Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas is out of Friday’s Bellator 118 in Atlantic City with a head injury and Joe Warren will now meet Rafael Silva for the interim bantamweight title.
The injury and new fight booking was announced by Bellator on Saturday afternoon.
Bellator 118 will come from the Revel Casino in Atlantic City on Friday and the fight card will also feature tournament fights in the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions.
Dantas will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a head injury in training and recently flew to California to be examined by a specialist according to Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney.
“We take head injuries very seriously, and when we were notified that Eduardo was dealing with a head injury, we immediately flew him from Brazil to California to be examined by some of the leading specialists in the field,” Rebney said. “We are hopeful Eduardo will be able to resume his career later this year, but in the interim we have two incredible tournament winners ready to challenge for the Bellator World Title. Two of the best on the planet in Joe Warren and Rafael Silva will fight for the title and when Dantas is able to return, he will challenge the winner for the undisputed Bellator World Title.”
This is the second time that Dantas has been forced to pull out of a potential title defense as he was scheduled to defend the title against Silva late last year. He would end up returning in March and defeated Anthony Leone by submission. He admitted that he is not feeling right at this time.
“This is setback for me,” Dantas said. “I’m not feeling right at the moment, but I am a fighter and have been a fighter since my childhood and I promise that I will be back stronger than ever. I want to thank Bjorn and Bellator for taking care of me during this process, for flying me across the world to get top specialists to see me. And, when I am ready to fight, I will show everyone once again why the belt has been wrapped around my waist.”
Warren (10-3) won the season nine bantamweight tournament and will be looking to become the first fighter in Bellator history to win a title in two different weight classes. Since dropping down to the bantamweight division, he has won three fights in a row and his last two wins have come by stoppage in the second round.
“It doesn’t matter which Brazilian they throw at me, I’m going to destroy who is ever across the cage from me,” Warren said. “It sucks Dantas got injured as I was focused on destroying him and taking his belt. But, now I’ll destroy Silva and Dantas can try to come and take my belt.”
Silva (21-3) has won thirteen fights in a row and won the 2013 Summer Series tournament with a decision win over Leone in the final. He was scheduled to face Dantas in March, but an injury forced him to pull out of the fight. He has recovered from his injury and is excited for this opportunity.
“I’m healthy, and I’m ready to fight,” Silva proclaimed. “I know Warren always likes to talk, but this fight isn’t going to be about talking, it’s going to be about who is the better fighter, and everyone is going to see who that is on May 2nd. I’ve always wanted to face Dantas, and now Joe Warren is in my way. I’ll take care of that shortly.”
The current fight card for Bellator 118 is below.
Main Card: (Spike TV – 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Rafael Silva (21-3) vs. Joe Warren (10-3)
Andrey Koreshkov (15-1) vs. Sam Oropeza (11-2) *
Marcos Galvao (15-6-1) vs. Thomas Vasquez (7-0)
Liam McGeary (6-0) vs. Mike Mucitelli (6-0) **
Preliminary Card: (Spike.com – 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
Gemiyale Adkins (8-6) vs. Dante Rivera (15-7)
Jesus Martinez (8-5) vs. Ryan Contaldi (7-7)
Tim Woods (6-4) vs. Eugene Fadiora (13-1)
Joe Pingitore (4-1-1) vs. Darrion Caldwell (4-0)
Jay Haas (11-13) vs. Lester Caslow (11-9)
Julian Lane (6-3-1) vs. Anthony Morrison (18-10) #
Mike Bannon (5-1) vs. Sidney Outlaw (2-0)
Amran Aliyev (3-2) vs. Kevin Roddy (13-15-1)