Bellator 118 underwent a couple of major changes before the card was set to take place on Friday, at the Revel Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The first of which included a change to the main event, as Bellator Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas pulled out with a head injury a week before he was set to take on challenger Joe Warren. And in came season 8 summer series tournament winner, Rafael Silva to replace Dantas, and fight Joe Warren for the now interim-bantamweight title.
However, taking the fight on a weeks notice, Rafael Silva failed to make weight, coming in nearly 2lbs over the 135lb allowed weight limit for a bantamweight title fight. Thus, a rule was placed into effect stating that the Bellator interim-bantamweight title could only be won by Joe Warren–if he were to defeat Rafael Silva. But the opposite would not be for Silva, if he won then he would not be granted the title.
The Baddest Man on the Planet becomes Bellator’s first to win a title in two different weight classes
Rafael Silva (21-3) came into this fight on a 13-fight win streak, ironically the same amount of fights that Joe Warren (10-3) has had in his career. Rafael Silva went right after the takedown, securing a body lock and dragging the former wrestling world champion to the mat. Silva took Warren’s back as he attempted to get back to his feet. Warren scrambled to get back up to his feet, stuffing the next few takedown attempts of Silva, and getting on top position. Back on the feet, Rafael Silva landed a clean uppercut that momentarily rocked Joe Warren. Warren used a takedown to get on top and recover, ending a high paced 1st round.
Coming out in round 2, Warren used a few short strikes to help set up his shots, landing a couple takedowns. But Silva easily scrambled to get back up to his feet, proving to be a tough fighter to keep down. On the feet, Silva’s range and diverse striking allowed him to out strike Joe Warren. Midway through the round the exertion of energy seemed to take a toll on Joe Warren as he began to slow down.
Warren’s wrestling game plan was finally executed in the 3rd round, with a double leg putting Rafael Silva on the mat, this time he would stay there as Warren remained in top position for the round. The tide continued to turn in Warren’s favour in the 4th, as the weight cut may have had an affect on Rafael Silva, starting to breathe heavy as a result of having to carry Joe Warren’s weight for long periods of time.
Warren grabbed a hold of Rafael Silva’s back and jumped onto secure back control. An illegal knee was landed by Joe Warren with Silva’s had on the mat, that put a momentary pause to the action, when it resumed it was more of the game, dominant top control from Warren.
Rafael Silva started off strong, winning the first two rounds, but faded during the final 3, as Warren kept up the pressure and takedown attempts, which eventually paid dividends. Joe Warren was award the unanimous decision: 3 rounds to 2 from the judges, winning the interim Bellator Bantamweight championship. And “The Baddest Man on the Planet” becomes the first fighter in Bellator to win a title in two different weight classes.
“I thought I was going to get finished, he [Silva] showed more heart that I’ve ever seen in this cage. So proud of myself, I don’t even know what to say,” Warren said.
“I’m so thankful to get another belt in here, and I’ll keep it for as long as I can.”
But there was more weight cutting troubles, as welterweight semifinalist Sam Oropeza failed to make the 171 lb limit to qualify for the semifinal fight against Andrey Koreshkov (15-1), and as a result, replacement Justin Baesman (14-4-1) took his place in the tournament. The two fighters competed in the co-main event to see who would meet Adam McDonough in the finals of the welterweight tournament.
Andrey Koreshkov lands a flying knee knockout to earn a spot in the tournament finals
Both fighters came out looking to trade, with Koreshkov quickly getting the better of the exchanges. Quick to the punch, Koreshkov landed a body shot that hurt Baesman and forced him to back up against the cage. That is when Andrey Koreshkov threw a flying knee that landed right on the button to knockout Justin Baesman.
Koreshkov, the former tournament winner, is headed back to the finals to face Adam McDonough.
“I’m very happy to be in the finals, and that I didn’t disappoint my coaches,” Koreshkov said.
“I did everything my coach told me, so I heard him tell me to go to the body, and it worked out well.”
Marcos Galvao outclasses the debuting Thomas Vasquez over 3 rounds
Former bantamweight tournament winner Marcos Galvao (15-6-1) took on the undefeated and debuting Thomas Vasquez (7-0) in a 137lb catchweight bout. Galvao patiently close the distance between him and Vasquez before clinching a body lock and taking his opponent to the mat. Vasquez would prove to be a tough guy to keep down as he kept scrambling back up to his feet, while Galvao continued to land throws and trip takedowns. Galvao continued to land multiple takedowns in round 2, and Thomas Vasquez kept an active guard from the bottom to prevent Galvao from landing any punches or advancing position. The fighters exchanged briefly on the feet in the 3rd, before Galvao shot for a takedown and quickly transitioned standing to the back of Vasquez. Securing back mount with a body triangle, Galvao continued to go for the rear naked but to no avail.
Marcos Galvao outclassed his opponent, winning all facets of the fight, and was rewarded the judges unanimous decision.
Liam McGeary lands a one punch knockout in 22 seconds
Bellator kicked off its summer series early this year, beginning with the opening round of their 8-man light heavyweight tournament, as undefeated fighters, Liam McGeary (6-0) and Mike Mucitelli (6-0) met in the 1st tournament bout.
