Eduardo Dantas (right) defeated Alexis Vila to win the Bantamweight Tournament (Photo courtesy of Bellator).
A fantastic fifth season by Bellator Fighting Championships came to a conclusion on Saturday, November 26th, when Bellator 59 was held at Caesars in Atlantic City. Following is a recap of the four fights on the main card of the event.
Marcin Held (12-2) vs. Phillipe Nover (5-4-1)
Nover was greeted with a mob of supporters as he entered the Bellator cage to get the televised portion of this card underway. The Brooklyn native was the clear aggressor through the three rounds of action, doing all he could to get his Polish counterpart to engage. However, Held made it very evident that he had absolutely no desire to scrap anywhere except on the canvas, where he would be able to avoid the powerful strikes of Nover and focus entirely on using a well crafted BJJ game. The Polish lightweight would quickly shoot anytime the two fighters were on their feet, and he would remain in the crab position each time the Renzo Gracie Academy representative would beg him back to his feet. Nover did get in a bit of trouble in the first round when he got locked into a heel hook, but he was able to shake himself loose of the trouble. Other than that point of disadvantage, it is hard to argue that he did not control the action, and he clearly was the one looking to engage his opponent. Despite those points, two of the cageside judges saw it differently, giving Held a split decision victory with a pair cards in his favor at 29-28, and the other 29-28 tally going to Nover.
Eduardo Dantas (13-2) vs. Alexis Vila (11-1)
In this Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament Final, the action was a bit slow throughout the three rounds of competition. Vila, a former wrestler who won a Bronze Medal in the 1996 Olympics for Cuba, relied a bit too heavily on his wrestling, regularly shooting instead of showing some variety in his game. Dantas did own a height and reach advantage over him as well, landing some decent looking knees from the Muay Thai clinch. Neither fighter took much damage over the 15 minutes of competition, but Dantas did enough in the end to earn a unanimous decision victory with three counts of 29-28.
Patricky Pitbull (10-2) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (16-7)
The always entertaining and extremely rough necked Pellegrino made the Palladium Ballroom explode when he made his way into the Bellator cage for the first time, as the New Jersey native clearly owned the support of the fans in attendance. At the opening bell, the two fighters began to circle the center of the ring, and they jumped into confrontation around the 40-second mark. At that time, the heavy-handed Pitbull land a flush left-right combo that buckled Pellegrino. The UFC veteran then grabbed the leg of his opponent in an attempt to slow his advances, where Pitbull proceeded to take his back and began firing some hard shots. While he may have been taking some damage, Pellegrino was clearly alert and doing all he could to work his way out of the trouble he was facing. Unfortunately, the referee in charge jumped in rather prematurely and ended the fight, much to the absolute dismay of Pellegrino, who quickly jumped to his feet in disgust. The official time of the stoppage was at the 50-second mark, giving the Point Pleasant resident the first knockout blemish of his career. After the fight, he jumped onto the side of the cage to thank the fans, mouthing the words, “I’m done.” However, his post-fight press conference left open the possibility of a return to Bellator next year.
Thiago Santos (10-1) vs. Eric Prindle (9-1)
Not much to say about this Bellator Season 5 Tournament Championship. While in the crab position in the first frame, Prindle took a gasping kick to the groin that caused an immediate timeout by the referee in charge. After being unable to continue once his allotment of five minutes of recovery time had expired, the fight was officially ruled a no contest. The kick was deemed an accidental blow, and the match was waved at 1:24. Prindle went to the hospital after the fight, but Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney did say at the post-event press conference that he hopes to hold the tournament final during the first show of the promotion’s sixth season in 2012.
Bellator 59 Preliminary Card Results