Last night, Bellator 111 went off in Oklahoma, headlined by a Bantamweight title defense that ended in spectacular fashion, and a Heavyweight tournament opening round that had its exciting moments, but in typical Bellator Heavyweight fashion, this one deteriorated to look like a buffet line more than a fight tournament. Eduardo Dantas, the Bellator Bantamweight titleholder, pulled off a Submission of the Year type of finish after getting all he could handle for a round and a half from late replacement Anthony Leone.
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Some observers gave Leone the first round, as he stayed aggressive and got Dantas down and retained top position. In the second round, which was another fast paced round, Leone over committed when picking a leg, and Dantas jumped right onto his back and a rear naked choke finished it seconds later. For Dantas, assume he gets countryman Rafael Silva next, as it was Silva whose injury opened the spot for Leone.
In the opening round of the Heavyweight tournament, UFC washout Lavar Johnson got up off his back to KO Ryan Martinez. Finishing the fight with his hands is not a surprise, but getting up after getting ground is for Johnson.
Peter Graham and Mighty Mo slugged it out for 2 and a half rounds with Graham getting the best of the big islander. Mo looked slow to the punch and he threw wildly missing several times. He finally channeled Mark Coleman at the end of the fight, getting to side control and simply squeezing Graham´s head til he got the tap.
Blagoi Ivanov and Richard Hale went to the cards, where the Russian advanced by Unanimous Decision. Not much to say here, other than Ivanov could be a finalist if he gets Lavar Johnson in the semis – his stocky build will get the fight to the ground against Johnson.
Perhaps the most impressive guy in the tournament is 6´7 former champion Alexander Volkov. Volkov made short work of Mark Holata, who certainly looked ready to join Thiago Santos on the buffet line. This is Volkov´s tournament to win.