Darrion Caldwell’s first defense of his Bellator bantamweight title couldn’t have gone much better.
On Friday night in the main event of Bellator 195, at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., Caldwell needed just two minutes and 36 seconds to submit Leandro Higo with a guillotine choke. The former NCAA national champion wrestler made quick work of Higo by driving the former would-be bantamweight title challenger into the fence and securing a takedown before locking up a gullotine choke as Higo tried to escape, and finishing the choke from top half-guard. After the win, Caldwell had some choice words for Higo’s cornermen, Patricky Freire and Patricio Freire, saying he had just beat “the protege” but eventually he would beat all three of them.
In the co-main event of the evening, Joe Taimanglo won a split decision over former Bellator featherweight and bantamweight champion Joe Warren. Taimanglo was able to keep the fight on the feet and out-strike “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” hurting Warren several times over the course of 15 minutes. Taimanglo is the only man to ever defeat Caldwell and the win snaps a two-fight losing skid for him, putting him back in position to earn a trilogy fight with the champion. The loss moves Warren to a record of 13-6 in Bellator though the the fight did move him into sole possession of the record for most Bellator fights, at 19.
Elsewhere on the card, Kristina Williams made it 2-for-2 in her professional career, winning a split decision over former flyweight title challenger Emily Ducote. Despite her inexperience, Williams controlled the fight with forward pressure and high volume and using her reach to mark up Ducote from relative safety. The win catapults Williams into the upper echelon of Bellator’s flyweight division.
In the main card opener, Juan Archuleta dominated William Joplin en route to a unanimous decision victory, taking 30-26, 30-24, and 30-23 scorecards from the judges. The win sets Archuleta up for a potential title eliminator bout in Bellator’s emerging featherweight division.