Season eight chugs along in Bellator, and tonight's Bellator 89 card emanates from The Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The opening round of the middleweight tournament will take up the bulk of tonight's main card, but the bout on top will be a Nova Uniao showdown for the Bellator bantamweight title when champion Eduardo Dantas meets teammate Marcos Galvao.
The prelims kick off at 8 p.m. ET, and the main card begins on Spike TV at 10 p.m. ET. You can catch the whole event at the stream below. Here's a look at the full card:
Marcos Galvao vs. Eduardo Dantas
Brian Rogers vs. Dan Cramer
Brett Cooper vs. Norman Paraisy
Andreas Spang vs. Doug Marshall
Sultan Aliev vs. Mikkel Parlo
Timothy Goodwin vs. Mike Maldonaldo
Chris Mierzwiak vs. Johnny Buck
Kyle Bolt vs. Joe Pacehco
Aaron Johnson vs. Brennan Ward
David Mejia vs. Mont McMullens
And a fine day to you sir!
We're live on Spike TV with a solid card on deck. The play-by-play and results will begin with the Middleweight Tournament quarterfinals and culminate with the main event.
Eduardo Dantas vs. Marcos Galvao
R1: Dantas cracks a low kick to the inner thigh as Galvao sights in the haymakers, but doesn't let 'em fly. Dantas snaps a jab and circles out, then scorches with a right low kick. Galvao answers with a right low kick of his own. Dantas goes to the body with the kick this time and Galvao can't catch it. Dantas doing a good job of staying out of Galvao's wheelhouse until Galvao lands a kick to the body and then pounces with a clinch that evolves into the rear waist cinch for Galvao.
He lifts Dantas up and hits the takedown but Dantas is instantly back afoot. Galvao pelts the hamstrings with short knees and tries to heave Dantas again, but the youngster stays upright with hand-fighting and good balance. Dantas finally peels the grip loose and they restart in the center. Dantas doubles up his jab and follows with a heavy 1-2-3 that lands hard, then connects with a left to the breadbox. Galvao answers with a left hook and two right hands. Galvao getting sloppy and Dantas playing the technician as the round time wanes. Galvao pops him with a stiff right hand just before the bell. Close one: Galvao landed with more power but less volume and didn't do anything with the cage control. 10-9 Dantas.
R2: Galvao chops with a right low kick. And another. Then a big right hand as Dantas dangerously stays in the pocket with him. Another low kick from Galvao. Superman punch from Dantas; Galvao answers with right-left meat-hooks. Dantas gets silly with 3-straight low kicks set up with a front kick. Dantas goes high with the kick and snaps Galvao's head back with it, pouncing with punches to his dropped teammate. Galvao recovers in a flash and they're back standing.
Dantas continuously finding the mark with his piston-like jab. Galvao is just flailing home-run hooks and might still be hurt from the head kick. Dantas smells blood now and wades in with a brisk uppercut that clips Galvao's chin, and "Louro" is out cold. An impressively mature and technical showing from the young champion.
Eduardo Dantas defeats Marcos Galvao by KO (uppercut), Round 2.
Brian Rogers vs. Dan Cramer
R1: They start a bit tentative with Cramer pawing with a jab. Rogers finally uncorks his signature 1-2 and Cramer answers with a right hand on his way into the clinch. Rogers hits a sweet lateral drop and ends up on top. Cramer reverses position and enjoys a brief moment of top control, and Rogers gets back to his feet but chews on some leather in the process. Cramer gets a strong body lock and hits another takedown; Rogers lands some strikes off his back and swivels for an armbar to force Cramer into disengaging.
Cramer looking to poke some power through the open holes in Rogers' defense, as "The Predator" is heavy on offense and light on defense. Rogers windmills a series of short hooks at phone booth range and Cramer stumbles but may have been poked in the eye. Rogers slips on a high kick and gets caught in a standing rear waist lock but breaks it and connects on an uppercut. 10-10 for no clear winner and mutually effective offense.
R2: Rogers' hips are too quick and strong on Cramer's takedown attempt and this counter is more of a smooth belly-to-belly suplex. Cramer's out and Rogers responds to his charging combination with a hard 1-2. Both men exchanging with heat. Rogers hits another takedown and showers some ground strikes. Now Cramer lands the takedown after Rogers lets him up and maintains top control for a bit but without significantly effective punches. Rogers squirts out and lets his hands go to close the stanza. 10-9 Rogers.
