MONROE, La. – Thursday night at the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, La., wrestling crossover star Joe Warren (4-1) continued his assault on professional mixed martial arts. Matched up against the much more experienced Georgi Karakhanyan (13-2-1) at Bellator 18, in the semi-finals of their season two featherweight tournament, Warren walked away with the unanimous decision.
Warren used his aggressive wrestling style, ground and pound, and submission defense to take Karakhanyan the distance and win every round. Karakhanyan could not stop Warren as he continued his takedowns round after round, constantly putting Karakhanyan on his back. Once he put Karakhanyan where he wanted him, Warren stayed very active from top position with punches and knees.
Karakhanyan threatened throughout the bout with numerous submission attempts. Armbars, footlocks, and guillotine chokes were all attempted by Karakhanyan. On two specific occassions it looked like the fight might be over as Karakhanyan had Warren locked deep in an armbar, and then again in a guillotine choke.
The Greco-Roman Pan American and World Champion used his strength and technique to escape each and every one of Karakhanyan’s submission attempts. That is no easy feat for a young man who has only been competing in MMA for barely a year.
In the other featherweight semi-final bout at Bellator 18, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (14-0) added another notch to his unbeaten record by defeating former EliteXC Bantamweight Champion Wilson Reis (10-2) with a unanimous decision.
The first round was close with Reis getting the nod for his takedowns, control, and a couple of leg kicks. The second round was also close, but the judges as well as ProMMAnow.com gave the round to Pitbull as Reis looked as though he had begun to fade a bit. Pitbull ended the round standing over Reis and kicking his legs, a position that could easily sway a judge’s decision in a close round.
By the third round, Pitbull had found his niche in this fight, which was his striking. He clearly out-struck Reis with kicks and punches as Reis struggled to find his range. He also scored a big slam which accentuated his win of the round, and ultimately the fight. In the end, all three judges scored it 29-28 for Pitbull.
In the Bellator Season Two Featherweight Tournament Finals, Joe Warren will take on Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. We have already seen how far Warren has advanced with his submission defense. Combine that with his ability to get the fight to the ground and control his opponents once he gets them there, Pitbull is going to have a very tough fight.
On the other hand, Pitbull has a big experience advantage on Warren. He has 14 wins and no losses, and is part of a great camp with Team Nogueira.
Warren’s strength, athleticism, and ability to set up the shot is a dangerous combination. The problem for his opponents, is he is only getting better and shows marked improvement with each new bout. Will Warren be able to ride the momentum all the way to the Bellator Season Two Featherweight Tournament Championship bank?
Stay tuned to ProMMAnow.com for the date, location, and other information regarding the Bellator Season Two Featherweight Tournament Finals coming up in June.