Darrion Caldwell Captures Bantamweight Gold at Bellator 184

Darrion Caldwell Captures Bantamweight Gold at Bellator 184”

Former NC State wrestler Darrion Caldwell won the Bellator MMA bantamweight championship on Friday night. After getting the better of Teixeira throughout the fight, the judges gave Curran a unanimous nod with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 30-26.

Caldwell, who'd most recently avenged his sole career loss by beating Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 167, wrestled his way to his career's biggest win yet.

The title shot was originally planned for April, but Caldwell suffered an undisclosed injury, which resulted in the five-month delay.

Here is how the fight went down, round-by-round, including FanSided's scoring.

Wow! Both guys need to be separated before the official introductions, yet they touch gloves after instructions. While the fight won't likely make anyone's "Fight of the year" lists, Caldwell did what he needed to do in order to wear Dantas down and gain the unanimous decision victory. Caldwell charges in and has a body lock around Dantas while on his back. A huge belly to back overhead suplex from Caldwell. Caldwell once again kept the pressure. Referee has seen enough of the Caldwell body control and separates the fighters. Caldwell also floored Dantas with a short left elbow late in the round. The horn sounded and it was another clear round for Caldwell.

Round two continued the flashy approach for Caldwell, who used his speed to snatch a leg then managed to get his arms cinched around the waist of Dantas. He rocked Dantas with a lunging elbow. Dantas seems to have recovered but was definitely caught. Dantas moving forward as the round comes to an end. Dantas doing a great job avoiding a lot of these takedowns.

Caldwell threw out a kick and a knee early in the second stanza. A unusual scramble takes place, looks like a possible illegal knee as well, but Jason Herzog lets it continue. Later in the round a scramble would see Dantas on top, working from half guard. The champion looking to mount but can't quite get it.

Both guys are exhausted as the championship rounds are underway. A tentative start for the first 45-seconds before Caldwell lands a takedown. A scramble leads to Dantas taking Caldwell's back. Back to the center of the cage, Caldwell landed some good left hooks before the round ended. A cut formed above the eye of Dantas. Holding on to Dantas as they got back up, he added a few knees, and fought to hold on to his grip as the champion worked to pry his hands apart. However, the champion soon found Caldwell's hands once again clutched around his waist.

Darrion Caldwell looks to be five minutes away from becoming a world champion. Flying knee by the challenger after Dantas waves him along. A body kick was there for Dantas. Caldwell remaining patient, picking his shots. However, early in round four Caldwell had presence of mind to go back to the well, score another takedown and again cinch his hands around Dantas' waist. While the champ landed a few strikes and exerted some control over Caldwell in the ground, ending the bout wrapped around the challenger's back, he ran out of time to find the title-saving finish. They exchange to end the round.

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