For Eduardo Dantas it's the same date, but a new opponent. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
A knee injury has forced Rafael Silva to withdraw from his upcoming bantamweight title bid at Bellator 111.
Eduardo Dantas will instead put his gold on the line against Anthony Leone, who lost to Silva in the final of Bellator’s 2013 Summer Series tournament. Bellator officials attempted to book Dantas against Season 9 tournament winner Joe Warren, but the former Greco-Roman world champion was also unavailable to compete due to a knee issue.
“It was really hard to have to Bjorn [Rebney] call me and have to turn down a fight, but my knee just isn’t at a place I’m comfortable with, and my timeline has always been to get back in the cage in May,” Warren stated in a release.
Bellator 111 takes place March 7 at Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and will also feature the opening round of Bellator’s Season 10 heavyweight tournament, showcasing former kickboxing standouts Peter Graham and Siala-Mou Siliga, as well as ex-Bellator titlist Alexander Volkov and UFC alumnus Lavar Johnson.
Leone, 26, saw a four-fight winning streak snapped by Silva this past October, when he dropped a unanimous decision to the Brazilian at Bellator 102. Prior to that setback, the Team Bombsquad rep notched split decision wins over Claudio Ledesma and ex-champion Zach Makovsky before choking out Frank Baca to advance in the four-man Summer Series draw.
Dantas captured the belt by putting Makovsky to sleep with an arm-triangle in 2012 but suffered a knockout defeat to current World Series of Fighting talent Tyson Nam at Shooto Brazil 33 later that year. “Dudu” rebounded from the loss in his last outing, however, knocking out Marcos Galvao roughly one year ago at Bellator 89.