Bellator 184 post-event facts: Pat Curran flirts with Bellator's all-time wins record

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Bellator’s latest offering went down this past Friday with Bellator 184, which took place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., with a main card that aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

A new bantamweight champion was crowned in the main event. Darrion Caldwell (11-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) managed to live up to his early career label as a future champion when he outworked Eduardo Dantas (20-5 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) over the course of five rounds for a unanimous decision to claim the belt.

Caldwell’s victory closed out of a four-fight main card which saw three contests decided by the scorecards. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 184.

* * * *

General

Betting favorites went 3-1 on the main card.

Betting favorites fell to 10-4 (with one even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the four-bout main card was 1:06:56.

* * * *

Main card

Caldwell became the fifth fighter to hold the Bellator bantamweight championship.

Caldwell improved to 5-1 since he dropped to the Bellator bantamweight division in May 2015.

Dantas lost the Bellator bantamweight championship for the second time.

Dantas has suffered both of his Bellator losses by decision.

Emmanuel Sanchez (16-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) has earned six of his seven career stoppage victories by submission.

Daniel Straus (24-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) has suffered seven of his eight career losses by stoppage.

Straus has suffered all four of his Bellator stoppage losses by submission.

Pat Curran (23-7 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) improved to 10-3 since he dropped to the Bellator featherweight division in June 2011.

Curran’s 13 victories in Bellator competition are tied with Chandler and Joe Warren for second most in company history behind Patricio Freire (14).

Curran’s 10 victories in Bellator featherweight competition are tied with Straus for second most in divisional history behind Freire (14).

John Teixeira (21-3-2 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) is on the first losing skid of his career.

Teixeira has suffered all three of his career losses by decision.

Joe Taimanglo (24-8-1 MMA, 6-4 BMMA) fell to 4-3 since he dropped to the Bellator bantamweight division in April 2014.

Taimanglo has suffered all four of his Bellator losses by decision.

For complete coverage of Bellator 184, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator 184

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s Bellator 184 event in Thackerville, Okla., went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Darrion Caldwell def. Eduardo Dantas via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 50-45)

Darrion Caldwell: “Paranoia” by Dave East feat. Jeez

Eduardo Dantas: “Lado B Lado A” by O Rappa

Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Straus via submission (triangle choke) – Round 3, 1:56

Emmanuel Sanchez: “Canción Del Mariachi (Morena De Mi Corazón)” by Los Lobos

Daniel Straus: “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar

Pat Curran def. John Teixeira via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Pat Curran: “Awake” by Godsmack

John Teixeira: “Last Breath” by Future

Leandro Higo def. Joe Taimanglo via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Leandro Higo: “Campeao Vendor” by Jamily

Joe Taimanglo: “I Got The Feelin’” by James Brown

For complete coverage of Bellator 184, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 184 highlights: Dethroned! New champ Darrion Caldwell tops Eduardo Dantas

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Bellator has a new bantamweight champion. Here’s how Darrion Caldwell did it.

In Friday’s Bellator 184 headliner, Caldwell (11-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) picked up a unanimous-decision victory and delivered Eduardo Dantas (20-5 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) his first loss in three years.

Check out the highlights of the win, which came via frequent takedowns and unorthodox striking, above.

Bellator 184 took place Friday at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., and it aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Caldwell, a 2009 NCAA Division I national wrestling champion, got the victory via 48-47, 48-47 and 50-45 scores.

Elsewhere on the card, featherweightEmmanuel Sanchez (16-3 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) picked up arguably his biggest win yet with a third-round tap-out of former champ Daniel Straus (24-8 MMA, 11-5 BMMA). Additionally, former featherweight champion Pat Curran (23-7 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) returned from a lengthy layoff for a decision victory over 145-pounder John Teixeira (21-3-2 MMA, 4-2 BMMA).

