On Oct. 10, Bellator returns to Thackerville, Okla., at the Winstar World Casino for Bellator 128. The card features a four-fight main card headlined by a bantamweight title fight.
That title fight pits interim champion Joe Warren against champion Eduardo Dantas in an effort to unify the belts. Warren will look to not only solidify his title with a win over the champion, but officially earn a title in two different weight classes.
In the co-main event, welterweight Nah-Shon Burrell takes on undefeated prospect Michael Page. Page’s style of striking and finishing ability make this a fight that fans can’t miss.
Rounding out the main card, there’s a lightweight battle between Alexander Sarnavskiy and Derek Campos, who is filling in for the recently retired John Gunderson, and a middleweight clash featuring Bubba McDaniel and Emiliano Sordi.
Bellator 128’s preliminary card begins on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET. The main card airs on Spike at 9 p.m. ET.
BW Championship: Eduardo Dantas (16-3) vs. Joe Warren (11-3)
This match will finally come to fruition and the bantamweight title will finally be unified. Interim champion Joe Warren looks to become an official, two-division Bellator champion when he faces champ Eduardo Dantas.
Dantas is a great striker and grappler. If the fight stays standing or goes to the ground, Dantas certainly has the confidence and skill to win. He posted a pair of stellar title defenses with his knockout victory over Marcos Galvao and submission victory over Anthony Leone. The Leone fight is especially important to note. Dantas beat Leone in his own game and submitted the wrestler. The Nova Uniao fighter was to defend his title against Warren in May, but he was forced to withdraw with a head injury, thereby allowing Warren to snag the interim title.
Warren is a former NCAA Division I wrestler who just so happens to have developed his striking game. He isn’t as well rounded as Dantas, but he’s by no means one-dimensional. Since dropping from 145 pounds to 135, Warren has shown he is a top fighter in the smaller weight class despite being 37 years old. In a division that can be dominated by fast hands and quick movement, Warren has gone 4-0. In those four wins, he has demonstrated how crafty and dominant he is as a fighter, whether it be in his submission finish of Nick Kirk or his TKO of Travis Marx.
Dantas could certainly knock out Warren. The wrestler had trouble with Pat Curran and Alexis Vila and was eventually knocked out by both men. Dantas will deliver a similar finish, scoring a third-round TKO to once again emerge as the promotion’s undisputed bantamweight champion.
WW: Michael Page (6-0) vs. Nah-Shon Burrell (10-4)
Michael Page will have his skills put to the test against UFC and Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell.
Page’s striking acumen comes from his kickboxing background. The 27-year-old is very unorthodox in his striking, which blends kickboxing with karate and kung fu. Despite his unorthodox approach, Page is lethal on his feet. Six fights into his MMA career, the highly decorated kickboxer has four knockouts and none of his fights have lived to see a second round. Any man who scores a tornado-kick knockout is somebody to watch out for in the striking department.
Page dominated Ricky Rainey in his last fight at Bellator 120. He was able to to outstrike Rainey despite not really taking the fight all that seriously. Page taunted his opponent and dropped his hands numerous times, but he blasted Rainey with ease. That style isn’t a bad thing, but the only guy who has ever pulled it off to perfection throughout his career is Anderson Silva, and it even came back to bite him eventually.
Burrell is going to be a litmus test for Page. The 24-year-old American will allow us to see exactly where the undefeated Brit stands in his career. Burrell is a seasoned veteran of top promotions and has fought some very good fighters, including Stephen Thompson under the UFC banner. He is a boxer who has the stand-up skills to push Page back a bit. We can look back to Burrell’s fight against Thompson for an indication of what we might see when Burrell collides with Page. Thompson is another fighter who has great striking skills and comes from a similar striking background. Thompson took the advantage in that fight with his striking and was able to outpoint Burrell on the way to a unanimous decision victory. Burrell was effectively negated in that fight, and his performance against Thompson doesn’t bode well for his chances against Page.
