Marcos Galvao kept it away from the judges this time.
Galvao forced a verbal submission from Joe Warren with a second-round kneebar, as he claimed the Bellator MMA bantamweight championship in the Bellator 135 headliner on Friday at the Winstar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. Warren (12-4, 10-3 Bellator) cried out in agony 45 seconds into round two, leading referee “Big” John McCarthy to intervene despite protests from the self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet.”
Warren -- who won a controversial decision over the Brazilian in their first encounter at Bellator 41 four years ago -- was in control of the rematch before the stoppage, as he advanced with punches and shut down Galvao in the clinch.
Early in the second round, however, Warren moved to a rear waist lock position, where he was met with a rolling kneebar from the two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion. After a brief scramble, Galvao (17-6-1, 7-3 Bellator) secured the maneuver, hyperextended the knee and executed the finish. It was his first submission victory as a professional mixed martial artist.
Related » Bellator 135 Play-by-Play
Davis Spoils Tokoro Debut
The resurgent L.C. Davis recorded his third consecutive victory, as he eked out a split decision over Hideo Tokoro in the bantamweight co-main event. All three judges saw it 29-28, two of them siding with Davis (23-6, 3-0 Bellator), who continues his climb on the 135-pound ladder.
Davis relied on volume on the feet, airtight submission defense and some damaging work in the clinch. He survived an encounter with a spinning back fist in the first round and had Tokoro reeling in the second.
There, he floored the Japanese journeyman with a counter right hand and later buckled his knees with a slashing close-quarters elbow strike along the fence. Tokoro (32-28-2, 0-1 Bellator) refused to go away.
Round three gave rise to a series of wild scrambles and submission attempts, with Tokoro getting the best of the majority of exchanges. Davis dodged armbars, heel hooks and kimuras before diving on an arm-free guillotine in the waning moments, though the finish he desired was not in the cards.
Carmont Downs Viana, Snaps Skid
A stiff jab, stinging leg kicks and a near-finish carried Tristar Gym representative Francis Carmont to a unanimous decision over Shooto Americas alum Guilherme Viana in a featured matchup at 205 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Carmont (23-10, 1-0 Bellator).
Viana (6-2, 0-1 Bellator) was a non-factor for 10 minutes. Carmont did his best work in the second round, where he staggered the Brazilian with an overhand right, swarmed with punches and followed up with a takedown and some elbow-laced ground-and-pound.
Viana responded in round three, as he answered a takedown from the Frenchman by shifting to his back and fishing for repeated rear-naked choke. Carmont, however, weathered the harrowing exchange, reclaimed top position and ultimately benefitted from the early lead he had built.
The victory halted a three-fight losing streak for Carmont, who was released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship following an August knockout loss to Thales Leites.
Couture Choke Submits Cochrane
Strikeforce and UFC veteran Ryan Couture submitted Dakota Cochrane with a first-round rear-naked choke in a lightweight showcase. Cochrane (18-8, 0-2 Bellator) conceded defeat 3:23 into round one, as he was beaten for the third time in four appearances.
Couture (10-3, 2-0 Bellator) countered an ill-advised level change, transitioned to the Nebraskan’s back and forced him to go belly down on the canvas. He then set his hooks and snaked his arms into position for the choke, forcing the tapout from Cochrane.
The 32-year-old Couture has won four fights in a row, all via rear-naked choke.
Prelims: Sanchez Wins Sixth Straight
In preliminary action, Roufusport prospect Emmanuel Sanchez (10-1, 2-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision from Alejandro Villalobos (17-4, 0-1 Bellator) in their featherweight duel, drawing 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores from the judges; Rashad Coulter (5-1, 1-0 Bellator) put away Jeremiah O’Neal (13-25, 0-2 Bellator) with a knee strike and follow-up punches 1:44 into round one of their heavyweight contest; Sean Holden (3-1, 1-0 Bellator) captured a unanimous verdict against Tim Roman (2-2, 0-1 Bellator) in their welterweight tilt, sweeping the scorecards with 30-27s across the board; Neal Ewing (6-0, 1-0 Bellator) picked up a unanimous decision over Logan Nail (1-1, 0-1 Bellator) in their encounter at 185 pounds, earning 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges; Stephen Banaszak (4-4, 2-2 Bellator) submitted Brad Mitchell (4-2, 0-1 Bellator) with an omoplata 2:51 into the second round of their featherweight battle; Klayton Mai (7-1, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Xavier Siller (5-4, 0-1 Bellator) with a neck crank 3:55 into round one of their scrap at 125 pounds; and George Pacurariu (9-4, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Ivan Cole (2-3, 0-1 Bellator) with a straight armbar 2:59 into the first round of their bantamweight clash.