Finally, in the main-card opener, Leandro Higo (18-2 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) nearly scored a late submission but instead settled for a clear-cut unanimous-decision win over durable bantamweight Joe Taimanglo (23-7-1 MMA, 6-3 BMMA).

Check out all of the highlights above.

And for more on Bellator 184, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Bellator 184 results: Leandro Higo outworks Joe Taimanglo for unanimous decision

Leandro Higo came close to walking away from his second Bellator outing with a late third-round submission win.

But, judging by the smile on Higo’s (18-2 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) face as the 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 scorecards were read, we’re guessing a unanimous decision over fellow bantamweight Joe Taimanglo (23-7-1 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) should do just fine.

The Brazilian, who’d dropped a split decision against 135-pound champ Eduardo Dantas in a non-title bout to kick off his promotional run, is back on the pro streak that saw him taking eight straight wins before the loss to Dantas. Taimanglo, who showcased some toughness after surviving Higo’s tight third-round guillotine choke, is now on a two-fight skid after a loss to Darrion Caldwell.

Taimanglo wasted no time in the feeling-out process in Round 1, pushing Higo against cage almost immediately. The two switched positions a few times, but Taimanglo was mostly in control there. After two minutes, though, Higo managed to break away, and the two returned to the center of the cage. Taimanglo then set up some shots to once more get Higo against the cage – this time, securing a takedown. But Higo got back up, proceeding to land a big hand and get Taimanglo to the ground. Higo, however, was unable to advance from the half guard and the two were back on their feet by the time the round ended.

Taimanglo was more tentative as the second round started. Higo landed a good hand and attempted some jumping strikes early, but Taimanglo halted the action by once more pressing him against the cage. As the two resumed the action on the feet, Higo kept the distance with straight strikes, while Taimanglo entered his range with shorter punches. By the final two minutes, Higo was landing low kicks and solid punches to the face. High made a good round more favorable with a takedown. Taimanglo, however, once more kept him at half guard – and eventually got back up.

Higo kept lighter on his feet in the third round, while Taimanglo pressed forward. Taimanglo half-heartedly attempted two takedowns, which Higo escaped. The two proceeded with mostly tentative strikes, until, as the end of the fight drew near, Taimanglo managed to get to Higo’s back. While a submission didn’t really look anywhere near locked in, it took a little while for Higo to shake him off. Once he did, though, it was Taimanglo wo saw himself in a very unfortunate position – with Higo’s arms wrapped tightly around his neck. The guillotine seemed tight, but Taimanglo managed to tough it out until the final bell.

Bellator 184 results:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Eduardo Dantas vs. Darrion Caldwell – for bantamweight title
  • Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Straus
  • Pat Curran vs. John Teixeira
  • Leandro Higo def. Joe Taimanglo via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Manuel Muro def. Emmanuel Rivera via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Sean Holden def. Shakir McKillip via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:39 – 160-pound catchweight
  • Carrington Banks def. Steve Kozola via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-25)
  • Chance Rencountre def. Justin Patterson via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 2:58
  • Teagan Dooley def DeMarcus Simmons via submission (Americana) – Round 2, 2:12
  • Westin Wilson def. L.J. Hermreck via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 0:55
  • Kendall Carnahan def. Daniel Carey via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Ernest James vs. Ray Jones

For more on Bellator 184, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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5 reasons to watch Bellator 184 with all its title implications at bantamweight, featherweight

Bellator returns to Oklahoma on Friday for Bellator 184, a card heavy on former champions, fighters with championship aspirations, and in the main event, one current champ defending his title.

In the headliner, Eduardo Dantas puts his bantamweight belt on the line against up-and-coming Darrion Caldwell. If Dantas proves victorious, he will leave the cage with six title-fight victories, the most in Bellator history.

In the co-main event, two-time featherweight champion Daniel Straus looks to get back into the title mix against Emmanuel Sanchez.

Before the headlining bouts, two-time featherweight champion Pat Curran ends a long break against John Teixeira, who was one scorecard away from possibly earning a title shot in his most recent fight.