Page will most likely stick to his unorthodox striking and go down the same path as Thompson. He will keep Burrell uneasy in the cage and eventually clip the UFC veteran. Page by first-round knockout.
MW: Bubba McDaniel (23-8) vs. Emiliano Sordi (12-4)
Bubba McDaniel makes his second appearance for Bellator. It comes against Emiliano Sordi, who will be making his debut for the promotion.
Sordi is an Argentine fighter who has competed on the regional circuit in South America. Most of his fights have ended in finishes, albeit not always in his favor. Only one of his fights has gone to the judges’ scorecards thus far. At 23, Sordi could be looked at as a valuable prospect for Bellator. Anybody with eight wins by some form of knockout and four via submission is certainly somebody to watch. Sordi’s problem, however, is that he hasn’t fought in a year and has done all of his work on smaller shows against lesser competition. Sordi hasn’t had a fight go past the first round since 2012 and, overall, has only had one fight go to the third stanza.
Sordi’s gas tank could certainly be a concern in this fight against someone as experienced as McDaniel. The 31-fight veteran has spent time in the UFC, where he had a lackluster tenure, and competed on The Ultimate Fighter prior to entering the Octagon. His time on the reality show called into question his mental game. McDaniel is a competent striker, but he needs to be wary of Sordi’s hands. One shot could spell the end for McDaniel. Coming from the Jackson’s MMA camp, McDaniel will be ready for this fight and look to exploit Sordi wherever he sees fit. The 31-year-old will certainly have a good game plan in place, and it likely involves taking this fight to the ground and testing Sordi’s gas tank.
McDaniel will outpoint Sordi before working in some groundwork to grind down the young fighter. “The Menace” will find either a submission or decision victory to move his Bellator record to 3-0.
LW: Alexander Sarnavskiy (28-2) vs. Derek Campos (15-3)
Alexander Sarnavskiy returns to Bellator for the first time in a year to face Derek Campos, who is taking the fight on short notice. Originally, John Gunderson was slated to face “Tiger,” but Gunderson opted for retirement instead. Now, Campos will fight for the second time in under a month.
Campos is coming off a victory over Estevan Payan. It took him less than a minute to dispatch of Payan via TKO. With the win, the 26-year-old proved he does have power in his hands. The Mohler MMA product is typically a wrestler with good takedowns, and those takedowns could be a big difference maker in this fight. The question is, just how much of a toll will the short rest between fights take on Campos? His last fight took place on Sept. 26, giving him just two weeks between fights. He didn’t do much work in the cage against Payan, but he could easily face fatigue issues from the short turnaround.
Sarnavskiy could also be hurt by the change in opponents. He was training for Gunderson, but now he’s fighting Campos. A Master of Sport in hand-to-hand combat, the Russian fighter is pretty well rounded. Wherever this fight goes, he will remain a threat. The 25-year-old has a strong submission skill set made obvious by his 17 submission victories. Although he has just five knockouts, his striking abilities cannot be ignored either.
It comes down to whether or not Campos can get this fight to the ground and dominate from the top. Sarnavskiy is a dangerous grappler with good wrestling, though, and even if Campos puts the fight on the mat, the Russian will find a way to pull off the victory.
Sarnavskiy by third-round submission.
Preliminary Card Predictions
LW: Johnny Cottrell (13-3) vs. Johnathan Gary (10-4-2)
Cottrell by second-round submission
WW: William Florentino (5-3) vs. Cortez Coleman (10-6)
Florentino by second-round submission
FW: Treston Thomison (8-2) vs. Cody Walker (3-2)
Thomison by first-round submission
FlyW: Johnathan Martinez (0-0) vs. Brenden Seyler (2-1-1)
Seyler by unanimous decision
LW: Danny Sykora (7-4) vs. Jason Sampson (10-1)
Sampson by unanimous decision
FW: Emmanuel Sanchez (8-1) vs. Stephen Banaszak (3-3)
Sanchez by unanimous decision
MW: Andreas Michailidis (5-1) vs. Jason Butcher (7-1)
Butcher by second-round TKO
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