Joe Warren Claims Interim Strap at Bellator 118

Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Cageside Report by Resolution Sports

Bellator MMA returned to Revel Casino in Atlantic City on Friday night, with former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Joe Warren (11-3) becoming the first man in promotional history to claim a title in two divisions.

Joe Warren (11-3) vs Rafael Silva (21-4)
In the main event of the evening, the interim Bellator Bantamweight Championship was on the line, but only for Joe Warren after Rafael Silva failed to make weight. Regardless, the feature bout went on as a five-round contest, with Warren looking to make promotional history.

The opening round of this match was a back-and-forth affair, with both men jockeying for cage control. Around the 1:30 mark, Silva hurt Warren when he landed a flush right uppercut, but the Denver native intelligently responded by throwing a combination and immediately shooting for a takedown. He then maneuvered into top control and aimed to finish off the frame with ground and pound.

In the second stanza, Warren shot early for another takedown, determining that he best strategy for the fight would be to get Silva on the canvas to avoid eating many more shots from his incredibly heavy hands. Initially, Silva was able to sprawl and block many of the attempts, finding a home for his right hand when he was able to keep the action on its feet.

The final three rounds of this pairing played out pretty much the same, with Warren clearly wanting to remain on the ground and avoid exchanging with Silva. Anytime the action returned to the stand-up, Warren immediately shot for the takedown and looked to grind out the remaining 15 minutes by imposing his world class Greco-Roman wrestling.

When all five frames were in the books, Warren proved to have worked the proper strategy, having his hand raise to become the first fighter in Bellator history to win a title in two weight classes. The final scorecards all read 48-47 in his favor.

Andrey Koreshkov (16-1) vs. Justin Baesman (11-3)
Alexander Shlemenko protégé Andrey Koreshkov continued the recent success of their team, with the young Russian needing just 1:41 to dispose of late fill-in Justin Baesman in a semifinal contest on the Bellator Welterweight Tournament.

These two men engaged in some early exchanges after the opening bell, with Koreshkov stalking Baesman as he circled around the edge of the cage. Amid a flurry, the hard-hitting Russian came forward with a flying knee, landing flush on the chin of Baesman and causing him to immediately crumble to the canvas.

Thomas Vasquez (7-1) vs. Marcos Galvao (16-6-1)
Thomas Vasquez came into this pairing with an undefeated resume, but he met stiff competition in veteran Marcus Galvao and had much difficulty in countering the takedowns and grappling of his Brazilian counterpart.

The opening frame of this pairing was pretty much fought on the canvas, with Vasquez unable to get off his back. He then came out in the second round looking to keep range and fight from the outside to avoid going back down to the canvas. He did well over the opening couple of minutes, but Galvao was eventually able to slam him back onto his back and let the action play out the same way as the opening stanza.

The final round was also similar to its predecessors, as Galvao took it to the ground early before making multiple attempts at applying a guillotine choke. Vasquez did well in his defense to avoid any finishes, but he was not able to break free and get to his feet until there were only about 30 seconds remaining in the fight. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to mount much offense in the short time frame available to him.

When the cageside judges were then called upon for their thoughts, it was an unanimous decision in favor of Galvao, securing flush 30-27s on three scorecards.

Mike Mucitelli (6-1) vs. Liam McGeary (7-0)
The opening bout of the main card was over about as quickly as it started, as undefeated light heavyweights Mike Muticelli and Liam McGeary squared off in the Bellator cage. Just after the opening bell, Muticelli stepped forward with a wild right hand, and he was quickly greeted with a brutal left hook that immediately left him crumbling to the canvas. The time of the stoppage was just 22 seconds into the first stanza.

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