Bellator 184 takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. I see what you did there

Self-belief is wonderful. In a sport like MMA, it’s essential to have an overabundance of confidence. If doubt creeps into a fighter’s mind, for even a second, things can go bad. Dantas, the No. 7 ranked bantamweight in the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings, takes the concept of self-belief to another level. The two-time champion, despite a title-losing defeat to Joe Warren in 2014, sees himself as undefeated inside the Bellator cage.

“I only lost once in Bellator, and I got payback,” Dantas told MMAjunkie, referring to his 2016 rematch win over Warren. “So I’m not really 10-1. Since I returned the favor, I feel undefeated.”

As we all know, that’s not the way things work. A loss remains a loss no matter what happens after that result. But that kind of thinking gives you an idea as to the kind of fighter Dantas is.

Dantas (20-4 MMA, 10-1 BMMA) looks to make the second defense of his second run as champion against Caldwell. If you use Dantas’ “get one back” logic, Caldwell (10-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) is also undefeated (he’s not), since he avenged his sole loss when he defeated Joe Taimanglo in his most recent bout.

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Dantas has more experience than the No. 15 ranked Caldwell, but the challenger is a fantastic wrestler with a smothering top game. He should give Dantas, whose goal is to be “the best bantamweight in history,” a tough test in this title fight.

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2. Not your stepping stone

Straus was on the shelf for more than 17 months after he broke his hand in the first round of his 2015 fight against Patricio Freire. Despite the injury, Straus won that five-round contest by unanimous decision. The victory earned him the featherweight title for the second time. When he returned from rehabbing his hand, Straus gave the title back to Freire when he submitted to a guillotine choke in the second round of their Bellator 178 matchup.

Straus, the No. 9 ranked featherweight, was never really able to get going in that fight, his fourth against Freire. When he shot for a takedown early in the second stanza, Freire clamped on the choke and Straus was forced to tap.

If Straus (24-7 MMA, 11-4 BMMA) wants to earn a shot at becoming a three-time featherweight champion he has to get past Sanchez (15-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA). Sanchez enters this fight on the strength of a unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao. The one mark against Sanchez is he came in more than three pounds overweight for that contest.

After his win, Sanchez apologized to the promotion for missing weight and asked for a title shot. If he can defeat Straus he’ll have a solid argument that he deserves that fight. As for the former champ, don’t expect him to look as tentative in this bout as he did against Freire. There’s no way he wants to lose two fights in a row for the first time in his eight-year career.

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3. A former champ returns

If the fight between Straus and Sanchez isn’t intriguing enough for you, there is another important 145-pound fight on the card. In that contest, former two-time champion Pat Curran squares off against John Teixeira.

Teixeira lost a heartbreaker in his most recent scrap. The Brazilian saw his 10-fight unbeaten streak come to an end when he dropped a split decision to Daniel Weichel. The victory earned Weichel a November matchup against champion Patricio Freire.

As for Curran, the former champ has put a rough 1-3 patch behind him with victories in his two most recent outings.

Curran (22-7 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) has not been very active as of late. This is just his third fight in more than 27 months. Knowing that, don’t be surprised if the aggressive Teixeira (21-2-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) steps on the gas even more in this contest in the hopes of exploiting any ring rust Curran has amassed since he last fought in May 2016.

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4. Look up

If Joe Taimanglo and Leandro Higo need inspiration for their bantamweight matchup they just need to look at the top of this fight card. The two fighters competing for the 135-pound division title are the last two fighters they lost to.

At Bellator 159, Taimanglo (23-7-1 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) submitted Caldwell early in the third round. When the two ran things back at Bellator 167, Caldwell won a unanimous decision. That victory earned Caldwell his shot at Dantas’ belt. Higo (17-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), the former LFA bantamweight champion, lost to Dantas in his most recent bout, where he dropped a split decision to the champion. Unfortunately for Higo, what was supposed to be a title fight, turned into a non-title contest when he came in four pounds overweight.

