Darrion Caldwell (9-1) will take on Joe Taimanglo (23-6) in a rematch of what bookmakers said was the fourth-biggest upset in MMA history. Taimanglo handed Caldwell his first career defeat back at Bellator 159 in July with a third-round submission victory after losing the first two rounds. Unfortunately, any title aspirations Taimanglo may have harboured were severely hamstrung due to him missing weight in that first contest. The two will run it back in an immediate rematch in the main event of Bellator 167.
“He wasn’t surprising at all,” says Caldwell, “It was just a lapse, Joe got lucky and took advantage of an opportunity. If you ask me it’s probably the biggest upset in MMA history. A fighter like that should never beat me.
“I asked for the rematch,” he adds, “I didn’t think there was a better fight than the Joe Taimanglo fight. I’ve made a change with my training. You’ll see the difference come December 3rd.”
There are always suspicions when a promoter books an immediate rematch that the initial result was not the desired one. Caldwell is good with the media, relatively young, has an incredible amateur wrestling pedigree and was undefeated coming off a dominant first-round finish over Joe Warren entering the bout in July. Cynics may think Bellator see more upside in Caldwell.
“I think they want the best guy to be the champion, if that means us fighting a rematch then that is what it is,” Caldwell says, “I don’t think Joe should have ever even sniffed my jockstrap. I’ve made adjustments and I’ll go out there and show them off.
“The most brilliant thing anyone who’s competed has ever said is that ‘you lose, you learn,’” he added.
Funnily enough, Joe Warren, who was submitted by Caldwell in a one-sided performance only in March, will fight Eduardo Dantas for the Bellator bantamweight title at Bellator 166, which takes place the night before 167. If he’s successful against Taimanglo, Caldwell will surely be keeping a close eye on that fight.
“Yeah it stings because I know I’m better than my last fight,” says Caldwell, “I should be the champ by now but this makes sense because I did lose. I can’t fight for a title coming off a loss, and he [Taimanglo] can’t fight for a title after missing weight.
“I really don’t care who I fight,” he adds, “Whenever you beat someone, you think you can beat them again so that’s something that would be in my mind if I fight Joe. I beat him before so I can beat him again. Whoever I’m lined up against, I feel very confident and just ready to go.”
Caldwell also expressed his satisfaction at the steps Bellator were taking in 2016, specifically in the recruitment of the ‘Fab Five;’ Aaron Pico, Ed Ruth, Tyrell Fortune, Jarod Trice and Joey Davis. He also stated his interest in an undercard spot of the upcoming Emelianenko/Mitrione event, ideally as a co-main event for the bantamweight title.
“I definitely want to fight on that card,” says Caldwell, “You always watched the Emperor. If you’re a fighter you have a lot of respect for the Emperor. Matt Mitrione will put on a show too, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Fedor come back into that cage. I think that would be a great opportunity. The eyes are going to be focused on that fight because we want to see Fedor’s comeback and those eyes tuning in, they’ll get to see what the future has in store.
“I think Bellator are doing a phenomenal job with the way they’re going compared to 5 years ago,” he says, “These guys are the best junior guys in the world and I think they’re gonna do a phenomenal job in the next 5 years for Bellator. I’m excited to see Jarrod Trice, he’s fighting on December 3rd. I know he can scrap, he’s a guy who really wants to be the best and he’s really putting the time in. He’s a young guy, full of hope and I’m really excited to watch his development in the sport. I think Bellator, with that whole ‘Fab-Five’ crew, have really done a great job. I think that this is the greatest organisation in the world. I think they’ve been very strategic with what they’ve been doing since Scott Coker took over.”
Caldwell had a straightforward, simple prediction for how his bout with Taimanglo is going to look this time round.
“It’s gonna look like Joe’s drank a fifth of vodka by himself,” he says, “I think it’s gonna look like this guy is intoxicated.”
Catch Bellator 167: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo 2 on Saturday, December 3rd.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths Added to Bellator 200
A reality television star finally gets his shot and it couldn’t be on much bigger of a stage. Scott Coker and the Bellator promotion announced almost two weeks ago, the organizations milestone event, Bellator 200, would take place in London, England. In the weeks and days following the initial news, fights such as Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop, and Phil Davis vs. Linton Vassell became post-humorous additions. Today, promotion officials announced Aaron Chalmers makes a highly anticipated return when he takes on Ash Griffiths, in his promotional debut at the milestone event.
Along with the initial announcement of the event, Bellator officials also announced the first two fights booked to Bellator 200. The first of which matches Gegard Mousasi against Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho. Mousasi, formerly of the UFC, made a high-profile exit from his former employers to sign with Scott Coker (former Strikeforce CEO) and Bellator. His opponent, Rafael Carvalho, is the 3x defending Bellator Middleweight champion. Carvalho defeated fighters such as, Melvin Manhoef (2x), Brandon Halsey, and Alessio Sakara during his reign claiming and defending the title. The second match up includes British star, Michael ‘Venom’ Paige, as he makes his return to the Bellator cage against David Rickels.
With the addition of Aaron Chalmers to Bellator 200, two British stars now grace the card. Two British stars in two different avenues. Michael ‘Venom’ Paige is one of the biggest fighting stars in the country. Of course, Heavyweight Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua tops the list of famous fighters but Paige is on similar career trajectory, as his star only continues to grow. For Aaron Chalmers, his fighting talent did not give rise to the nature of his celebrity.
Before his professional career even began, Aaron Chalmers was cast to and appeared on the 8th season of the British reality television show, Geordie Shore. In case of ignorance to the English reality television scene, Geordie Shore is a reality television series based on the American reality series, Jersey Shore. The plot of which is essentially; Fit, and outgoing young adults move into a home in the city of Newcastle together for the Summer. As bland as that may seem, Aaron Chalmers is a recurring cast-member of the ongoing MTV show.
Chalmers professional MMA career began nearly one year ago. His first pro bout came in May of 2017, at BAMMA 29. At the event, he faced Greg Jenkins whom he defeated via submission by Americana, 2:12 into the opening round. Overall, Chalmers fought three times professionally, winning each contest. Largely, the reality television start hasn’t spent much time in the cage as a pro. His first win, took him deeper into the fight than the two following match-ups. His second and third bouts, (both for BAMMA) ended by KO/TKO inside the first minute of the opening round. At BAMMA 31, Chalmers defeated Alex Thompson by KO in 30 seconds. While his most recent bout against Karl Donaldson at BAMMA 33, also ended by KO/TKO. This time the referee ended the action 43 seconds into the fight.
Chalmers opponent, Ash Griffiths, had a much different path to this point. Griffiths followed a traditional journey as he did not supplant his training for appearances on a large reality TV network. While he remained focused on MMA, it did not translate into recent success. The British fighter currently finds himself in the midst of four consecutive loses, including his Bellator debut. This streak comes after he started his pro career successfully, etching a record of 4-2. Currently, his record sits slightly under a .500 win percentage at 4-6. A win for Griffiths seems necessary in order to stay within the ranks of the Bellator roster.
Bellator 200 takes place at the historic SSE Arena (Formerly known as the Wembley Arena) on May 25th. SSE Arena is the second largest indoor venue in London, holding 12,500 seats.
Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July
With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event.
It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.
The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.
Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.
The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.
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