From the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Bellator 118 goes off tonight with a bantamweight battle between Joe Warren and Rafael Silva atop the card. Due to champion Eduardo Dantas' withdrawal, the headliner was originally intended to be for the interim bantamweight title, but that carrot will only be dangled for Warren as Silva missed weight yesterday.
Yesterday's weigh-in influenced the co-main event as well, as hometown favorite Sam Oropeza was unable to hit the mark. He'll be replaced by Justin Baesman, who will face Andrey Koreshkov in a Welterweight Tournament semifinal. Three undefeated prospects make up the remainder of the Spike TV card: two face each other in the Liam McGeary vs. Mike Mucitelli bout while bantamweight prospect Thomas Vasquez draws heavy-hitter Marcos Galvao. Up and comers also dot the preliminary card: English fighter Eugene Fadiora meets Tim Woods and Division 1 national champion Darrion Caldwell meets Joe Pingitore.
Play by play will commence with the Spike TV broadcast at 9:00 p.m. ET. For a primer, check out the Bellator 118 preview and predictions on this week's Vivisection.
*****Hi! We're live on Spike TV -- results descend below*****
BELLATOR 118: Warren vs. Silva
Rafael Silva vs. Joe Warren -- interim bantamweight championship
R1: Warren bum-rushes early with a body lock preceded by set-up strikes but Silva, shockingly, stuffs the attempt and puts Warren on his back with a body lock trip. Warren bullies his way back to his feet and snaps Silva down with the front head lock. Silva goes back to the body lock, eating a few rights hands during the transition. Warren pummels under for an underhook and uses it to peel Silva's arms away and land a clean knee to the body.
Warren ties on a tight guillotine in the follow-up clinch and Silva patiently fights his way out of the threatening attempt. Back on the feet, Warren gets caught with his hands down, eating an uppercut that dazes him. Silva pounces with double right hands and Warren hits a purely instinctual takedown to get out of trouble. Silva goes half butterfly to sweep, then swings a leg over for a triangle when he can't. Warren lands a right hand and smears his forearm across Silva's face. 10-9 Silva for the wobbling flurry.
R2: Silva stays long with his strikes to start, pumping a jab and sighting in his right cross. Warren's on him 30 seconds in with a takedown but Silva stands back up unscathed at 4:00. Spinning roundhouse kick lands to the midsection for Silva, as does his follow-up right cross. No set up on Warren's takedown attempt, which Silva stuffs easily. Short uppercut for Silva. Warren gets Silva down, but only for an instant.
Another retreating uppercut connects for Silva. And another. Silva shucks off another takedown and then barely blocks the flying knee Warren throws. Warren jams Silva's spinning kick and lands in the front head lock as Silva turtles. Warren spins to back control but Silva counters nicely with a takedown. Warren uses wrist control to stand momentarily but Silva puts him back down. Left-hook counter from Silva on Warren's jab. Warren shoots again and Silva hits another counter-takedown in what is an amazing display against the Greco-Roman standout. Warren closes the frame working on a single. 10-9 Silva.
R3: Warren plasters Silva with an overhand right that staggers him and tries to follow with a jumping roundhouse kick (seriously) that Silva blocks. Silva answers by snapping Warren's head back with a right hand but Warren finishes a takedown. Silva elevates the hips with butterfly guard but settles for full guard when Warren stabilizes. Silva swivels for an armbar but Warren recognizes it and shuts it down.
Warren cross-faces from the top and then turns it into a series or short forearm strikes. Silva dangerously keeps his guard closed with little hip activity. Silva turns for another armbar and readjusts to make it tighter but Warren has enough posture to slip his head and arm out of danger. Hard elbows to the body from Warren on top. Commentator Jimmy Smith opines that Silva is "taking a break" and it's hard to disagree. 10-9 Warren.
R4: Warren drives Silva into the fence and finishes a single, then picks the ankle to prevent the cagewalk. Silva kicks his legs free and stands back up at 4:20. Silva changes levels and gets Warren down but it's not for long due to Warren's wrist control and underhook. Silva stops the next takedown attempt and lands a short knee. Warren gathers himself for a power double leg and completes it emphatically.
Warren slips around to Silva's back during his escape attempt and gets one hook in. In the fight for the second hook, Warren cleverly rolls into mount but Silva just shoves his hips off and they restart standing. Warren's on him quickly again, looking for a high-crotch takedown. Silva defends and tries to hit a switch but Warren fends it off. Silva, possibly winded, stays after a double leg on the fence. Warren leans over and nearly slams Silva with a top-side body lock. 10-9 Warren.
