It is bound to happen eventually, a Bellator champion losing in a non-title superfight while waiting for a challenger to emerge from the seasonal tournament brackets. Joe Warren
escaped becoming the first to join that list, emerging with a unanimous decision win over Marcos Galvao
, but he certainly had his share of scary moments on the way to what will certainly be viewed as a controversial decision.
Warren (7-1) got off to a horrific start in the 137-pound catch weight bout, ending up on his back after a missed takedown, with Galvao landing huge strikes and then transitioning into an arm bar before Warren pulled free.
In the second, Galvao punished Warren with a series of flying knees as Warren went low for takedown tries. Galvao also hurt him with an uppercut. Warren clearly won the third, scoring an early takedown and ending up on top for the rest of the round, but there was certainly drama in the air while the final scores were tabulated.
MMA Fighting scored the fight for Galvao 29-28, but all three cageside judges scored it Warren, by tallies of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Warren now plans to move down to bantamweight in an attempt to simultaneously hold two Bellator belts.
Adding to the degree of difficulty for the fighters on this night, Bellator 41
took place at an outdoor arena at the Cocopah Resort and Casino in Yuma, Arizona. The temperature at the start of the main card was 99 degrees.
While Warren struggled in his superfight, in another non-title fight, Zach Makovsky
remained unbeaten, moving to 13-2 with a third-round TKO win over Chad Robichaux.
In capturing his seventh straight win, it was the first time in his career he's stopped an opponent by strikes.
Makovsky impressed from the opening horn with a series of takedowns that led to further offense. In the second, he got full mount and landed several strikes before trying to finish with a rear naked choke, and later, an arm triangle, but the black belt Robichaux worked his way free.
In the third though, he got full mount and hammered Robichaux with strikes from the top until referee Jason Herzog waved off the fight.
With wins in their respective matches, Patricio "Pitbull"
Freire and Daniel Straus
advanced to the featherweight tournament finals.
Both fighters advanced in style, finishing their opponents in the third round.
While Freire had the more spectacular finish, a devastating third-round KO over Wilson Reis, he was actually involved in the closer fight. After a close opening two rounds, Freire turned it on in the third, rocking Reis midway through with a left/right combination. Reis stumbled but managed to hold on, but while trying to regain his senses, Freire savaged him with a series of strikes, finally knocking him out with a right hand.
In the other featherweight semifinal, Straus defeated Foster via third-round guillotine. Straus out-worked Foster with takedowns throughout the course of the fight, and in the first round, rocked his opponent with a flying knee.
Straus seemed on his way to a unanimous decision win when he trapped Foster in a guillotine with just over one minute left in the fight. Though he'd tried the move several times, this time he locked it in, leaving Foster no choice but to tap.