Bellator 184 has been and gone.
The latest Bellator installment was entertaining but it also changed the landscape of their bantamweight and featherweight divisions dramatically.
What fights should Bellator make after Bellator 184? Here’s our thoughts:
In the main event, Darrion Caldwell took the Bellator Bantamweight Championship away from Eduardo Dantas in a thrilling five-round performance. Caldwell won a clear unanimous decision against Dantas.
After an impressive performance in the cage, Caldwell looks poised to take over bantamweight. His mixed bag of strengths is a testament to the work he’s put in with Alliance. Now that the title is within his grasp, it will be interesting to see how Caldwell reacts to the challenge. I think his first title defense should be against Bellator newcomer Michael McDonald. Taking a win over the former UFC talent will be huge for his goal of ‘legitimizing’ the belt.
Eduardo Dantas will be disappointed after a difficult five round loss. The young Brazilian talent will be looking to continue his growth as a martial artist after Bellator 184. After being outclassed against Caldwell, Dantas has plenty to prove. The Nova Uniao prospect will be looking for a quick turn around for a road back to the title. A rematch with Leandro Higo might be in the cards for a title eliminator bout.
In the co-main event, Emmanuel Sanchez had the best fight of his life and dominated Daniel Straus. Sanchez submitted Straus in the third round with a triangle choke.
If it weren’t for the success of Caldwell in the main event, Emanuel Sanchez would easily be the biggest winner of the night. The Roufussport product has steadily grown his appeal on his three-fight win streak. Looking forward, a run for the title will be solidified with one more big-time win. Pat Curran is the perfect name for that opportunity.
It was a disappointing loss for Straus as Emanuel Sanchez overpowered him. The Bellator veteran may be looking at other avenues with the competition getting stiff at 145. His ability to stay competitive with his fighters spirit is never in question, though. A rebound fight against newly signed Sam Sicilia or Adam Mazzotti may be a good way to get Straus back to his winning ways.
Leandro Higo picked up his first win at Bellator after defeating Joe Taimanglo via unanimous decision.
His relentless road to the title may finally be underway if Michael McDonald doesn’t get his wish upon signing for the promotion. Regardless, a rematch with Eduardo Dantas or a title eliminator with ‘Mayday’ may be in his future.
Pat Curran made his return and put on a clinic against John Teixeira for three rounds. Curran defeated Teixeira by way of unanimous decision.
Depending on the date of his return, he could face a big-time fighter en route to a run for the title. A fight with Emanuel Sanchez would be a personal dream, but the winner of Lozano/Mazzotta seems much more likely.