Marcos Galvao became the Bellator bantamweight champion on March 27, 2015, and he’s finally putting his belt on the line Friday night at Fresno’s Save Mart Center.
"Loro" was previously scheduled to rematch Eduardo Dantas last October and February, but health issues prevented both fighters from competing at those dates. Fifteen months after claiming the 135-pound gold, Galvao enters Bellator 156 anxious to end this chapter of his life once for all.
"This fight should have happened a long time ago," Galvao told MMA Fighting. "He pulled out four times already. I don’t know what’s happening on their side, and I honestly don’t even want to know. I always accepted when Bellator offered me this fight, and I don’t know what’s going on with them. I was always ready when Bellator called me.
"Last time I had a virus infection," he continued. "I was doing great, only had two pounds left to cut, and started to throw up. I wanted to fight, but Bellator sent me to the hospital and doctors told me not to fight."
Dantas officially pulled out of one clash with Galvao, when he was forced out of Bellator 144 with a rib injury. "Loro", who earned a shot at the belt in 2012 after winning a bantamweight tournament, claims that "Dudu" chose to fight Tyson Nam at Shooto Brazil instead of facing him that year.
"We should have fought since that time when he fought Tyson Nam at Shooto Brazil," Galvao said. "I don’t know what happened, but that’s in the past. Let’s focus in the future because this is my time."
Dantas was the Bellator champion when they fought in 2013, but had something to prove after getting knocked out by Nam in Rio de Janeiro. Back to the Bellator cage, he finished Galvao by second-round knockout. "Dudu" and "Loro" were both Nova Uniao fighters at the time, and their friendship was never the same.
"I’m more confident now," said Galvao, who no longer represents Nova Uniao. "Everything that happened in the first fight, it won’t happen again. I won’t fight with my emotions. Everything has changed now. I’m 100 percent mentally and I will do my job, listen to my corners.
"I will defend my belt now. I will defend my family and my fans. I’m going to do my job now, something that I should have done in the first fight."
Coming off one of the biggest wins of his MMA career, a second-round kneebar over Joe Warren to win the 135-pound belt, Galvao believes he can tap anyone bantamweight out there.
"Like in that fight, I can submit anyone," he said. "I tapped Joe Warren and I can tap ‘Dudu’ and anyone in my division. I will get there focused. I know what I have to do."