The Bojangles Colosseum in Charlotte, N.C. played host to Bellator 89 on Thursday, Feb. 14.  It was the first time the promotion has held an event in the Tar Heel State, and the promotion rolled out the red carpet as it played host to the first round of the Season 8 middleweight tournament.

The main event on the evening featured a bantamweight championship fight where Eduardo Dantas retained his championship after knocking out his mentor in the second round.  The champion used his superior speed to control the distance of the fight, which lead to a huge uppercut that turned out the lights on fellow Brazilian Marcos Galvao.

The rest of the card televised card saw Doug Marshall, Brett Cooper and Dan Cramer advance to the semifinals in the promotion’s middleweight tournament.

Dantas scores knockout to retain title

It was being billed as a fight between the student and the master, only the student was the one that held the title around his waist as they entered the cage. Eduardo Dantas put his bantamweight title on the line against Season 6 tournament winner, Marcos Galvao.

The first round showed a lot of respect between the two fighters as they stood at distance from one another. The champion showed off his quickness as he threw quick, sharp strikes from the outside. Galvao was able to muster up a little bit of offense of his own after a slip by Dantas resulted in the challenger holding onto the back of “Dudu”. From the standing position, Dantas defended the constant takedown attempts and was able to break away after Galvao was unable to get the fight to the floor. The round closed out with more action from the feet, where the champion was getting the better of the striking.

As the second round kicked off, it appeared as though there were three strikes landed by the champion for every one thrown by the challenger. During one of the flurries, Dantas landed a big high kick to the head of “Loro” which only caused the two fighters to get into another flurry of punches while on the feet. The champion then unleashed a vicious uppercut which planted Galvao on the canvas.  A stamp was put on the knockdown with a few hammerfists to the face of the vulnerable fighter, however they were ultimately unnecessary as it was apparent that the challenger was out.

The bittersweet victory for Dantas resulted in mixed emotions as he was happy that he won the fight and retained his championship, but was sad that he had to knockout one of his mentors and friend while doing so.  With the win, the Brazilian became the fourth Bellator champion to successfully defend his title in the promotion’s eighth season.

Cramer edges Rogers in close decision

The co-main event of the night was the final quarterfinal of the middleweight tourney as Dan Cramer defeated Brian Rogers in a close decision.

The first round saw the fighters sizing one another up until simultaneous punches were thrown, resulting in a clinch. Cramer was able to gain an advantage by controlling Rogers with a Thai clinch, however the pages were turned when “The Predator” was able to turn it into a throw takedown. The fighters returned quickly to their feet, where “Cosmo” was able to earn a takedown in the middle of the cage. From there, they continued to trade punches.

It was deja vu in the start of the second round as Rogers was able to earn another belly-to-belly suplex. From the top, he was able to work the ground and pound, but Cramer was able to get the fight back to the feet. Another suplex planted the fighter from Connecticut on his back, but he wasn’t kept down for long. Shortly after, he landed an outside trip takedown and was able to pass “The Predator” into side control. The end of the round saw the two fighter return to the feet, where they threw punches to finish off the round.

Keeping with the theme of the first two rounds, Rogers went for another throw takedown. This time, however, he was unsuccessful, and the standing clinch that followed ended up with the Ohio-native on his back after a big jab and knee by “Cosmo”. It looked as if that was going to be the end of the fight as Cramer transitioned to better positions from the top, but there was no surrender in “The Predator” as he got the fight back to the feet and landed a big knee of his own. Wobbled, Cramer was able to keep himself together enough to compose himself after being rocked and earned a takedown at the end of the 15 minutes.

When it was all said and done, Cramer had his hand raised after the judges awarded him a unanimous decision victory.  As a result, he will take on Brett Cooper when the middleweight tournament continues.

Cooper completely controls Paraisy

In the second televised fight, Brett Cooper took a dominant decision victory against Norman Paraisy.  The story of the fight was the takedown, of which the French fighter had a very difficult time defending.

In the opening round, it was apparent that “Fudoshin” was going to do whatever he could to get the fight to the ground and keep it there. While Paraisy kept being taken down, he was able to get the fight back to the feet rather easily, and while he was returning to the feet, he was able to apply a Thai clinch and land some knees to the face of Cooper. Although the strikes appeared to be solid, they must not have landed flush because they revealed no damage or ill effects to the American. Despite the knees, Cooper maintained his composure and continued to land the takedown.

It appeared as though the fight was going to end off of a strong uppercut at the open of the second round, however Paraisy was able to hang on and keep from getting finished. With that being said, Cooper was able to land strong ground and pound after he gained top position after the knockdown, and was able to get the fight back to the ground by continuously slamming his opponent back to the ground.

The third round was a lot like the rest of the fight, where “Fudoshin” continued to take his opponent to the ground over and over again, where he imposed his will from the top.

When the scorecards were read, it was no surprise that it was a unanimous decision victory by Cooper, as he swept the scorecards and won every round. At no point was the American really in any trouble as he took down the French fighter in dominant fashion.

Marshall records early knockout of “Sweet Swede”

Kicking off the main card was the second middleweight tournament fight of the night as Doug Marshall, fresh off of his 22-second knockout at Bellator 69 took on Season 6 middleweight tournament finalist Andreas Spang. Right off of the opening bell, the two started trading strong punches and right then and there, the mood of the fight was such that someone was going to get knocked out.

For a short period, the two fighters clinched with one another up against the cage without much action. The referee broke up the fighters, and it was apparent that the two fighters were collecting their cardio while clinching, because afterwards they continued to push the pace and throw strong punches.

It was only a matter of time until someone was going down, and Marshall made sure he was on the right end of the punch when he connected with a solid right hook that dropped the Swede. Based on how Spang fell to the mat, it was easy to see that he was knocked out, and “The Rhino” immediately threw his arms up in victory and walked away just after the three minute mark in the first round.

With the victory, Marshall will take on Sultan Aliev in the semifinals of the middleweight tournament.

Eduardo Dantas def. Marcos Galvao by knockout (punches). Round 2, 3:01 – retains bantamweight championship
Dan Cramer def. Brian Rogers by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28) – MW tourney
Brett Cooper def. Norman Paraisy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – MW tourney
Doug Marshall def. Andreas Spang by knockout (punch). Round 1, 3:03 – MW tourney
Sultan Aliev def. Mikkel Parlo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – MW tourney
Aaron Johnson def. Brennan Ward by submission (armbar). Round 1, 0:15
David Mejia def. Mont McMullens by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:15
Joe Pacheco def. Kyle Bolt by TKO (elbows). Round 2, 4:02
Johnny Buck def. Chris Mierzwiak by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Maldonado def. Tim Goodwin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Photo: Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.