At just 23 years old, Eduardo Dantas now sits as Bellator Bantamweight Champion after a dominant second round submission win over Zach Makovsky at Bellator 65. Based on his performance, it might be a while before he loses his new piece of hardware.
Aggressive early, Dantas used his right leg to tenderize Makovsky's side and even when the now ex-champ took him down, Dantas worked for his own submissions and used his physical advantages to control him. He went into the fight with a six inch reach advantage and used it, setting up a head/arm triangle that put Makovsky to sleep.
With the win, Dantas (14-2) extends a seven fight win streak and in winning last year's tournament, has essentially already defeated most of the top 135'ers Bellator has to offer. There are some interesting possibilities (Marcos Galvao stands out), but if Dantas continues to improve at this pace, his next challenger will have all they can handle.
For more on the rest of the card, Makovsky's future and video from the show, join us after the jump.
For Makovsky, the defeat snapped an eight fight win streak compiled over a busy two years. The fight against Dantas was the first defense of the strap he won in October 2010, exposing a flaw in the tournament system that the promotion has looked to rectify this year. At just 5'4", he's ideally built for 125 pounds and depending on his contract status, he could be worth a longshot look for a certain large promotion looking to build up their flyweight division.
Speaking of the bantamweights...
On Saturday's undercard, Galvao (11-5-1) picked up a unanimous decision win over tourney veteran Ed West, while Luis Nogueira (13-2) defeated last year's finalist Alexis Vila by unanimous decision to advance into the 135-pound semifinals. The two join Travis Marx and Hiroshi Nakamura in the final four with the next bouts expected for mid-May.
Featherweight finale is set
Daniel Straus (19-4) beat up Mike Corey over three rounds to earn a unanimous decision win and advance to the featherweight tournament finals against Marlon Sandro. This will be his second straight final, losing last May to Patricio Freire by unanimous decision. Sandro (22-3) is also a former finalist, losing to eventual winner and current champion Pat Curran last summer. With the back stories of both men and what's at stake, this has the promise to be a rather fun fight.
The next welterweight tourney
While this year's welterweight tournament presses on, next season's tournament is already coming together. On Saturday, former champion Lyman Good needed just 13 seconds to knock out LeVon Maynard, while former TUF finalist Kris McCray earned his way in with a split decision win over Ailton Barbosa. McCray (8-3) was cut after three straight UFC losses, but has won his last three.