On Friday, March 7, Bellator MMA hosted its 111th event from the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

In the night’s main event, Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas put his 135-pound title on the line against Summer Series runner-up, Anthony Leone. Dantas was originally expected to face fellow Brazilian Rafael Silva at the event, but Silva suffered a knee injury in training and was replaced by Leone. Dantas looked to defend his title for the second time, having knocked out former training partner Marcos Galvao in his last outing. Leone looked to bounce back from his decision loss to Silva in October and claim Bellator gold.

Also on the card, the promotion kicked off its eight-man season 10 heavyweight tournament. Former UFC combatant Lavar Johnson squared off against Summer Series tournament runner-up Ryan Martinez, kickboxing specialists Peter Graham and Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga locked horns, former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov took on Mark Holata, and two-time tournament finalist Rich Hale battled Blagoi Ivanov.

The night’s preliminary card kicked off at 7 p.m. ET on Spike.com. The main card aired live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Dantas chokes out Leone to retain bantamweight title

Bellator bantmaweight champion Eduardo Dantas retained his 135-pound title with a beautiful, second-round submission over Anthony Leone.

Dantas fired off kicks to open the contest, but Leone caught one and put the Brazilian on his back. Dantas looked to attack from his back, but Leone did a good job off maintaining top control. Leone scored with a short elbow from the guard, but he was unable to move into a better position as the round came to a close.

The champion scored with his hands to open the second frame. Dantas looked for a flying knee that allowed Leone to lock on, but he could not bring the fight to the mat. After trading single shots on the feet, Leone got in deep on a single-leg takedown attempt, but Dantas defended. Leone over-committed to the takedown and Dantas quickly took his back. The Brazilian slapped on a rear-naked choke immediately and Leone was forced to tap.

Johnson finishes Martinez

UFC veteran Lavar Johnson got back in the win column and moved on to the heavyweight tournament semifinals with a first-round stoppage of Ryan Martinez.

Martinez quickly looked for a body lock near the fence. Johnson reversed the position, but Martinez put Johnson on his back with a perfect lateral drop takedown. Martinez rained hammerfists from the top position. Johnson worked back to his feet in the final minute of the stanza and delivered a looping right hand. Martinez wobbled and Johnson smelled blood. A pair of follow-up shots and referee Dan Miragliotta waived off the contest.

“Mighty Mo” submits Graham

In a battle of former kickboxers, Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga submitted Peter Graham in the third round to earn a spot in the tournament semifinals.

After trading jabs, Siliga shot for a takedown, but Graham easily shrugged him off. Graham took the action to the fence and delivered knees, but Siliga was able to separate. Graham scored repeatedly with leg kicks as Siliga swung for the fences with little success.

The pair clinched up early in round two as Siliga worked hard for a single-leg takedown and got it near the cage. The Samoan delivered short shots from the top, but Graham was able to work back to his feet midway through the round. Graham connected with a hard front kick to the face of Siliga and scored with knees from the clinch. Siliga caught a kick in the final minute of the frame and put Graham on his back again.

Round three started in a similar fashion as the second as Siliga closed the distance and put Graham on his back. From side control, Siliga searched for a keylock, but Graham defended. The Samoan then attacked with an arm-triangle and Graham was forced to tap.

Volkov stops Holota

Former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov wasted little time punching his ticket to the tournament semifinals, stopping Mark Holata in just 81 seconds.

Holota barreled forward to start the bout and pressed Volkov against the cage. He worked hard for a takedown and delivered punches to the body of Volkov. Volkov kept the fight upright and connected with a vicious left hand that dropped Holota. The Russian smelled blood and flurried for the TKO finish.

FULL RESULTS
Eduardo Dantas def. Anthony Leone by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 2:04 – for bantamweight title
Lavar Johnson def. Ryan Martinez by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:22 – heavyweight tournament quarterfinal
Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga def. Peter Graham by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 3, 2:31 – heavyweight tournament quarterfinal
Alexander Volkov def. Mark Holata by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:21 – heavyweight tournament quarterfinal
Blagoi Ivanov def. Rich Hale by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)- heavyweight tournament quarterfinal
Cortez Coleman def. Daniel Miller by submission (strikes). Round 2, 4:49
Javy Ayala def. Eric Prindle by TKO (doctor’s stoppage). Round 3, 2:05
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Matt Jones by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:23
Brent Primus def. Chris Jones by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:45
Chris Gutierrez def. Justin McNally by TKO (knee and punches). Round 1, 2:50
Stephen Banaszak def. Treston Thomison by submission (armbar). Round 1, 4:56

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