Bellator 55 took place tonight (Oct. 22) in Yuma, Arizona featuring the semifinals of the season five bantamweight tournament, which saw Alexis Vila and Eduardo Dantas advance to the finals with split decision wins.
The card also marked the first time a Bellator champion lost in a non-title feature fight, as light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu lost to journeyman Travis Wiuff. Meanwhile, TUF 8 champion Efrain Escudero won his unaired prelim.
Vila wins extremely narrow decision against Galvao
Cuban Olympian Alexis Vila won a very narrow decision over Marcos Galvao in tonight’s main event (pictured). The decision, which had some wrongly calling foul, was one of the tighter decisions in recent memory.
Both fighters were tenative throughout the first round with a brief Vila takedown likely securing a round where a score of 10-10 would be discouraged due to the tournament format. The second round saw more of the same early before Galvao finally got in rhythm at the end of the round, likely winning the only definitive round of the fight.
The third round was the most contentious round of the fight. While Galvao again showed a strong sprawl and pressed forward the majority of the round, Vila landed more strikes in third while Galvao missed the majority of his strikes.
In the end, the judges could have gone either way with Galvao or Vila. The bout lacked the explosive action usually synonymous with bantamweights but delivered in the end. Vila, who was rumored to have a high fever at weigh-ins, will look to recover and prepare for his finals bout.
Dantas edges West
This semifinal was a surprising split decision win for Nova União product Eduardo Dantas. The decision was only surprising in that it was a split decision, as Dantas controlled the majority of the bout with Ed West.
Dantas power and speed were a hard to solve puzzle for Ed West through out the bout. While West was close to being finished a few times in the bout, he rallied each time. Dantas had the lead headed to the third, where he seemed to take his foot off the gas and try to cruise to a victory. While West did a good job of attacking in that round, it was too little too late for former bantamweight title challenger.
Wiuff upsets Bellator light-heavyweight champion M’Pumbu
A bit of dubious history was made tonight as Bellator light-heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu became the first Bellator champion to lose in a non-title feature fight to Travis Wiuff. The bout was really a treatise on why it is important for some fighters to consider weight cuts as the much larger Wiuff used his definitive wrestling advantage to ground the much smaller M’Pumbu. The highlight of the fight came in the second, as Wiuff used a strong powerbomb to power his way out of a nearly locked triangle choke. The bout was not one-sided however with M’Pumbu nearly finishing an exhausted Wiuff in the third round, but Wiuff rallied to score a takedown a powerful strikes to keep the fight from ending in a draw.
M’Pumbu retains his title since it was not a title fight but may have to face Wiuff again with the belt on the line. Wiuff, who cut 65 pounds to make 205, gained entrance into the upcoming Bellator light-heavyweight tournament with his 65th career victory.
M’Pumbu is a talented fighter who may have to seriously consider cutting weight for the first time in his career. While M’Pumbu has dealt with the size disadvantage for the majority of his career, he even holds a win over Stefan Struve, he has been dwarfed by the last few 205’s he has faced.
Tirloni crushes Gable in the opener
Ricardo Tirloni crushed Steve Gable from start to finish in their opening fight of the night. The BJJ blackbelt held off the wrestler’s takedown attempts for the majority of the fight and showed some explosive striking that stunned Gable multiple times. In the end, Gable quickly relented to a crushing rear naked choke applied by Tirloni.
Main Card Results (MTV2 and EPIX2 HD)
- Bantamweight Semifinal – Alexis Vila defeats Marcos Galvao via split decision (27-30,29-28,29-28)
- Bantamweight Semifinal – Eduardo Dantas defeats Ed West via split decision (28-29,29-28,30-27)
- Light-heavyweight (non-title) – Travis Wiuff defeats Christian M’Pumbu (c) via unanimous decision (30-27,29-28,29-28)
- Lightweight – Ricardo Tirloni def. Steve Gable via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:54 of Round 2
Preliminary Card Results (Spike.com)
- Lightweight – Efrain Escudero defeats Cesar Avila via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:55 of Round 1*
- Catchweight (210lbs) – Richard Hale defeats Carlos Flores via knockout at 0:18 of Round 1
- Middleweight – Kobe Ortiz defeats Edgar Garcia via knockout at 4:06 of Round 1
- Lightweight – Erin Beach defeats Roscoe Jackson via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:52 of Round 1
- Featherweight – Jade Porter defeats Nick Piedmont via unanimous decision
- Middleweight – Steve Steinbeiss defeats Dano Moore via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:52 of Round 1