A win here will put the victor in the mix for a shot at the winner of this card’s headlining bout.

5. Clash of styles

If you need a reason to catch the Bellator 184 prelims, look no further than the clash of styles in the bout between unbeaten lightweights Steve Kozola and Carrington Banks.

Kozola is a finisher. Since he turned pro in 2013, he hasn’t left the second round. Over that time, he’s racked up seven victories via knockout and one by submission. His most recent bout ended in 28 seconds. In that contest Kozola used a barrage of strikes to hand Jake Roberts his first career knockout loss.

Unlike Kozola (8-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), Banks (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) has gone the distance in four of his six career fights. Banks has some striking skills, but he relies heavily on his wrestling, even when it looks like he can finish a fight with his hands. Banks has good takedowns and a grinding top game that could test a fighter like Kozola, who has never been deep into a fight.

The winner of this bout could take a big step up in competition in his next outing.

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For more on Bellator 184, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 184 pre-event facts: Eduardo Dantas can take lead in championship-fight wins

Bellator returns to one of its familiar locations on Friday with Bellator 184, which takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., with a Spike-televised main card.

A bantamweight title fight headlines the four-bout card. Reigning champion Eduardo Dantas (20-4 MMA, 10-1 BMMA) attempts to defend his title for a second straight time when he meets challenger Darrion Caldwell (10-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA), who competes in his first Bellator title bout.

For more on the numbers behind the 135-pound title fight, as well as the other bouts scheduled for the main card, check out 20 pre-event facts about Bellator 184.

* * * *

Main event

Dantas competes in his 12th Bellator bantamweight bout, the second most appearances in divisional history behind Joe Warren (13).

Dantas’ 10 victories in Bellator bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Dantas’ four-fight Bellator winning streak in bantamweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Dantas competes in his seventh Bellator title fight, tied with Pat Curran for the second most in company history behind fellow ex-champ Michael Chandler (nine).

Dantas’ five championship-fight victories in Bellator competition are tied with Chandler and former longtime titleholder Ben Askren for most in company history.

Dantas is one of six fighters in Bellator history to become a two-time champion in a single weight class.

Dantas has earned his past four victories by decision, the longest stretch of his career without a stoppage.

Darrion Caldwell

Caldwell returns to competition for the first time since Dec. 3, 2016. The 307-day layoff is the longest of his more than five-year career.

Caldwell is 4-1 since he dropped to the Bellator bantamweight division in May 2015.

Caldwell has earned all four of his Bellator stoppage victories by submission.

Co-main event

Daniel Straus (24-7 MMA, 11-4 BMMA) is one of six fighters in Bellator history to become a two-time champion in a single weight class.

Straus competes in his 15th Bellator featherweight bout, the second most appearances in divisional history behind Patricio Freire (17).

Straus’ 10 victories in Bellator featherweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Freire (14).

Straus has suffered six of his seven career losses by stoppage.

Emmanuel Sanchez (15-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) has earned nine of his 15 career victories by decision. That includes six of his seven Bellator wins.

Remaining main card

Pat Curran (22-7 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) returns to competition for the first time since May 20, 2016. The 504-day layoff is the longest of his more than nine-year career.

Curran is 11-3 since he dropped to the Bellator featherweight division in June 2011.

Curran’s nine victories in Bellator featherweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Freire (14) and Straus (10).

Curran has suffered six of his seven career losses by decisions. That includes all four of his Bellator defeats.

John Teixeira

John Teixeira (21-2-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) has earned all four of his Bellator victories by decision. Three of those wins came by split decision.

Joe Taimanglo (23-7-1 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) is 4-2 since he dropped to the Bellator bantamweight division in April 2014.

For more on Bellator 184, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

He missed weight and lost a title shot, but is there still hope for Bellator's Leandro Higo?

