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Eduardo Dantas vows to ‘punish’ Joe Warren, put him to sleep at Bellator 166

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Dantas/Warren (Bellator) Bellator

Eduardo Dantas will finally get the fight he was hoping for since 2014, and he expects a one-sided contest at Bellator 166.

“Dudu” will defend his bantamweight title against Joe Warren on Dec. 2, looking to avenge his only loss under the promotion’s banner, and foresees a dominating victory in Friday’s main event in Thackerville.

“I expect a good fight. I’ll enjoy every round,” Dantas told MMA Fighting. “The moment he blinks, he will go down. He already knows that. He’s probably thinking about it right now. I’m in the best shape of my life, in my best moment mentally as well. He’s fighting the best ‘Dudu’ ever. He will suffer a lot. I’m gonna punish him. The moment he blinks, he’s gonna sleep.”

Dantas doesn’t necessarily expects a quick victory. Yet, the Brazilian, who recaptured the 135-pound belt with a dominating win over Marcos Galvao in June, sees a finish in the end.

“I see myself beating him up from round one to round five,” he said. “I’m not in a hurry. The knockout or the submission will come naturally. The only thing I envision is the referee raising my hand and the belt around my waist.”

Warren was the one to take the Bellator belt away from Dantas in 2014. The Nova Uniao fighter campaigned for an immediate rematch against “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” but had to take on Mike Richman first in order to earn a shot at the gold.

Dantas won the fight, but when he got back to the title picture, Warren was no longer the champion.

Two wins in three fights after losing his belt to Marcos Galvao put Warren back into a title fight, and Dantas doesn’t see “a big evolution” in his rival’s game two years later.

“I see the same Joe Warren, always laying and praying,” Dantas said. “I see a small evolution in his wrestling, doing that same boring game he always does. He’s a good wrestler, he does that well, but he hasn’t evolved that much standing and on the ground. He doesn’t knock people out. He doesn’t submit anyone -- he only catches a neck once in a while. Despite the age, he has a good cardio, so he can combine that with his cardio and put on the most boring fights on the planet.”

“On the other hand, my evolution has been constant standing and on the ground,” he continued. “After my fight with him, I started to understand the mindset of a wrestler. I had to breathe wrestling every single day to learn it, and I started to enjoy it. That made me evolve a lot as an athlete and as a man.”

And even though Dantas respects Warren, he feels like he already knows everything is about to happen inside the Bellator cage Friday night.

“I’m a competitor,” he said. “I hate losing in anything, so after that fight I started to look at my mistakes. I made several mistakes in that fight, and I’ve changed a lot since. When they booked this fight, I knew exactly what I had to do to get a different result. I feel like I’m going to a retake test, and I’m about to get an A+ because I studied hard and I know everything I’m about to come.

“I don’t think he’s too ignorant to do the exact same thing. I believe he will try to change a few things, bring something new. He’s not that creative and exciting, but I expect something new from him. But you can be sure that he will try to take me down and to that same game all the time.”