Bellator 166: A Chance for Redemption

As Bellator MMA continues to gain its foothold in a mixed martial arts world that’s still dominated by the UFC, it takes a page out of the UFC’s book by holding fight cards on back-to-back nights. The first one is this Friday, Dec. 2, and will feature a main event rematch between Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas and Joe Warren, as well as rising stars like Chris Honeycutt, L.C. Davis, Marcos Galvao and A.J. McKee.

Chris Honeycutt (8-1) vs. Ben Reiter (17-1-1) (Middleweight – 185 lbs.)

The middleweight division in Bellator is definitely on the way up, and Honeycutt and Reiter are also looking to make a name for themselves. Reiter should look to grind out the more explosive Honeycutt, as Reiter’s last four wins have come via decision. Although Honeycutt’s last two victories have also come via decision, he racked up five finishes in his first six pro fights. Reiter’s last loss a year ago came via submission, which is the only loss of his career. I think Honeycutt outworks Reiter on the mat here and adds another finish to his resume.

Winner: Honeycutt by submission

Marcos Galvao (17-7-1) vs. L.C. Davis (23-7) (Bantamweight – 135 lbs.)

Galvao was absolutely pummeled by the current champion Dantas in his last fight, to the point where he looked like he wasn’t even trying. Unfortunately, he now faces another feared striker in Davis, whose memorable brawl Hideo Tokoro last year is still talked about in many circles. I wouldn’t expect this fight to go to the ground very often, and since Galvao only has five victories via finish in his 25 total fights, this one probably goes the distance as well with Davis only having one finish in his last six fights himself. If Galvao didn’t improve his stand-up game after his fight with Dantas, I think he’s in for a long night against Davis.

Winner: Davis by unanimous decision

A.J. McKee (5-0) vs. Ray Wood (8-2) (Featherweight – 145 lbs.)

McKee was supposed to face Emmanuel Sanchez in what could have been a featherweight title eliminator. But Sanchez had to drop out because of injury, and Wood stepped in on short notice. McKee has yet to lose in his young career, with all five of his victories coming via finish. Wood was choked out in his last fight for Bellator, and McKee is likely his toughest and most athletic challenge to date. I give Wood credit for stepping up on short notice, but I believe McKee will keep his undefeated record intact.

Winner: McKee by TKO

Eduardo Dantas (18-4) vs. Joe Warren (14-5) (Bantamweight Title – 135 lbs.)

As I said before, Dantas battered Marcos Galvao senseless to win the bantamweight title in June. The first time Dantas faced Warren with the title on the line, he came up short in 2014. But Dantas never looked better than he did against Galvao earlier this year, as he used his striking, footwork and speed to confuse his onetime-friend-turned-rival and just made Galvao look silly, honestly.

There’s no doubt that Warren is among the toughest fighters in all of MMA – just ask the self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet” yourself. But frankly, Dantas is younger, faster and more skilled than Warren. Dantas has grown tremendously since their first meeting, and Warren struggled with another young, explosive fighter recently in Darrion Caldwell. I think Dantas’ best days are still ahead of him, and he’ll prove it here.

Winner: Dantas by unanimous decision

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Chris Huntemann
Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also opines on all things UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting and any other MMA topics he cares to bloviate about. You should check out his blog, or his Twitter. Or both. When he's not watching MMA, he's an avid fan of other sports, such as football, baseball and college basketball. He may or may not do other, non-sports-related things as well.

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