Former two-division Bellator MMA champion Joe Warren did what he does best, and L.C. Davis, like plenty of others before him, was powerless to do anything about it.
Repeated takedowns, mild but effective ground-and-pound and the ever-present threat of a guard pass carried Warren to a unanimous decision over Davis in the Bellator 143 headliner on Friday at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Warren (13-4, 11-3 Bellator), who has rattled of six wins across his last seven outings.
Davis (23-7, 3-1 Bellator) stung the onetime NCAA All-American wrestler with a few left hands but failed to maintain a safe distance. Warren clinched, landed one takedown after another, set up shop on top and went to work throwing punches and elbows while bleeding time off the clock. Davis’ frustration grew throughout the match, as reality eventually took hold. The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak for the World Extreme Cagefighting, Sengoku and International Fight League veteran.
Grove Cuts Down Beltran
In the middleweight co-main event, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Kendall Grove disposed of Joey Beltran with a looping right hook and follow-up punches. Beltran (16-12, 3-3 Bellator) met his end 2:27 into round three.
Grove (22-15, 3-2 Bellator) operated behind a consistent left jab, incorporating leg kicks and front kicks to the body when the mood struck. Beltran struggled to navigate the Hawaiian’s height and reach advantages but started to turn the tide in the second round, where he targeted Grove’s lead leg with repeated kicks. Prosperity was short-lived. Midway through round three, Grove cracked the Californian with a tomahawk of a right hand that sent him to all fours. Three more punches to the head of the defenseless Beltran brought it to a close.
The 32-year-old Grove has won four of his last six fights.
Roufusport’s Sanchez Nips Corrales
Roufusport export Emmanuel Sanchez recorded his seventh win in eight appearances, as he wound up on the right side of a split decision against former King of the Cage champion Henry Corrales in a featured featherweight tilt. Judges Michael Bell and Troy Wincapaw scored it 30-27 and 29-28 for Sanchez, while Hector Maldonado saw it 30-27 for Corrales.
Corrales (12-2, 0-2 Bellator) fought in bursts with short, choppy punches and cut his counterpart above the left eye with a standing elbow strike. However, the 29-year-old could match neither Sanchez’s variety, nor his output. The Milwaukee-based featherweight masked kicks at all levels with clean punches throughout the 15-minute bout. Sanchez (11-2, 3-1 Bellator) was also the superior fighter on the mat, as he locked in a flying triangle choke in the first round and worked toward a rear-naked choke in the second.
‘Spartan’ Arm-Triangle Taps Teixeira
Team Nogueira representative Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz submitted the previously unbeaten Ewerton Teixeira with a second-round arm-triangle choke in their heavyweight showcase. Teixeira (3-1, 0-1 Bellator) conceded defeat 4:00 into round two.
Teixeira enjoyed success in the standup, but his inexperience on the ground showed. Queiroz (8-3, 3-1 Bellator) executed takedowns in both rounds, neutralizing the acclaimed kickboxer. “Spartan” struck for a duck-under trip takedown early in the second, settled in top position and dropped elbows on his fellow Brazilian. From there, he locked in the arm-triangle and finished it in half guard.
Prelims: Unbeaten Caldwell Chokes Bunch
In preliminary action, the undefeated Darrion Caldwell (8-0, 5-0 Bellator) submitted Shawn Bunch (4-2, 4-2 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 2:35 into the first round of their bantamweight scrap; John Teixeira da Conceicao (19-1-2, 3-0 Bellator) edged heralded Brazilian Top Team prospect Gleristone Santos (27-5, 0-1 Bellator) by split decision -- 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 -- in their three-round encounter at 145 pounds; Dan Charles (10-3, 3-2 Bellator) wiped out Chase Gormley (12-5, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 4:35 into the second round of their heavyweight battle; Steve Garcia (6-0, 4-0 Bellator) kept his perfect professional record intact, as he put away Eduardo Bustillos (4-2, 0-1 Bellator) 4:59 into round one of their pairing at 135 pounds; Amador Ramirez (5-4, 1-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision from Saul Elizondo (6-6, 0-1 Bellator) in a three-round bantamweight tilt, earning 29-28 marks from all three judges; and Abdul Razak Alhassan (4-0, 2-0 Bellator) knocked out Bryce Shepard-Mejia (3-1, 1-1 Bellator) with an overhand right 1:26 into the first round of their welterweight duel.