The UFC's stranglehold on the market has overshadowed another rock-solid offering from the Bellator promotion. Precariously aligned head to head with the UFC 135 clamor last weekend, Bellator 51 rolled out the 2011 Bantamweight Tournament with exciting results.
Joe Warren, the top ranked featherweight champion, entered the 135-pound brackets, endeavoring to carve through the tournament for an opportunity to add Zach Makovsky's belt to his collection. Instead, former Cuban Olympic wrestler and undefeated American Top Team fighter Alexis Vila walked his scathing pre-fight talk by flattening Warren with a first round knockout (highlights below).
Preceding the headliner, Eduardo Dantas chalked up the first jaw-dropping finish of the broadcast with a vicious flying knee on Wilson Reis. The pair tangled to a back and forth stalemate in the first frame, which could have been scored for either fighter, but "Dudu" clenched an electrifying win with his violent outburst early in the second (second video below).
Perpetually under-rated Nova Uniao bantamweight Marcos Galvao also advanced by defeating former WEC champion Chase Beebe by split-decision in a three round dogfight. "Louro", who nearly upset Warren in a controversial decision at Bellator 41, laid into Beebe early with a takedown and immediate back control. Though his pace slowed a little in the third round, he cracked Beebe with low kicks and stiff punches throughout a contest that wasn't as close as the split decision would have you believe.
Another series of questionable scores were turned in for the Luis Alberto Noguiera versus Ed West fight. "Betao" is a fiercely aggressive gamer who camped out on the fringe of striking range and showered West with a litany of strikes. Flying knees, hooks to the body and high velocity kicks were delivered by Nogueira, but West showed fervent determination in weathering the storm to snare a unanimous decision. The action was undoubtedly evenly contested but I scored the first two for Nogueira.
Recap videos of the two memorable finishes and full event results are posted after the break.
Bellator 51 Preliminary Card Results
- Joey Bernard Holt defeats Clint Musser by KO (Flying Knee) in Round One
- John Hawk defeats Allan Weickert by TKO (Retirement) in Round Two
- Dan Spohn defeats Dane Bonnigson by KO (Knee) in Round One
- Jessie Riggleman defeats Farkhad Sharipov by Split Decision
- Jessica Eye defeats Casey Noland by Split Decision
- Frank Caraballo defeats Dustin Kempf by TKO (Knee Injury) in Round One
Bellator 51 Bantamweight Tournament Results
- Ed West defeats Luis Alberto Nogueira by Unanimous Decision
- Marcos Galvao defeats Chase Beebe by Split Decision
- Eduardo Dantas defeats Wilson Reis by KO (Flying Knee and Punches) in Round Two
- Alexis Vila defeats Joe Warren by KO (Punch) in Round One
Video highlights via Bellator's Youtube Page