Darrion Caldwell delivered as promised in his first Bellator bantamweight title defense.
The Alliance MMA man vowed to put Leandro Higo away in under a round, and walked the walk with a guillotine choke that secured the tapout at the 2:36 mark in Bellator 195's closer in Thackerville, Okla. on Friday.
Caldwell’s first successful defense of the crown he stripped from Eduardo Dantas by unanimous decision in October extended his win streak to three and his Bellator record to 9-1.
The pair of bantamweights staged a glorified staring contest to open the tilt, but a takedown Caldwell scored two minutes in marked the beginning of the end for the challenger, as the champ needed mere seconds to put the squeeze on Higo from the Brazilian's half-guard for the fifth first-round submission victory of his career.
Higo’s first tapout loss brought him below .500 in three walks to the Bellator cage.
In the bill’s bantamweight co-headliner, Joe Taimanglo outlasted the ever-gritty Joe Warren for a split decision that got him back in the win column. Kristina Williams outstruck former women’s flyweight title challenger Emily Ducote and ex-four-division King of the Cage champion Juan Archuleta schooled featherweight William Joplin to claim split and unanimous verdicts, respectively, on the main card’s opening matchups.
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