Darrion Caldwell made it a short night for Leandro Higo, and Caldwell scored his first title defense as Bellator MMA’s bantamweight King.
Heading into Bellator 195, the pressing question was whether Leandro Higo would make weight in his second chance at a title shot in the promotion. He did, and the title fight was on, undoing some of the damage from his miss last year. The next pressing question, then, was whether Darrion Caldwell could continue his success at 135lbs. Like Douglas Lima before him, Caldwell was a ‘Bellator Original’ who was flying under the radar. With Michel McDonald looming in the distance, could he collect a win Friday and pick up the big fight against ‘Mayday?’
It was the champion, Caldwell, holding center early. The pair had an active feeling out period through the first couple of minutes, until Caldwell changed levels and scored the first takedown of the fight. Higo sprung up, but Caldwell powered him back down. He almost immediately put Leandro Higo in a bad spot, awkwardly crammed against the cage. Despite the cramped space, the champ was able to pass to half-guard, briefly to guard, and quickly locked in a guillotine. Higo managed to get back to half-guard, forcing his leg between the pair, but it was too little, too late. He was forced to tap, and Darrion Caldwell had his first successful title defense!
After the fight, Caldwell was adamant that he wouldn’t call anyone out, but would take on all comers.
Darrion Caldwell def. Leandro Higo by submission (guillotine choke), Round 1, 2:36