Bellator: Danis cruises to second professional win
Bellator 222 at Madison Square Garden in New York played host to an eventful night of fights on Friday night — including the second professional mixed martial arts outing of the social media outspoken jiu-jitsu phenom that is Dillon Danis.
Danis, now 2-0, once again backed up his online talk, despite the arguably insufficient level of opposition — and whether you like him or not, the one thing you cannot do is dispute the abilities that the SBG Ireland fighter possesses on the ground.
In this highly anticipated bout against Max Humphrey (now 3-3), Danis never really looked in doubt. The New York native successfully secured a smooth double leg after an attempted early striking exchange from Humphrey, and it was really all cruise control from there for “El Jefe” in front of his home crowd.
Once the fight landed on the mat, Humphrey didn’t look like he was too interested in being in there with Danis, but on the other hand, it was an opportunity for the decorated jiu-jitsu specialist to get to work, and show the fans the improvements that he has made since his debut.
Danis went on to immediately take Humphrey’s back, unloading some vicious ground and pound on the 30-year-old, who came into this fight on the back of a TKO loss in July of last year. Very quickly, it became evident that Danis looked more comfortable with his hands this time around, landing some accurate, heavy shots on Humphrey while working on the back position.
It seemed as if a rear naked choke was waiting to happen, but after Humphrey managed to defend his neck quite well, Danis calmly transitioned into an armbar, before shifting his back off the cage and forcing his opponent to tap.
What’s worth noting about the manner of Danis’ victory is just how comfortable he looked at every stage of the fight once it hit the mat. The expression on his face during the transition from the back into the armbar looked as though he was on the mat in the gym, rolling with a sparring partner.
The level of Danis’ ground game is certainly not to be questioned. But with that being said, it is unlikely that he will have shut too many people up with a win over an opponent of Humphrey’s caliber. His record will still show that he is unproven against high-level opposition, and his standup is as much of an unknown as it was prior to his professional debut.
But, credit has to be given where it is due. Danis comfortably took care of the two opponents that were put in front of him so far. It would be unrealistic for him to be thrown into the cage with some of the world’s best mixed martial artists right away. It is a process that will likely take some time, so don’t be surprised if Danis’ next fight is against another opponent with a questionable record.
Despite the fan frustration with the level of opposition matched up against Danis, there really is no need for him to rush into any big fights. Danis is generating so much attention on social media, once again last night after calling out the likes of Jon Jones in his post fight media obligations, that people will tune in to watch his next fight regardless of who is standing across the cage — giving him all the time in the world to polish his striking, and perfect his game ahead of the blockbuster fights that are inevitably coming in the future.
All things considered, Danis is bound to have a successful MMA career on his jiu-jitsu abilities alone. There are not many fighters out there that would be competitive on the mat with the New Yorker, and once his striking improves, it is hard to look past him as a potential future world champion.
Sports journalist currently based in CA, USA.