Dantas And Vila Lead Bellator 59 Betting Card
By: Matty Simo
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Two tournament finals highlight a four-bout main card at Bellator 59 from Caesars Atlantic City this Saturday. The smallest and biggest weight classes will crown their tournament champions in the finale of Season Five of the Bellator Fighting Championships, which will be televised live on MTV2 starting at 9:00 p.m. (ET).
Eduardo Dantas (13-2) will take on unbeaten Alexis Vila (10-0) in the bantamweight tournament final while Eric Prindle (9-1) will face Thiago Santos (10-1) for the heavyweight tourney crown. The winners will then get an opportunity to meet the champions of their respective divisions.
Dantas and Vila both made it to the final by scoring knockouts in their quarterfinal matchups and then earning decisions in the semifinals. Dantas is a Brazilian who has won five straight fights, three of which took place in Shooto Brazil. He lost the Shooto 132-pound world title against Masakatsu Ueda back in July 2009 but has not dropped bout since then.
Vila is a Cuban wrestler who won the bronze medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics and upset Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren as a +145 underdog in the quarterfinals. He knocked out Warren at 1:04 of the first round and then beat Marcos Galvao in the semis.
In the heavyweight tournament, Santos was an injury replacement for American Mike Hayes, who was forced to withdraw after the quarterfinals due to a broken orbital bone. Santos submitted Neil Grove, another injury replacement, via rear-naked choke in the first round of the semifinals.
Prindle pulled off an upset in the semis with a first-round knockout of Ron Sparks as a +155 underdog. He earned a unanimous decision victory against Abe Wagner in the quarters and beat a common opponent of Santos in his previous bout before the tournament. Prindle stopped Josh Burns after the second round at Bellator 40 due to an eye injury while Santos submitted Burns by rear-naked choke in the first round of a tournament reserve bout at Bellator 53.
Another televised feature fight on the card will see former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino (16-6) match up with Patricky Freire (9-2) at lightweight. Pellegrino was released by the UFC following consecutive losses to Gleison Tibau and George Sotiropoulos. He had won his previous four fights in the UFC following losses against big-name opponents in Nate Diaz and Joe Stevenson.
Meanwhile, Freire saw his five-fight winning streak end with a unanimous decision loss to Michael Chandler in the lightweight tournament final at Bellator 44. He had won nine of his previous 10 bouts.