R3: Cramer seems to be slowing a bit and Rogers starts to find more rhythm with his punches. He gets the better of the first few exchanges but eats a stiff knee to the chin as Cramer locks horns with him. Rogers falls to his back and looks stunned, managing to control Cramer's posture a moment later and then spinning for a leg lock and escaping during the chaos.
Rogers blazes the guns with a kick, punches and a flying knee attempt. Cramer returns fire and they go ballistic on each other for a pleasantly violent outburst on both sides. Cramer springs for a double while Rogers is committed to a combo and gets it; both throw ground punches until the horn sounds. Excellent effort and display of heart from both competitors. Gotta go 10-9 Cramer for stunning him with the knee, resulting in the first draw I can remember scoring in some time (29-29 overall for me).
The judges have it 29-28 twice and 30-27 for Dan Cramer, who defeats Brian Rogers by unanimous decision.
*** The semifinal round of the Middleweight Tournament will pit Brett Cooper vs. Dan Cramer and Sultan Aliev vs. Doug Marshall.
Brett Cooper vs. Norman Paraisy
R1: They come out swinging: Cooper stays tight with a leg kick and uppercuts, Paraisy reels off straight punches, neither really surpassing the other. Cooper clinches up and nails a double leg but Paraisy scrambles back up to his feet. Cooper walks him down and hurls a right to the body, 2 punches high and then shoots again. Paraisy stuffs it and lands some rough knees to the body. Now Paraisy connects on a fast flurry but Cooper pushes him on the fence to defend.
Cooper gets a low base and slams Paraisy with a serious power double. They trade takedowns: Paraisy first and then Cooper after he escapes, and Cooper closes the frame on top with a few punches. 10-10 for relatively even offense -- Cooper's slam was the type to do damage and Paraisy had the slight edge on the feet.
R2: Cooper hammers Paraisy with a combination that drops him, but Paraisy's recovery is impressive and he's quickly back in the fight. Cooper scores another takedown and fires down much more meaningful ground-and-pound that Paraisy tries to squirm away from. Cooper slams a few left hands to the head and body to discourage Paraisy's escape attempt.
Paraisy finally manages to get back to his feet but Cooper smothers him on the fence and floors him with another double leg shortly after. Paraisy looks for a sweep from deep half guard; Cooper stuffs his head on the fence and bases down. Again, just as Paraisy regains his footing, Cooper lifts him up and dumps him with some serious force. Paraisy perseveres through the beating and actually hits a single leg just as the bell sounds. 10-8 for a one-sided beatdown and almost no offense from Paraisy.
R3: Cooper's confidence is off the charts and he starts the 3rd by bullying Paraisy with a few uppercuts followed by a takedown, and he makes it look easy. After a short spell of ground pummeling, Paraisy gets back to his feet only to be launched upward and crunched into the canvas with another double-leg slam. Mid-level ground strikes follow and then the cycle repeats until the frame closes. Pure domination again. 10-8 Cooper, for a 30-26 his way on my card.
But heaven's no with those icky 10-8 scores! We have to 10-9 score 10-9 everything 10-9. The judges have it 30-27 for Brett Cooper, who defeats Norman Paraisy by unanimous decision.
Doug Marshall vs. Andreas Spang
R1: Marshall presses early with low kicks and a heavy left hook. Spang cracks off a pair of tight combos to slow Marshall's stalking. Marshall lands a stiff right hand clean after breaking a short clinch. "The Rhino" stays on the trigger and plugs Spang with a short right that might've stunned him. Marshall flurries with Spang on the fence to no avail. Spang peels Marshall's arm away with strong wrist control and bombs a few knees to the body in the next clinch entanglement.
After a referee intervention, Marshall lets his hands go again and freezes Spang with a wild flurry, then unloads another barrage when Spang backs up in a straight line and closes the combo with an overhand right that turns Spang's lights out. Spang recovered a moment later but Marshall had already strolled away in "walk-away KO" fashion.
Doug Marshall defeats Andreas Spang by KO (punch), Round 1.