Joe Warren captured interim gold. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
The Joe Warren gas tank was there when he needed it.
Warren, 37, took a unanimous decision from Renovacao Fight Team’s Rafael Silva and captured the interim Bellator MMA bantamweight championship in the Bellator 118 main event on May 2 at the Revel Atlantic City in Atlantic City, N.J. The self-professed “Baddest Man on the Planet” swept the scorecards with identical 48-47 scores.
Silva -- who replaced reigning 135-pound champion Eduardo Dantas on short notice -- moved to an early advantage, as he controlled much of the first two rounds with clean punches, occasional takedowns and superb close-quarters grappling.
However, it was not enough to deter the resilient Warren, who sustained significant damage to his left eye as a result of a fist-to-face encounter with a Silva right hand. The former Bellator featherweight champion turned the corner in round three and began to grind down Silva with clinches, takedowns and ground-and-pound. The fourth and fifth rounds followed a similar narrative, as Warren rode his superior conditioning and dogged determination to a fourth straight victory. The defeat halted Silva’s 13-fight winning streak.
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