Bellator 111: Anthony Leone to Challenge Eduardo Dantas After Rafael Silva Withdraws
By FCF Staff
Bellator has announced that Eduardo Dantas will not defend his bantamweight title versus Rafael Silva on March 7th as scheduled, as the latter has suffered a knee injury and will be unable to compete. Replacing Silva will be recent tourney finalist Anthony Leone, who faced Silva in October and lost by unanimous decision.
“This was a difficult process with Silva suffering injury, but when we considered all our options, we felt like this decision made the most sense,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney relayed in a press release from the promotion. “After we heard the news on Silva, we immediately made the call to our other Bantamweight Tournament winner Joe Warren. Joe informed us he was still rehabbing a previous knee injury and would be unable to compete on the March 7th card, but he will be 100% ready to go for his originally scheduled fight in May.”
“It’s always our goal to keep our fighters as busy as possible, and we didn’t want Eduardo sitting on the sidelines. With our Tournament Champion Replacement Clause in place, we contacted Anthony and are moving full steam ahead with our Bantamweight Title fight on March 7th to headline a huge night of fights.”
“It was really hard to have to Bjorn call me and have to turn down a fight, but my knee just isn’t at a place I’m comfortable with, and my timeline has always been to get back in the cage in May,” Warren said. “You know ‘The Baddest Man On The Planet’ will step in against anyone, and it would have been nice to take that belt away from Dantas a few months early, but I’m going to heal up, train like a madman, and whoever has that belt come May, they better shine it up for me, I’m taking it home.”
Prior to facing Silva, Leone (13-6) had won four straight, which included a split decision win over Zach Makovsky.
Dantas (15-3) is coming off a KO win over Marcos Galvao last February, after he was stopped by Tyson Nam while competing for Shooto Brazil in 2012.
Here is the updated line-up for the March 7th card, which will be hosted by the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Bantamweight Title Fight: Eduardo Dantas (15-3) vs. Anthony Leone (13-6)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Ryan Martinez (10-3) vs. Lavar Johnson (17-8)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Peter Graham (9-6) vs. Mighty Mo (5-2)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Alexander Volkov (19-4) vs. Mark Holata (12-4)
Heavyweight Tournament Opening Round: Blagoi Ivanov (9-0) vs. Rich Hale (21-6)
Middleweight Feature Fight: Daniel Miller (4-1) vs. Cortez Coleman (9-5)
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Javy Ayala (6-3) vs. Eric Prindle (8-4)
Catchweight Feature Fight (190 lbs): Emeliano Sordi (12-4) vs. Matt Jones (4-6)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Brent Primus (4-0) vs. Chris Jones (8-2)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Treston Thomison (7-1) vs. Stephen Banaszak (2-1)