Things did not go as planned for the first leg of Bellator’s doubleheader weekend.
On Friday night at Bellator 215 in Uncasville, Conn., Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov were supposed to face off in a heavyweight slugfest that would get fans excited for Bellator 216 on Saturday night. Instead, the fight was was stopped in its tracks when at the start of the fight, Mitrione threw an inside leg kick that missed its mark and landed squarely in the groin of Kharitonov. The strike was so bad that Kharitonov was left writhing in pain on the floor and rendered unable to continue, causing the bout to be declared a no-contest just fifteen seconds in, ending the night on a sour note.
Things weren’t much better in the co-main event, where Logan Storley kept his undefeated record in tact, winning a lackluster unanimous decision over Ion Pascu. The fight incited numerous boos from the fans as Pascu was unable to keep Storley from employing his prodigious wrestling talents and Storley was likewise unable to do too much damage to the crafty Pascu. In the end, Storley won every round on the judges’ cards and moved to 5-0 in Bellator, putting himself in position for step up to the upper echelon of the 170-pound division.
In a feature bantamweight fight, Eduardo Dantas rebounded from the devastating leg injury in his last fight to take a unanimous decision over Toby Misech. It was a highly forgettable fight without much action, but Dantas controlled what little there was with his superior grappling acumen. The win moved the former two-time champion to 21-6 and puts him back in contention in the bantamweight division.
In the first round, Dantas controlled the action with a strong top game, controlling position and threatening with a good kimura attempt. The boo birds came out in the second round as both men spent much of the round staring at each other on the feet until Dantas was finally able to secure a takedown and back control.
Elsewhere on the card, Mike Kimbel suffered the first defeat of his career when John Douma submitted him with a first-round triangle choke. After a feeling out process early in the fight, Kimbel surprised the crowd by taking Douma down with a high-amplitude slam. That was just what Douma wanted though as he was able to take advantage of Kimble’s over-aggressiveness on the floor and lock in a triangle choke. Kimbel attempted to slam his way out of the choke but all he did was sink the lock in tighter and Kimbel was forced to tap at 2:51 of the first round.
In the opening bout of the evening, Austin Vanderford had a near perfect Bellator debut, submitting Cody Jones with an arm-triangle choke in the first round. Vanderford wasted little time, taking Jones down early and grinding him down with punches before transitioning to back control and then the fight ending submission. The win moved Vanderford to 7-0 in his career and sets him up as a fighter to watch going forward.