Bellator bantamweight tournament winner and title challenger Rafael Silva suffered a knee injury and has been forced out of his bantamweight title fight against champion, Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 111 on March 7th, 2014.
His replacement will be the other bantamweight tournament finalist in the Bellator 2013 Summer Series, Anthony Leone (13-6). Leone went 3-0 in his most recent Bellator stint—with wins over Claudio Ledesma, former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky, and Frank Baca—before losing a unanimous decision to Silva in the tournament finals. The Team Bombsquad member had previously competed in Bellator at featherweight on two separate occasions—losing to Georgi Karakhanyan at Bellator 28 and Jeff Lentz at Bellator 44.
However, Leone wasn’t the first option Bellator looked for as a replacement for Silva, the Bellator Season 9 Batamweight tournament winner was the first to get the call, but unfortunately he too had suffered a knee injury and would be unable to fight on March 7th.
“This was a difficult process with Silva suffering injury, but when we considered all our options, we felt like this decision made the most sense,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said.
Champion Eduardo Dantas (15-3) will be looking to defend his bantamweight title for a 2nd time after capturing it with a submission win over Zach Makovsky and defending it against good friend and teammate Marcos Galvao. Dantas is currently undefeated in Bellator, winning all 5 of his fights.
Bellator 111 also features the quarterfinals of the heavyweight tournament, the full fight card can be found below:
Bantamweight Title Fight: Eduardo Dantas (15-3) vs. Anthony Leone (13-6)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Ryan Martinez (10-3) vs. Lavar Johnson (17-8)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Peter Graham (9-6) vs. Mighty Mo (5-2)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Alexander Volkov (19-4) vs. Mark Holata (12-4)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Blagoi Ivanov (9-0) vs. Rich Hale (21-6)
Middleweight Feature Fight: Daniel Miller (4-1) vs. Cortez Coleman (9-5)
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Javy Ayala (6-3) vs. Eric Prindle (8-4)
Catchweight Feature Fight (190 lbs): Emeliano Sordi (12-4) vs. Matt Jones (4-6)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Brent Primus (4-0) vs. Chris Jones (8-2)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Treston Thomison (7-1) vs. Stephen Banaszak (2-1)