It was one of the fights of the year, and a fight that showed that Warren, a world-class wrestler, also has an incredible chin and powerful striking.
"I had a bad first round," Warren said afterward. "I took a deep breath, got my focus back and pushed hard. You can't stop me. I'm the baddest man on the planet."
Soto's striking was a huge problem for Warren in the early going, as he had no trouble at all landing punches to Warren's head, raising his hands to bait Warren to come in and then bashing his face with strikes. Soto absolutely dominated the first round standing up, and it was surprising that Warren was able to stay on his feet as Soto landed punch after punch after punch.
But at the start of the second round Warren drilled Soto with a hard punch that knocked him down, hit him with several more punches on the ground, and then allowed Soto to get back up just long enough for Warren to finish the fight by knocking Soto out with a huge right knee to the chin.
Warren referred to the punch that knocked Soto down at the start of the second as "one of the hardest punches I've ever thrown," adding that the power of the punch "shocked me."
The 23-year-old Soto is a promising young fighter who has a great future ahead of him, but he learned a valuable lesson in the cage with Warren: If you've got an opponent in trouble, finish him. Soto was fooling around and taunting Warren instead of trying to end the fight, and it cost him dearly.
As for Warren, he earned by far the biggest victory of his MMA career and showed that he is one hell of a fighter. Warren plans to turn his attention back to wrestling next year and attempt to make the 2012 Olympic team. That will be a loss for MMA. Warren is one of the best.
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