All the cool kids will be talking shop here on Bloody Elbow tonight for live results and play-by-play of Bellator 65. The show is headlined by bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky defending the strap against last year's tournament overlord Eduardo Dantas and starts at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2 and EPIX in HD.
Rounding out the card is a pair of bantamweight quarterfinals for the 2012 tournament, both featuring world-ranked talent. Alexis Vila, who knocked out Joe Warren but lost to Dantas in the last year's finals, draws Renovacao Fight Team's Luis Nogueira. Ed West, whom Dantas also defeated in the semis, faces Marcos Galvao of Nova Uniao, who dropped a razor-thin split decision to Vila last year. "Betao" Nogueira was knocked out early by West in the 2011 tournament, but the match was another closely contested split decision.
Zach Makovsky vs Eduardo Dantas (Bellator bantamweight championship bout)
R1: Dantas is crouched low in anticipation of Makovsky's shot, and just misses with a short knee as the champ comes in. Dantas hammers a high kick through Makovsky's defense that still wobbles him. Charging 3-piece from Makovsky is dodged. Dantas rolls out another crushing high kick and Makovsky gets the takedown. Dantas beautifully spins into an omoplata but Makovsky escapes nicely back into guard. More submission attempts follow, as Dantas again swings his leg over into omoplata position. Makovsky escapes again and lands his first punch, but Dantas slips out and we're back standing with just less than 2 on the clock.
Makovsky hesitant on the feet with Dantas stalking and threatening to plunge a spearing knee. Another high kick from Dantas and Makovsky is being driven backwards. Makovsky gets a single but Dantas immediately reverses back to the feet for more kicks. 10-9 Dantas for more effective striking and grappling.
R2: Stomp kick from Dantas to open the second. Makovsky has his high kick deflected. Dantas unloads a combination, Makovsky shoots and Dantas hits a sweet switch and goes right to knee on belly, then full mount. Makovsky scrambles and Dantas settles for side control, then Makovsky regains guard. Dantas pins the left arm tries to pass but Makovsky is feisty off his back, so Dantas postures up and pounds.
The champ isn't digging it and tries to spin out but ends up getting mounted again and eating big punches. Makovsky swivels to plant his feet on the fence but Dantas bumps him away from it and jumps into a side choke. Makovsky goes limp and Eduardo Dantas becomes the new bantamweight champion by 2nd round submission (arm triangle).
R1: Straus knocks Corey flat with a crisp one-two from southpaw. Corey regains his wits and his footing and they reset, but Straus clocks him again and clinches up against the fence. Corey circles off to change position and Straus follows suit. They break hurling leather. Cracking low kick lands from Straus, who barely blocks a Corey high kick. Straus unreels two punches, a head kick and closes the sequence with a takedown attempt. Oddly enough, a ringside mic catches a strong current of flatulence and the commentary team embarrassingly explains it.
Moving on, Straus finds the mark with another inside low kick and straight left. Straus wheels out a high kick and loses his footing but is instantly back up. Corey throws the spinning back fist but swallows a straight left when it whiffs. Straus touching up Corey with straight punches at will. 10-9 Straus for clearly out-striking Corey.
R2: Corey's nose is banged up to start the second. Corey scores a takedown on the wrestler and Straus turtles and digs for a single of his own. The referee unnecessarily steps in to restart them. Step-in hook from Straus, low kick by Corey. Straus is too artful for Corey on the feet halfway through. They clinch, Corey spikes a short knee and Straus can't complete the Harai Goshi. Corey picks up the pace with consecutive combinations and puts Straus on the fence with double underhooks. Straus gets the whizzer just in time to defend a takedown and the clinch brawl continues. Straus circles off and they separate, where Corey sneaks in two hooks; Straus responds with his left and gets standing back mount just as the round expires. 10-9 Straus for the more effective striking.
R3: Straus unfurling lefts to start the third, then trying to run the pipe with a high crotch. Corey defends well and spins Straus onto the fence, though he's bleeding steadily from the face. Straus gets the rear waist cinch and fires knees to the hamstrings while Corey fights for wrist control. He's able to peel off and they take the center of the cage at the middle mark of the round. Straus' pace has slowed and Corey is more competitive on the feet. Just as I typed that, he eats a rugged left from Straus, then another.
Corey shoots a deep double and slips behind Straus pursuing a belly to back suplex, but Straus breaks his grip to escape. Corey now has Straus backed against the fence with a stream of punches. Straus looks to have spit out his mouthpiece, which has to be a sign of fatigue. The ref mans up and jumps in between the competitors while they're unloading as the bell sounds. 10-9 Corey in a nice comeback round. I have it 29-28 Straus as we await the official decision.
One judges sees it 30-27 while the other two have it 29-28 for Daniel Straus, who defeats Mike Corey by unanimous decision.
