When you think of Bellator Bantamweights, a couple of names come to mind. Guys like Eduardo Dantas, Darion Caldwell, Marcos Galvao. Perhaps the biggest name at Bantamweight in all of Bellator is the only two-division champion in Joe Warren.
In his 18 fight career, he has wins over guys like Chase Beebe, Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire, Galvao, and Dantas. After losing his Bantamweight belt to Galvao at Bellator 135, Warren has a victory over L.C. Davis and a loss to budding contender Darion Caldwell. He fights Sirwan Kakai in the co-main event of Bellator 161 this Friday night. Warren perked up for three rounds with me as we talked about his fight with Sirwan Kikai at Bellator 161, possible retirement, University of Michigan football and CM Punk.
Vinny Craig: Your last fight with Darion Caldwell didn’t go as planned. What can you take from your last fight against the younger guy to bring into this fight?
Joe Warren: That fight was a strange fight for me. I hurt myself, dislocated my knee and tore my MCL trying for my first takedown. I have never been hurt in the cage to the point where I couldn’t continue. When things go bad in the cage, they go really bad. I tried to get up, got body slammed and choked out. It’s shitty, he’s a young tough fighter. It was my pleasure to have a fight with him. What can I take from that fight? Try and not get hurt this time.
VC: You fight Sirwan Kikai here coming up. How do you handle his style of fighting against yours?
JW: I believe I am the best wrestler in the game. I win by controlling positions and taking people down. That’s what I am going to do again, hopefully, use my hands a little bit more this time. You never know until you get out there. I usually win with my wrestling and I’ll probably win with that again and finish him on the ground. He’s a dangerous opponent and I don’t look past anybody. He’s on a two-fight skid, but he’s hungry and he gets an opportunity to fight me and people usually bring their best game. I’m just focused on bringing pressure forward and being the offensive fighter.
VC: If you can get past Kakai, where do you go next? Who do you want to fight?
JW: We try and take care of Kakai this Friday. Then I want to beat the shit out of Dantas again. I’m the only guy to have beaten him. We have a lot of history between us. The fans want to see that fight and we want to give it to them. I have to get this win, make some money and take care of my family. Then get an opportunity to beat up that Brazilian again.
VC: Say this Friday doesn’t go your way. You have fought some of the best 135ers and 145ers this game has to offer. Could you call it quits with a loss this Friday?
JW: I don’t even think about me not winning. I’m not 100% sure, first thing is first we get this win on Friday. I’m safer and more technical than I have ever been right now. I will continue to fight for as long I want to. It’s a very unpredictable thing inside that cage, you just never know what’s going to happen. That being said, if that [I lose] does happen, I would think about leaving. I just don’t see that happening.
VC: When you do call it quits, what’s next for you?
JW: I have degrees from the University of Michigan and I’ve been running a recovery company. Those are definitely options, I’m just not sure where I’m going to go. I’m a great coach, one of the best Greco-Roman coaches in the world. I’ve been looking for things already, things outside of the cage. It’s hard to take care of your family when you lose once a year, which is kind of shitty. We’ll see what happens, before that, I have a fight with Sirwan Kikai on Friday I’m focused on. If that stuff comes to the table, we’ll deal with it then. I don’t look too far past what is right in front of me. I have a violent foreigner in front of me that wants a piece of me.
VC: You mentioned that you went to school at the University of Michigan. Are you a fan of the sports from your alma mater?
JW: I’m a football fan. I know Jim Harbaugh from when I was there, he would come in. I bleed maize and blue and red, white, and blue. I was at the university rec room for wrestling this summer. It would be an honor one day to be able to coach that team. You don’t get away from the big blue once you are a part of it.
VC: Do you train locally in Michigan?
JW: No, there’s not a lot of training in Michigan. When I get back, I have a hard time training anything but wrestling. I train in Colorado at Factory X and drive down to the Olympic training center for some. All my training is based out of Colorado. Faithful Athletics out of Santa Monica runs my strength and conditioning, but other than that I stay locally here in Colorado.
VC: You said you don’t want to talk about retirement, so let’s look ahead. Is there a fight that has evaded you in your career?
JW: You know how it is with Bellator, I always either have the belt or am fighting for a belt. Every fight is usually an extremely big fight for both guys that means a lot for our careers and for a title. I want to fight Dantas again for this Bellator belt. I’d like to beat up Bibiano Fernandes again one day with that being my first career loss. Besides that, I fight for a living and it’s a good job for me. I never really wanted to fight anyone, but they just keep coming in front of me. It’s just a body and keep going and pushing forward.
VC: What is your advice to young people who want to get into this sport?
JW: MMA is the toughest, most unpredictable fight out there. Getting in that cage is so unpredictable and you never know what’s going to happen. It’s like wrestling, 9/10 times the better wrestler is going to win the match. That’s not the case in MMA, you never know. It’s the flip of a coin when inside that cage. Usually, I verbally assault a guy to the point he wants to beat me up anyway, so know I’m in the cage with a mad opponent or someone that has something to prove. I’ve been the bigger name and they need the victory over me. I’ve got my hands full inside that cage. I’d say to keep strong and work on the mental side of the game because technique goes out the window sometimes.
VC: Prediction for your fight?
JW: That the baddest man leaves with his hand up and gets a paycheck for his family. I plan on being the offensive fighter and bringing a lot of pressure forward. My wrestling, control, and ground and pound will win me this fight.
For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.
Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.
Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.
Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.
⭐️ F I G H T W E E K ⭐️ . . Tickets/ T-shirt’s / Afterparty info at www.heather-hardy.com 🥂 link is in my bio 🥂 . . @bellatormma @dymatize @lululemon @jlewbags @rgfa @gleasonsgym @shihandevon . . #heatherhardy #heathertheheat #teamheat #boxing #femaleboxing #girlboxer #boxinglife #boxinghype #boxingnight #boxingday #boxinggloves #boxingfanatik #boxer #boxingfitness #womensboxing #boxeo #wmma #mma #teamrenzogracie #bjjgirls #womensmma #renzograciegirls
Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.
Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.
There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.
But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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