Bellator 101 is in the books and it was a pretty solid card. For the most part, it satisfied, but didn't thrill. However, when Joe Warren took to the Octagon all that changed.
Warren put on a masterful demonstration of not only stand-up and ground game, but timing and tactic. He executed a wonderful strategy of mixed-martial arts and although not having it dialed in, round one, he drove home the point in round two, with a submission victory.
Regarding his performance tonight, a fan might rightfully argue that “JW” could easily find himself a home within the UFC’s top-ten bantamweight’s list.
For the rest of the main, the UFC and in juxtaposition regarding its discards, looked to be the junior promotion and not the senior, for the three losses they took. Yes, Alessio, Clementi and Davis are UFC castoffs, but nonetheless, they are former top-tier fighters taking on lesser knowns and in doing so, they marked the senior cirucut 0 & 3 on the night, in a straight up challenge.
It begs the question, if we reversed the process how many wins might Bellator fighters garner against their UFC counterparts? Further still, if we bled the top-tens together, what might the outcomes be?
Without trying to make much of it, in every consideration so far and in every appearance by former UFC fighters, there’s yet to be one that has come in and put their stamp upon a Bellator weight-class or tournament. Stepping back and in consideration, it gives us pause for debate regarding a myriad of questions.
In synopsis, what the UFC doesn’t want and Bellator signs, regardless and in head-to-head challenges, the crumbs that fall off of the UFC’s plate seemed to be easily carted away by Bellator’s ants.
Joe Warren vs. Nick Kirk (135)
All Joe Warren dominantly in this one and not only dominantly, so, but he owned Nick Kirk from bell’s ringing to referee’s stoppage; in a word, an amazingly different and more dynamic fighter. The story of this fight was the flying-knee. Warren came out and forward quickly, showing many different faces, but it was the flying-knee that was the showcase of his game plan. He easily won round one, but more due to enthusiasm; as if a musician trying to play every note they’d just learned; all over the place and nothing with commitment. However, the second round broke and with Greg Jackson’s encouragement and direction, Warren shut his opponent down in dominant fashion.
JW took the fight to the ground and used a combination of tactical shots, to work a greater strategy. With every blow Warren worked his way around his opponent, until he had reached the tipping-point of having his opponent face-down; anchors in on both sides. Delivering hammer-fists to the side of Kirk’s face, Warren’s undefended attack was consistently interrupted by the referee’s call’s to “watch the side of the head.”
Undeterred in his attack, Warren intermittently set aside his barrage to gain better control of his opponent’s body. With better control in tow (no homonym puns intended) Warren sunk in the triangle-choke and it was over; winner by submission at the 3:02 mark of the second round, Joe Warren; advances to bantamweight finals.
Lightweight Tournament Opening Round:
Fight #1: Saad Awad vs. Martin Stapleton:
Not a lot to say, other than Saad Awad is an aggressive and well-rounded fighter. He simply came out and put it on Martin Stapleton, from pillar to post. Stapleton came out aggressively, moving forward and throwing a lot of punches, Awad adjusted and the fight went to the ground. Owning his opponent in the mealy, Awad took Stapleton’s back, sunk his hooks in and cranked Stapleton towards him and then lay in the rear-naked choke; winner by RNC at the 3:46 mark of the first, Saad Awad; advances to the semi-final.
Fight #2:Will Brooks vs. John Alessio:
In a word, Brooks owned Alessio. The fight went the full three rounds, but it was nothing but Brooks. He looked crisp and explosive and presented an awkward target to the Alessio. Brooks stood full on in a loose Taekwondo stance, moving easily on his feet and delivering punishment as required. As Alessio realized he wanted nothing to do with Brooks on the feet, he attempted to take it to the ground, but even there, was outclassed. With his blood flowing, the third round drew to a close and Brooks was declared, champion; winner by unanimous decision, Will Brooks; adavances to the semi-final.
Ricardo Tirloni vs. Rich Clementi:
Fight # 3: This fight was pretty much all Tirloni. Ricardo came out and cut Clementi earl in the fight with a beautiful left-hook and in doing so set the tone for the fight. Bleeding from the first to the third, Clementi held his own over the first five minutes and very easily might have won the round on the scorecards, given his unorthodox style and counter-punching, style. However, the second and the third rounds, it was Tirloni who proved to be the better technical fighter; winner by unanimous decision, Ricardo Tirloni; advances to the semi-final round.
Alexander Sarnavskiy vs. Marcus Davis:
Fight #4: What to say about this fight? Sarnavskiy simply came out and put it on his 16 year elder, opponent. To put it bluntly, Davis was never in the fight and that’s if you’d call it a fight. The Russian came out and hit the 40 year old American with a right and it was, for the most part over. Davis hit the canvass, and Sarnavskiy followed, suit. With a combination of ground ’n pound, the 26 year old Russian took Davis’s back, sunk in the hooks and tapped Davis out, by way of rear-naked choke; winner by RNC at the 1:40 mark of the first round, Alexander Sarnavskiy; advances to the semi-finals.
Nathan Coy defeats Andy Uhrich via unanimous decision. (170 pounds)
Marcin Held defeats Ryan Healy via knockout; round one, at the 1:12 mark. (155 pounds)
Joe Pacheco (replacement) defeats Tyson Jeffries via rear RNC; round three, at the 3:07 mark.
Brent Primus defeats Scott Thometz via rear-naked choke; round one, at the 3:48 (155 pounds)
Austin Springer defeats Zach Skinner (replacement) via unanimous decision. (135 pounds)
Peter Aspenwal defeats Jeremiah Riggs via split decision. (170 pounds)