Liam McGeary took all of 22 seconds, as he caught Mucitelli coming in with a jab, threw a counter left hook to land a 1-punch walk away knockout. Handing Mucitelli his first career loss, and improving to 4-0 in Bellator.
“I feel awesome, I’m just ready to carry on. 1 down, 2 to go,” McGeary said. “I just saw that his hand was dropping a little bit as he came in, and i just winged that left hook.”
In the final prelim, Gemiyale Adkins (8-6) took on Dante Rivera (15-7) and the story of the fight was takedowns and control. Rivera used a trip takedown on Adkins in the 1st, Adkins would eventually scramble back up to his feet only to have Rivera take him back down to the mat. Adkin’s strength and balance allowed him to reverse another of Rivera’s takedown attempts from the clinch. Utilizing the body lock once again, Rivera took down and mounted Adkins in the 2nd round, but would give up his position going for an armbar. Round 3 was spent against the cage, both fighters jockeying for position in the clinch, a real stalemate. In the end the 2 of the 3 judges felt Dante Rivera edged out each round to earn the decision.
Jesus Martinez (8-5) was able to secure his first win in the Bellator cage, in his 3rd attempt, against Ryan Contaldi (7-7-1). Martinez defended the early takedown attempt of Contaldi, attempted to take his back in the process, but got too high up and was stuck against the cage when Contaldi stacked him up. Few strikes landed in the 1st–all by Martinez, Contaldi pressured Martinez against the cage in the clinch. Martinez successfully got Contaldi to the ground and in crucifix position with Contaldi on all fours. Jesus Martinez remained in that position for the entirety of round 2, landing soft punches and attempting a rear naked choke. Martinez kept the fight standing in round 3, and had a clear advantage, landing punches and kicks at a slowed pace, at one point dropping Contaldi with a left hook. And took the unanimous decision win.
Eugene Fadiora (13-1), a up and coming British prospect, at 25 years old, unfortunately did not look like it in this fight. Fadiora stayed outside range on the feet against Timothy Woods (6-4), which allowed the taller Woods to land leg kicks with his longer reach. Fadiora initiated a clinch, which Woods would reverse into a takedown to end round 1. Fadiora attempted to take the fight to the mat to start round 2, but Woods popped right back up. Woods continued to pick Fadiora apart with leg kicks, which Eugene failed to check. Fadiora was still unable to mount any offense on the feet against Woods, becoming more hesitant in round 3 as he was unable to close the distance. Woods leg kicked his way to a unanimous decision victory.
NCAA D1 National Wrestling Champion, Darrion Caldwell (4-0) wasted no time improving to 5-0, taking down Joe Pingitore (4-1), went for a kimura attempt, switched to take the back of Pingitore, securing the rear naked choke for the tap in just over 1 minute. Beautiful transition.
In a rematch from Bellator 109, Lester Caslow (11-9) took down Jay Haas (11-13) and worked towards taking his back. Lester Caslow would once again submit Jay Haas–this time in the 1st round–jumping guard and locking in a guillotine choke. Haas’ 13th career loss by submission.
Sidney Outlaw (2-0) got the takedown right away on Mike Bannon (5-1), a scramble would ensue but Outlaw ended up on top in Bannon’s guard where he remained for the remainder of round 1. Round 2 began the same way as the first, with Outlaw ducking under Bannon’s punch to shoot a double leg takedown. Outlaw risked position to get the back of Mike Bannon, but would continue to wind up in top position. Outlaw decided to switch things up in round 3, showing off his boxing with jabs and 1-2 combinations. Sidney Outlaw cruised to a unanimous decision, improving to an undefeated 3-0.
In the card’s opener, Amran Aliyev (3-2) loaded up on his shots, landing heavy uppercuts, hooks, and a headkick that dropped Kevin Roddy (14-15) early on. Roddy became the busier fighter in round 2, opening up in the stand up, as Aliyev’s pace slowed. Kevin Roddy continued to pressure Aliyev in the 3rd, eventually landing a takedown on route to a unanimous decision victory.
Bellator 118 Quick Results:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET)
Interim Bantamweight Title: Joe Warren def. Rafael Silva via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Welterweight Tournament Semifinals: Andrey Koreshkov def. Justin Baesman via Knockout (flying knee)–Round 1, 1:41
137lb catchweight bout: Marcos Galvao def. Thomas Vasquez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Summer Series Light Heavyweight tournament opening round: Liam McGeary def. Mike Mucitelli via Knockout (punch)–Round 1, 0:22
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Dante Rivera def. Gemiyale Adkins via Majority Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
187lb catchweight bout: Jesus Martinez def. Ryan Contaldi via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Timothy Woods def. Eugene Fadiora via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Darrion Caldwell def. Joe Pingitore via Submission (rear naked choke)–Round 1, 1:32
Lester Caslow def. Jay Haas via Submission (guillotine choke)–Round 1, 2:29
Sidney Outlaw def. Mike Bannon via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Kevin Roddy def. Amran Aliyev via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)