Chris Honeycutt (Photo/Bellator)
It was a mixed night for former amateur wrestling stars, with NCAA Division I finalist Chris Honeycutt winning a unanimous decision at middleweight, while Greco-Roman grappler Joe Warren lost his bid to claim the bantamweight title in the main event at Bellator 166 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma, Friday night.
In a battle of past wrestlers from Pennsylvania schools, Honeycutt, a two-time NCAA All-American at Edinboro University, defeated Ben Reiter, former University of Pennsylvania letterman.
"Chris Honeycutt brought a rowdy Thackerville crowd to their feet throughout the course of a one-sided middleweight affair," is how MMAWeekly.com opened its report on the 185-pound bout over Reiter, with the judges scoring it 30-26, 30-25, and 30-25.
"The 28-year-old American used his wrestling both offensively and defensively to win the fight," according to MMAFighting.com "There was very little action on the feet with not many significant strikes thrown, but when it came to the ground, Honeycutt's wrestling dominated the action. There was also a lot of inactivity from Reiter which caused the decision on the judges' cards to be very one-sided."
Honeycutt, who was runner-up at 197 pounds for the Fighting Scots at the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, is now 9-1-0 in his pro MMA career, while Reiter falls to 17-3-1.
In the main event, Eduardo Dantas defeated Joe Warren to remain Bellator's bantamweight champion, not only successfully defending his 135-pound title, but also becoming the first man to defeat the former Greco-Roman wrestler in a decision.
The judges scored it a majority decision for Dantas, 47-47, 49-44, 48-46.
MMAInsight wrote that Dantas"snuffed out his opponent's wrestling threat, picking him apart with measured offense of the feet."
"Warren didn't seem to be able to find his rhythm or an answer to Dantas' crisp jabs and powerful leg kicks all throughout the five rounds," MMAFighting.com reported."Dantas picked apart Warren with confidence and defended almost all his takedown attempts. In round five, the Brazilian was deducted a point after landing a second kick to Warren's groin, but that wasn't enough to stop Dantas from winning in the score cards."