April 30, 2018

Bellator 198: Dillon Danis' MMA And Bellator Debut Went As Expected

By Adam Martin

The opening bout of Saturday night's Bellator 198 card featured BJJ sensation Dillon Danis' much-anticipated mixed martial arts debut. The submission specialist talked a big game in interviews and on social media in the lead-up to his MMA and Bellator debut and it divided fans, with some feeling like he was funny and witty and some feeling like he was just a bad Conor McGregor clone. Either way, Bellator made a big splash by signing him and obviously they are all-in on him, as the promotion booked him in the opening main card bout against unknown Kyle Walker in what was a squash match the entire time, with oddsmakers pegging Danis as a 10-to-1 favorite.

The bout started off with Danis circling around Walker looking for an opening to get the fight to the ground, but he got caught with a couple of looping overhand lefts from the underdog. It didn't take long, however, for Danis to latch onto Walker, and once he got ahold of his opponent the fight was all but over. Danis pulled guard, got the fight to the ground, and worked off the bottom, first locking up Walker's body in guard and then sweeping him over and into a kneebar submission before latching on a toe hold for the tap. Overall it was a very successful MMA and Bellator debut for Danis, who told Bellator announcer John McCarthy in the post-fight interview that he was bringing a "different level" of submissions to this sport. He later called out Ben Askren, but we all know that isn't happening. Still, there's no doubt it as a successful debut for Danis.

Just 24, Danis has the potential to be a really good MMA fighter, especially if he can improve his striking. We already knew he had solid grappling credentials, and based on what we saw in this fight against Walker, we can say that Danis is going to have some success with his submissions in MMA. But we have seen many BJJ fighters come into MMA in the past, and not all of them have been successful. The difference is being able to strike, because this is mixed martial arts and you can't just be a one-trick pony. We definitely did not see anything good out of Danis in the striking department in this fight against Walker, but to be fair to him, he got the fight to the ground so he didn't have to show that side of his game. In order to be a great MMA fighter, however, Danis will have to show that he can strike, and until we see that aspect of his game, it's hard to say how much potential he has in the sport. But his submission ability keeps his ceiling relatively high.

Clearly Danis is very confident in his abilities, as we saw once again with his callout of Askren, and Bellator obviously really likes him, as demonstrated by giving him a prominent card placement on a massive card featuring Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir in the main event. The MMA world got to see him fight on the big stage, and so far, so good. Danis did what he expected, taking out a lesser opponent in dominant fashion and showing few flaws in his overall game in what was a quick victory. We still have to see more though, and it would be nice if Bellator gave him a fighter with a winning record for his next fight, but so far Danis has done what's expected from him. Now we'll see if he can go above and beyond that, or if he really is just a little guy who talks a big game.


Bellator 198: Fedor vs. Mir took place April 28, 2018 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.


Click HERE for more Bellator 198 Post-Fight Analysis


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