Paul Daley hails Erick Silva's durability, but says ref should have stopped the fight

LONDON – Paul Daley is back in the win column after a spectacular performance against Erick Silva in the main event of Bellator 223. The knockout finish wasn’t quite there for the heavy-handed Brit (41-17-2 MMA, 7-4 BMMA), but it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying, as Silva (20-11 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) proved to be a remarkably durable opponent in a bout that turned into a three-round firefight at The SSE Arena.

“He has a fantastic chin,” Daley told reporters backstage after his victory. “I’ve seen numerous fights where he’s been hit with one big shot and goes down, and I thought that’s what was going to happen tonight.”

Daley explained that his slight reach advantage played a part in the contest, cheekily framing it thus: “In another interview, I said it’s about inches, and I said I had more inches than him. I had the bigger length,” he grinned.

“I think it showed tonight. I had the bigger length, so I just had a little bit more in the tank, and I got the victory.”

Clearly delighted to have picked up a win – and to do so in such entertaining fashion – Daley paid tribute to Silva for his durability and admitted there was a brief moment of frustration when referee Mike Beltran didn’t stop the fight during the height of his dominance during the contest.

“I like Mikey Beltran,” Daley said. “When he came to the dressing room and said he was going to ref the fight, I was like, ‘Thank you!’ because I know he likes a tear-up. He likes a good fight, so I was like, ‘Yeah. This is going to be interesting.’ But I thought he would have stopped the fight, the way (Silva) went to the ground and I was on him, hitting him with big, big shots.

“Credit to Erick Silva; he recovered well, and I don’t know where it came from, because all his other fights where he’s been stopped, it’s been one punch, two punches, and he sort of just gives up. But I was hitting him with horrible shots, to the head, to the chin, to the body, front kick to the face, spinning elbows, all kinds of (expletive), and he just wouldn’t quit.”

Daley said he was happy to be in such an entertaining fight after his fight with Michael Page didn’t deliver on the pre-fight hype. Suggesting he and his fellow countryman just make for “a bad matchup for the fans,” Daley talked down a possibility of a rematch with “MVP” and instead hinted that a different rematch could be more likely as he considers his options moving forward.

“I’m an honest guy, and I don’t really have to do it, but Lorenz Larkin was quite disappointed in the fact that he got knocked out the fashion that he did (by Daley at Bellator 183 in September 2017).

“I promised him backstage. He was practically in tears when he came to the changing room – and not to embarrass him, but to show you why – I said ‘Look, I’ll give you the rematch.’

“And I’d like to be a man of honor and honor that. I think he won his last fight, so if it was interesting and Bellator thought it was interesting. … I wouldn’t feel bad about giving him the rematch, because I said I would.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 223, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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