R1: Vila, looking massive for a bantamweight, has a high kick blocked. The pair feel each other out for a slow first minute. Inside low kick from Betao. Vila shoots a double and quickly switches to a single on Betao's sprawl, but the Brazilian stuffs it. Both narrowly miss on big shots. Vila finds the mark with a sweeping left hook and is establishing himself as the aggressor. Stiff left from Vila, then another. Betao counters with a right-left combo on his third. Consecutive Vila high kicks are blocked and Betao turns it on with a strong combo and flying knee that don't land, but back Vila up. Right hook and right high kick sequence from Betao, then an inside kick to start changing the tide.
Surprisingly, Betao gets a takedown on the former Olympian medalist in wrestling and scoots around to his back with the rear-waist cinch. In the closing seconds, Betao elevates Vila and completes a takedown. Despite the late round success, neither demonstrably won effective striking and/or grappling. 10-10.
R2: Betao busy cutting angles in the second. Vila unfurls two straight, stiff punches, then drops level for a single that only keeps Betao down for a second or two. Moments later, Vila shoots again and gets it, this time containing Betao against the fence. Betao takes a knee and uses strong-side wrist control on Vila to stand up. Betao more active now with quick hands and a roundhouse kick but they're dodged. Betao now counters successfully on a Vila kick as the Cuban's defensive motion has slowed.
Vila gets halfway into a high single but Betao spins into a leg lock with blinding quickness, and they break and restart on the feet. Another close round, but I'm going 10-9 Vila for the slightly more effective striking and Betao's complacency.
R3: Vila scores an inside kick and evades more blows from Betao. Betao answers with a low kick. Nice 3-punch combo from Betao, who then stuffs a Vila takedown. Left hook counter from Betao, then a stiff right hook and a left straight. Vila now standing stationary with reduced output. Betao pushes him back with two charging combinations, then a third. Vila in serious retreat-mode now and just backpedaling from constant Betao combinations. All Betao with a minute and a half left.
Vila snares another single but Betao's takedown defense is on-point tonight. Betao clocks Vila with a wide right and holds his ground with big punches. Betao catches a Vila kick and threatens to ground him but Vila's balance is uncanny. Clear 10-9 for Betao, making the fight a draw (29-29) on my card.
The judges have it 29-28 for Luis "Betao" Noguiera, who defeats Alexis Vila by unanimous decision.
More results after the jump.
R1: The bantamweights open up trading leg kicks. West goes high with his kick but he's taken down by Galvao. West threatens with a guillotine and tries to use it to stand, but Galvao worms around and almost takes his back in the standing position. West breaks off the cage and the reset in the center. Galvao winging haymakers. Galvao catches West flush with an overhand meathook and pounces into his guard, but West seems to be recovering. West pegs an upkick that looks to land but Galvao capitalizes and passes to half guard. Galvao seeks out a D'arce from the top but West defends. West stands back up at the price of a stiff knee to the body from Galvao.
After circling off the fence to break Galvao's clinch, West flicks out a nice high kick that Galvao blocks. West clips off a nice one-two followed by a spinning back kick that whiffs. Galvao connects on a long one-two counter while West is unhinging a front snap kick at the bell. Nice recovery by West, but a clear 10-9 for Galvao.
R2: Galvao flailing huge punches again to kick off the second. The trade inside low kicks; West lands a glancing front kick. Galvao slows down to play the counter game and eats two outside low kicks. Galvao lands a nice duck-under takedown during a West combo and lands in a full closed guard. West cinching a guillotine but Galvao is calm and slips out, but West uses the space to take a knee and stand. Galvao hits an outside trip from the over-under clinch but West is immediately back to his feet and stomping Galvao's foot.
Galvao grabs the head and tries a high knee and West disengages to avoid it. Leaping knee from Galvao lands mildly and a clinch ensues. West circles off the fence and holds double-underhooks, then lets go to dirty box. Another low kick from Galvao, two West kicks are blocked and Galvao swings another monster his way. More kicks from West, all blocked. They exchange hard kicks as the bell sounds. West was busier but Galvao blocked everything well, so I'm calling that a 10-10 round for even offense.
R3: West leads with another high kick that seems to get through. Galvao clinches and looks for a trip, has to work for it but finally gets it. Galvao is hammering down punches and elbows to West's body with a high half guard. West spins for an armbar but Galvao coolly shakes it off and passes to side mount smoothly. Galvao spears a knee to the ribs from side mount, West tries to roll out and Galvao nearly takes his back, but West is back up. The separate from the clinch from another Galvao knee, who then taps West with a right hand, then drops him with a big mother.
In guard, Galvao drops hammerfists while West tries to stay active. West rolls backwards to escape and they clinch on the fence. We have a slight pause as they recollect in the clinch. Galvao can't get the trip and West lands a short knee. They close this round like the others -- trading sharp combinations. I have that a clear 10-9 for Galvao for the knockdown, making my overall score 30-28 for Marcos Galvao.
The judges score the fight 30-27 for Marcos Galvao, who defeats Ed West by unanimous decision.