Warren, a world-class wrestler who burst onto the MMA scene last year with a win over the legendary Kid Yamamoto in Japan, demonstrated that he's one of the best up-and-comers in the sport. And Karakhanyan gave Bellator another impressive knockout for its lengthy highlight reel.
Warren needed only about 10 seconds to take Marriott down, and during the early part of the first round it looked like he'd use that wrestling ability and his superior strength to dominate Mariott from the top. But Marriott looked very comfortable from the bottom, almost submitted Warren with an arm bar and then got Warren in a deep triangle that almost forced him to tap at the end of the first round.
The second round consisted of more dominance from the top from Warren, only this time Warren was more cautious and didn't give Marriott the chance to attempt any submissions. The second round was less intense and more one-sided for Warren.
Early in the third round, Warren took Marriott down again, and it became clear that Warren was the bigger, stronger and better conditioned athlete. Warren wasn't pretty and he wasn't spectacular, but he was efficient, and he got the win, 30-27 on all three judges' cards.
In the first fight on the televised Bellator card, Karakhanyan knocked out Bao Quach with a pair of vicious knees to the chin from the muay Thai clinch in the first round.
"We've been working on a lot of clinching and throwing knees, so as soon as I got the clinch I was just throwing knee, throwing knee," Karakhanyan said after the fight.
That fight lasted just four minutes, but it contained enough action for three rounds, and both Karakhanyan and Quach deserve a lot of credit for getting the show started right. No one who tuned in to Bellator for the first time on Thursday night turned the channel after the first fight, and on that score, Bellator came out a winner.