Bellator continued its 10th season with Bellator 111, live from Oklahoma. The card had a title fight, as well as four heavyweight tournament fights.
In two rounds of action, Eduardo Dantas was able to defend his bantamweight title against Anthony Leone with an early candidate for Submission of the Year.
After spending most of the first round on his back, Dantas was able to open up with his hands more in the second. He started to score more and turn the tide of the fight.
Damn, those Nova Uniao guys can dance. (Dantas retains his belt via RNC. iPhone auto-corrected his name to fantastic. Fits.)— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 8, 2014
Then it happened. During a crazy scramble, Dantas used his quickness and flexibility to turn a potential Leone takedown into a back mount with one of Leone's arms trapped. He quickly sunk in a rear-naked choke, earning the tap and effectively keeping his belt.
For Leone, this fight was on short notice for Rafael Silva, so it doesn't completely hurt his stock. However, he is now on a two-fight skid.
As for Dantas, this win solidified him as one of the best bantamweights not in the UFC, along with Marlon Moraes and Bibiano Fernandes. It also represents his second defense of the bantamweight title.
Outside the main event, four men advanced in the Bellator heavyweight tournament.
In the co-main event, Lavar Johnson overcame a rough start against Ryan Martinez to score a late knockout in the first round. Martinez secured the takedown early and dropped heavy punches, but Johnson got back upright and uncorked some haymakers. He eventually caught Martinez and finished him on the ground.
Johnson will now fight Blagoi Ivanov in the semifinals, who worked his way past Rich Hale on the prelims. Ivanov used a combination of power punches and heavy top control to earn a judges' decision.
On the other side of the bracket, former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov took a step back toward the title picture with a knockout of Mark Holata. The bout lasted under one round, as Volkov caught Holata in the clinch with a punch and finished him on the ground.
Volkov will now meet Mighty Mo, who earned a surprising submission win against fellow striker Peter Graham. The win was a comeback for Mo, who was thoroughly outstruck for two rounds before scoring the unlikely head-and-arm choke.
Here are the full-card results.
Eduardo Dantas def. Anthony Leone via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:04 of Round 2
Lavar Johnson def. Ryan Martinez via TKO (punches) at 4:22 of Round 1
Mighty Mo def. Peter Graham via submission (head-and-arm choke) at 2:31 of Round 3
Alexander Volkov def. Mark Holata via TKO (punches) at 1:21 of Round 1
Blagoi Ivanov def. Rich Hale via unanimous decision
Cortez Coleman def. Daniel Miller via submission (verbal tap to strikes) at 4:49 of Round 2
Javy Ayala def. Eric Prindle via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 2:05 of Round 3
Abdul Razak def. Matt Jones via TKO (punches) at 1:23 of Round 1
Brent Primus def. Chris Jones via TKO (punches) at 1:45 of Round 1
Chris Gutierrez def. Justin McNally via TKO (knee and punches) at 2:50 of Round 1