bellator) put away Chris Jones (8-3, 2-1 Bellator) with punches 1:45 into round one of their battle at 155 pounds; and Chris Gutierrez (2-1-1, 1-0 Bellator) wiped out Justin McNally (2-2, 2-1 Bellator) with a knee to the body and follow-up punches 2:50 into the first round of their bantamweight affair.