Paul Daley came up big at Bellator 223, battering a durable and resilient Erick Silva enroute to a dominant unanimous decision victory at London’s SSE Arena.
They heavy-handed Brit had Silva badly hurt and believes referee Mike Beltran could have easily stopped the fight, but Silva persevered and somehow made it to the final bell.
Speaking to reporters at a post-fight media scrum, ‘Semtex’ credited Silva for his toughness but believes the fight should have been stopped.
“I like Mikey Beltran,” Daley said, per MMA Junkie’s Simon Head and Abbey Subhan. “When he came to the dressing room and said he was going to ref the fight, I was like, ‘Thank you!’ because I know he likes a tear-up. He likes a good fight, so I was like, ‘Yeah. This is going to be interesting.’ But I thought he would have stopped the fight, the way (Silva) went to the ground and I was on him, hitting him with big, big shots.
“Credit to Erick Silva; he recovered well, and I don’t know where it came from, because all his other fights where he’s been stopped, it’s been one punch, two punches, and he sort of just gives up. But I was hitting him with horrible shots, to the head, to the chin, to the body, front kick to the face, spinning elbows, all kinds of (expletive), and he just wouldn’t quit.”
As for what’s next, Daley had promised a rematch with Lorenz Larkin following his highlight reel knockout of the former UFC welterweight contender at Bellator 183.
“I promised him backstage. He was practically in tears when he came to the changing room – and not to embarrass him, but to show you why – I said ‘Look, I’ll give you the rematch.’
“And I’d like to be a man of honor and honor that. I think he won his last fight, so if it was interesting and Bellator thought it was interesting. … I wouldn’t feel bad about giving him the rematch, because I said I would.”
Larkin, 32, rebounded from the Daley loss with two straight wins over Fernando Gonzalez and Ion Pascu at Bellator 193 and Bellator 207. ‘The Monsoon’ was scheduled to headline Bellator 220 opposite Andrey Koreshkov but was forced to pull out of the bout due to injury.