R5: They tie up and Warren slips behind in the rear waist cinch, then hops onto Silva's back. Silva turns into the fence to shake him off but Warren is virtually adhered to prevent a full escape. Warren takes standing back control with one hook in, then goes back to the waist cinch and bombs an illegal knee to Silva's head when he had both hands down. The ref pauses the action and brings Silva to his corner to translate.
They restart, Warren apologizes on the glove touch, then punches Silva in the face. Warren goes right back to the clinch and immediately gets the rear waist cinch again. After a short struggle, Warren hits a throw and lands in high half guard with Silva's head on the fence. Left hands from Warren, who's looking to pass to mount. More tight-range ground and pound from Warren on top. Short elbows now from Warren, who's en route to pulling off a comeback after being down the first two rounds. 10-9 Warren for a 48-47 his way by my tally.
Joe Warren defeats Rafael Silva by unanimous decision (48-47 x 3), becoming the Bellator Interim Bantamweight Champion
R1: They trade leg kicks to start. Another from Koreshkov, then a spinning roundhouse kick. Koreshkov fakes low and comes high with a right, then hacks away with another hard low kick. Koreshkov has a high kick blocked, then just misses on another spinning roundhouse kick, but digs deep to the body with a left hook and pulls the curtains with a perfectly placed flying knee to the chin.
- Andrey Koreshkov defeats Justin Baesman by KO (flying knee), Round 1
R1: Galvao walks Vasquez down and unbolts his signature left-right set of haymakers to counter Vasquez's opening combo. Good head movement by Vasquez on the exchange. Sharp outside low kick from Vasquez. Galvao drives into Vasquez into the fence and hits a half-slam takedown with the body lock. Vasquez gets good head and wrist control to manage Galvao's posture, then rolls onto his knees. Galvao threads his arm through in D'arce position from the front head lock but Vasquez stands up, then separates.
Vasquez switches to southpaw and swats Galvao with double left hands. Galvao counters the next flurry by snatching the double collar tie and landing a body to the knee, then he hits a nice hip throw from the clinch. Vasquez is slippery and escapes again, quickly this time, and turns the tables with a body lock takedown of his own. Galvao pops back up. Galvao goes to the double collar tie and knees before transitioning to another takedown again. Vasquez defends well and angles into foot-lock position as the bell sounds. 10-10 for a comparable level of effective offense; I gave the striking edge to Vasquez but it was close and Galvao's takedowns balanced it.
R2: More changes of stance and quick flurries from Vasquez, though he's yet to connect with anything memorable. Vasquez lands a short left whilst dodging a meatball from Galvao. "Loro" slices into the clinch to land another body lock takedown. Vasquez uses butterfly guard to wiggle back to the fence in order to cage walk back up to his feet. Vasquez stays connected and pursues a single leg but Galvao hits a counter-takedown.
Top strikes have been few and far between from Galvao but he gets a little busier now. Galvao flattens Vasquez out, forcing him to close his guard. Vasquez swivels for an armbar, Galvao defends and lands two rights to the ribs. Vasquez works back to his feet and eats a few knees to the body before the bell. 10-9 Galvao.
R3: Vasquez capitalizes on 90 seconds of a takedown-free environment and uses movement and angles to find the holes in Galvao's wide striking style. Galvao gets the body lock takedown but quickly transitions to back control this time and cinches on a body triangle. Galvao fishes for the mata leao but Vasquez spends the next two minutes hand-fighting the choke and working an escape. Galvao stays glued to him with the body triangle and alternates between strikes and choke attempts.
Vasquez spins out with 25 seconds left and slams down a huge left hand after dodging a few up-kicks. Galvao spikes a series of hard elbows to the head from his guard. 10-9 Galvao for a 30-28 his way on my card.
- Marcos Galvao defeats Thomas Vasquez by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
R1: McGeary vaults out with a one-two and a kick, gets double-legged by Mucitelli but instantaneously rolls out of it. They reset and McGeary unfurls a low-flying left hook that immediately pulls Mucitelli's plug, and the undefeated Brit adds a dash of panache by making it a walk-away KO.
- Liam McGeary defeats Mike Mucitelli by KO (left hook), Round 1
Bellator 118 Prelims
Dante Rivera defeats Gemiyale Adkins by majority decision (29-29, 30-27 x 2)
Jesus Martinez defeats Ryan Contaldi by unanimous decision (30-26 x 3)
Tim Woods defeats Eugene Fadiora by unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Darrion Caldwell defeats Joe Pingitore by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1
Sidney Outlaw defeats Mike Bannon
Kevin Roddy defeats Amran Aliyev by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Lester Caslow defeats Jay Haas