Bellator 128 Fight Breakdown: Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren

Joe-Warren The main event of Bellator 128 is a five-round title unification bout between Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas and interim champ Joe Warren. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Dantas is a -500 favorite (bet $500 to win $100) while Warren is a +435 underdog (bet $100 to win $435). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Dantas at -350 and Warren at +250, and so far all the betting action has been in Dantas’ direction. I agree with the action in Dantas’ direction as I see him winning this fight in devastating fashion to unify the Bellator bantamweight titles. Here’s why. Dantas (16-3) is the Bellator bantamweight champion. The 25-year-old Brazilian is amongst the most talented and skilled 135lbers in the sport, and his record proves it. He’s 6-0 overall in Bellator with wins over the likes of Zach Makovsky, Alexis Vila, Ed West, Wilson Reis, Marcos Galvao and Anthony Leone. That’s a tremendous resume, and the scary thing is Dantas is continually improving and getting better and better every time we see him. He is a solid striker on the feet with a long reach and knockout power in all his limbs, and on the ground his submissions are extremely slick. His wrestling is probably the weakest part of his game, but his takedown defence is improving every time we see him. He had a scare a few years ago in Brazil, when he was knocked out by Tyson Nam in a small show, and that fight scared some bettors off of him for a little while. But he’s looked great as of late, winning his two fights since then in brutal fashion, and seems to have put that Nam fight in the rear-view mirror. Dantas has been dealing with some health issues and hasn’t fought much, but the last time we saw him against Leone earlier this year he looked great. As long as he’s healthy, he should have stylistic advantages over Warren, and as long as he doesn’t get caught or outwrestled for five rounds this fight is all his, and that’s why he’s a huge favorite going into it. Warren (11-3) is the current interim Bellator bantamweight champion, having won the title in his last fight against Rafael Silva. He is also the former Bellator featherweight champion, and overall one of the most successful fighters the promotion has ever had. The 37-year-old Warren is 9-2 in Bellator with wins over the likes of Georgi Karakhanyan, Patricio Pitbull, Joe Soto, Marcos Gavlao and Travis Marx, to name a few, with his only losses coming to Alexis Vila and Pat Curran. The Curran loss can be excused, but the Vila fight is scary and it showed that Warren’s chin is a bit of a question mark. Since the back-to-back losses to Curran and Vila, Warren is 4-0, but to be fair he has been matched up pretty carefully by Bellator, especially during Bjorn Rebney’s reign over the company. With Scott Coker now in charge, I don’t expect Warren to get as favorable of matchmaking as he once had, and certainly this fight against Dantas is not an easy one at all. Warren has a chance to win, but it’s small. He’ll either have to outwrestle Dantas for five rounds or hit him on the chin and put him out, and I just can’t see either happening. Crazier things have happened in MMA, but there’s a reason Warren is such a big underdog here, and in my opinion it’s justified. Warren is a very good fighter and if he can make this a dirty, ugly brawl up against the fence then he could have some success. However, I just don’t see that happening. Dantas is one of the bigger bantamweights in Bellator and I believe he should have success stopping Warren’s takedowns, at least early on. And even if he is taken down, he is so crafty with his submissions and could realistically pull off a sub from any position on the mat. On the feet, Dantas is by far the superior striker, although I do think Warren has some knockout power and we’ve seen Dantas’ chin get tested before. I believe, though, that Dantas learned a lot from his loss to Nam from a few years back and I don’t see him making the same mistakes again that he did in that fight. Overall, all signs are pointing to Dantas here, and that’s why he’s a big favorite. The line is steep at -500, so it’s not an easy fight to bet, but I can’t blame anyone for putting him in a parlay as I see him winning the fight, and he really should be able to do so via stoppage sometime within the five rounds.

Written by Adam Martin.

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