Leandro Higo’s big-stage debut did’t go exactly according to plan.

Matched up against Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas, Higo ended up losing his first MMA bout in almost five years. Not only that, he also failed to make the 135-pound weight limit for the first time in his pro career, turning the headliner of April’s Bellator 177 event into a non-title bout.

The conditions weren’t optimal either. Not only did Higo have little time to prepare for his most important fight yet, he had to balance training with a busy schedule of classes he taught to make ends meet.

Still, Higo put on a competitive scrap; one of the judges saw it his way. And while his sponsorship situation is still not exactly ideal, the extra money made from his first Bellator outing ensured better training conditions for next month’s second one.

“I’m just training now, and I’m no longer teaching classes,” Higo told MMAjunkie. “I’m feeling better, better-trained. I’m getting more time to rest. I’m feeling very good – great, really. A lot different than in that fight.”

Set for an Oct. 6 meeting against Joe Taimanglo (23-7-1 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) at Bellator 184, which airs live on Spike from WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., Higo (17-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) certainly has few reasons to feel encouraged ahead of his new chance.

First, there’s how well he managed to perform against an opponent who many thought he didn’t stand a chance against.

“Losses are never welcome,” Higo said. “But it was a setback that showed me I am capable of going toe to toe with anyone in this division in Bellator. I arrived fighting toe to toe with the champion.”

It gave him a reason for optimism after the title loss (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

There’s also the weight. While it’s not usually a big problem for him, Higo was a lot heavier than usual ahead of his last outing. Now, two weeks out, the much longer preparation time – paired with some changes in the training itself – ensured that he’s already lighter than he was going into fight week then.

And, of course,, there’s the matchup. As a record that features five finishes in his six most recent wins shows, Higo is aggressive. And Dantas, who’s been successfully defending his belt with decisions, didn’t seem that interested in the type of bout that Higo wanted to put on.

With Taimanglo, however, the Brazilian bantamweight hopes things are different.

“It’s a fight that I wanted,” Higo said. “It will be quite interesting because he likes to go after the fight. And I like that too. I want to erase the image of that monotonous fight with Dudu.

“I wanted the fight, I went for it, but he ran around the entire fight, basically. That was his tactic. And I want a good display to show that I’m there to put on fights and throw down with anyone. I also want to test myself against fighters with different styles.”

Higo knows he’s got a seasoned Bellator veteran in front of him and is by no means overlooking that. But, having studied Taimanglo’s past fights so much that “he can’t even look at the computer anymore,” he’s also spotted a number of holes that he can exploit.

“My mission is to finish the fight,” Higo said. “But if it doesn’t happen, I’m ready for that too. I’m ready to go three rounds and put on a tough fight from start to finish.”

While winning is the goal here, the way it comes about is also a factor. After all, Higo does want that stab at the bantamweight belt – for real, this time. And, the way he sees it, a strong start might be enough to ensure it happens sooner rather than later.

“I had a tough fight with ‘Duda’ (Dantas),” Higo said. “It was so close that it was even a split. So by winning this one and the next, I think I’ll be ready to fight for the belt, especially because Bellator doesn’t have that many athletes at 135. The few that are there, though, are tough. No one is average. All of them are good.

“I think that, by winning this and another one, I’ll be close to the belt again. Or, depending on how I beat Joe, I think I could be next. You never know, especially given Bellator doesn’t go by rankings that much. They like good shows.”

All of this, of course, is moot if he’s unable to get past Taimanglo on Oct. 6. But, motivated by the recent Bellator 183 win of his teammate and mentor, Patricky Freire, Higo is simply feeling too well-prepared to dwell on that possibility.

“(Freire) is a guy who’s always with me and who’ll be my cornerman on fight night,” Higo said. “It will be cool. I’m very motivated. I don’t see myself walking away without the win.”

For more on Bellator 184, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie