With Soto out of Tourney, Reis Meets Dantas at Bellator 51

By Colin Foster Aug 29, 2011
The second loss of Joe Soto’s professional career cost the former Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight titlist his spot in the promotion’s fifth-season bantamweight tournament.

Having been submitted by newly inked UFC fighter Eddie Yagin under the Tachi Palace Fights banner on Aug. 5, Soto will be replaced in the upcoming bracket by three-time Bellator featherweight semifinalist Wilson Reis.

Soto’s originally scheduled opponent, Shooto South American 132-pound champ Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas, on Monday confirmed to Sherdog.com that he will face Reis on Sept. 24 at Bellator 51 in Canton, Ohio. However, despite the change in opponent, Dantas is not expecting a drastically different fight.

“Reis is also a high-level fighter with pretty good jiu-jitsu and wrestling,” Dantas (Pictured) told Sherdog.com. “The only big difference is that he’s left-handed, but I’ve been working on every aspect of the fight against a lot of different guys at Nova Uniao.

“I want to face the best and I would love to fight Joe Soto, because he’s a former Bellator champion. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible because he lost two straight fights and the promotion cut him from the grand prix.”

Just as teammate Marlon Sandro met Genair da Silva in the company’s recent 145-pound quarterfinals, Dantas will meet a countryman in the 135-pound tourney’s opening round. The 22-year-old prospect admitted that he was taken aback when Bellator officials informed him of the change in opponents, but added that it has not changed his desire to win in his stateside debut.

“Facing a Brazilian doesn’t change much,” Dantas opined. “It’s what we do for work and we’re subject to this. I met Wilson in the U.S. and he’s a great guy, as is his brother. I was surprised when I learned he was stepping in for Soto, but that’s part of our career.”

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