TORONTO - Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo (Dudu) Dantas will defend his title against Marcos (Loro) Galvao, but whether or not the fight happens on Canadian soil is still up in the air.
The two were announced for Bellator 79 in Rama, Ont. Nov. 2, but the bout could be scrapped due to Dantas’ recent KO loss to Tyson Nam.
While Galvao was battling his way through last season’s bantamweight tournament, Dantas was given permission to fight for a smaller promotion.
The 23-year-old standout met Nam in the main event of Shoot Brazil 33 Aug. 25. In a stunning upset, the American capitalized on Dantas’ over-aggression, flattening him with a violent right-hook that spelled the end of the fight.
According to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, Dantas is still suffering from the effects of the knockout punch.
“Never as a promoter or as a human being — you never want to see guys get knocked out in quite that way,” Rebney said over the phone. “That was a very, very dramatic knockout. There’s been some lingering issues and repercussions from it for him from a physiological perspective that we’re keeping our eyes very closely pinned on.
“I’m probably a bit more hyper-protective than most in terms of head injuries ... My major concern right now is Dantas — his recuperation, his ability to train full-time and spar.”
Rebney said all indications from trainers at Nova Uniao point to Dantas making the date with Galvao, but that he has ordered further tests.
“We’ve had a series of discussions,” Rebney said. “It’s always one I like to have with trainers and managers, as well as having it with the fighters. Part of what makes mixed-martial-arts fighters what they are is an amazing amount of confidence and an amazing willingness to believe that their bodies are virtually indestructible. It takes a very unusual breed of cat to do what mixed martial artists do. It’s a level of courage, a level of pain tolerance and willingness to take risks that we don’t see in really any other athletes on Earth.
“So talking with Eduardo Dantas ... you’re going to get the response that, ‘I can charge through walls, I can overcome anything and I’m fine.’
“I’ve talked to his trainers, I’ve talked to people who work with him and the response has been good. But like I said, I always like to be more safe ... and get more tests done. I’d rather spend the time, energy and money double- and triple-checking on something like that. If it’s a shoulder or a knee, I will defer to the fighters and trainers 100 out of 100 times. But when it comes to head injuries, I think you have to take additional steps.”
Rebney expects to have results from Dantas’ neurologist next week. He will then decide whether or not the fight with Galvao will occur at Casino Rama. However, he admits he has no problem postponing the bout since Bellator 79 features a strong undercard.
“We’ve got (Edmonton welterweight) Ryan Ford fighting, obviously,” Rebney said. “He’s going to be fighting Christopher Curtis, which should be a good fight. Douglas Lima is going to be fighting on the televised portion of the show, against Jacob Ortiz, who’s 13-3 out of Scottsdale, Ariz. and is a very talented striker. So that should be a fun fight.
“We’ve got the Richard Hale fight versus Thiago Santos, in our heavyweight tournament semi-final. Marcus (Lelo) Aurelio will be on the show — the unbelievable Brazilian jiu jitsu, capoeira fighter, who has got some very cool KO highlights. So there’s a lot of cool stuff on the show.
“The bottom line is we’ve got some great fights on this show. We just want to be absolutely sure and check on Dantas. All indications now are that things are good, but it’s always one of those things I like to double- and triple-check.”
Bellator is also working to secure a work visa for British striker Paul Daley, who is rumoured to face Kyle Baker.