Former two-division Bellator champion Joe Warren is set to make his return against Steve Garcia on July 14 at Bellator 181. Bellator officials confirmed the booking with MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report by MMA Junkie.
Warren (14-6), at the age of 40, will look to rebound following a majority decision loss to Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas in December. The setback continued a trend of alternating wins and losses that has plagued Warren since “The Baddest Man on the Planet” first captured the 135-pound title with a win over Dantas in late-2014.
Altogether, Warren is 12-5 under the Bellator umbrella, having also won the promotion’s featherweight strap with a memorable 2010 knockout of Joe Soto.
In Garcia (7-1), Warren meets an extremely capable 25-year-old up-and-comer who has won five of his six battles inside the Bellator cage, highlighted by a second-round knockout of two-time Olympic alternate Shawn Bunch. Garcia defeated Ronnie Lawrence via unanimous decision last October in his most recent Bellator outing.
Bellator 181 takes place at the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card will air on Spike. Former UFC title challenger Valerie Letourneau is expected to make her Bellator debut on the card, which also includes a lightweight match-up between contenders Patricky Freire and Derek Campos.