Joe Warren took home a controversial unanimous decision at Bellator 41. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Reigning Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight titleholder Joe Warren sidestepped a considerable scare, as he picked up a controversial decision victory over Marcos Galvao in the Bellator 41 headliner on Saturday at the Cocopah Resort and Casino in Yuma, Ariz.
All three cageside judges scored the non-title catchweight bout for Warren: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. The 34-year-old remains unbeaten in five appearances under the Bellator banner.
“Had a bad night, but I pulled out the win,” he said. “I’m very happy with that.”
Galvao all but shut down Warren’s Greco-Roman game through two rounds. Twice the WEC veteran wound up in top position on attempted takedowns from the champion, whom he briefly pummeled with punches from behind. Warren returned to an upright position and struggled to impose his game in the clinch, his efforts finally rewarded with a takedown in the final 10 seconds of round one.
A two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, Galvao came out firing in the second. The Nova Uniao representative landed back-to-back flying knees and caught Warren coming in with more than one uppercut. Again, the former Greco-Roman world champion fought hard but ultimately failed to get his opponent on the ground. His offense was limited to an occasional right hand.
Warren made his move in round three, as he scored with a takedown and kept Galvao neutralized and on his back for more than four minutes. He dropped punches and elbows from the top, avoided a restart and made his pitch to the judges. They bought it.
Pitbull Finishes Reis in Rematch
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire put away former EliteXC champion Wilson Reis with a beautiful barrage of accurate third-round punches in the Bellator Season 4 featherweight tournament semifinals. Finished for the first time in 15 professional outings, Reis met his demise 3:29 into round three.
Freire, who defeated Reis by unanimous decision 10 months ago, left nothing to chance in the rematch. Rounds one and two were competitive, though Pitbull landed the cleaner strikes -- including a first-round head kick -- and secured the only takedown of the fight.
The once-beaten 23-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt upped his aggression in the third, as he swarmed Reis with a powerful flurry that left him on wobbly legs. Freire backed his wounded prey against the cage and finished it with a second volley, Reis collapsing after a brutal left hook-straight right combination. Now 4-1 under the Bellator banner, Freire moves into the 145-pound final.
Makovsky TKOs Robichaux
Chad Robichaux entered his promotional debut with an unblemished professional record, but he was no match for Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky.
In his first appearance since ascending to Bellator’s 135-pound throne, Makovsky stopped the previously unbeaten Robichaux on third-round strikes in the one-sided non-title affair. A series of heavy left hands on the ground brought a decisive close to the bout 2:02 into round two.
Makovsky was in control from the start. He scored with repeated takedowns and threatened to end it twice with submissions in the second round, first with a rear-naked choke and later with an arm-triangle choke. Robichaux survived, only to meet his demise in round three. Makovsky delivered another takedown inside the first minute, moved to mount and wound up on his foe’s back. Once there, he flattened out Robichaux and dropped his powerful lefts until referee
Jason Herzog intervened.
Makovsky, now 5-0 inside Bellator, has never lost at 135 pounds.
Straus Guillotine Submits Foster
Daniel Straus posted his 12th consecutive victory in the Bellator Season 4 featherweight tournament semifinals, as he submitted Kenny Foster with a third-round guillotine choke. The end came 3:48 into round three, with Straus advancing to the featherweight final.
Straus controlled the first two rounds with timely strikes, strategic takedowns and superior work in the clinch. He transitioned beautifully from a flying knee to a takedown in the final minute of round one, turning the tide in his favor. Two more takedowns followed in round two for the 26-year-old Cincinnati native, as he kept Foster guessing throughout their encounter.
Despite the 99-degree heat, Straus pressed the fight in the third round. He secured another takedown, softened Foster with ground-and-pound and passed to half guard. From there, Straus locked in the choke for the tapout. The defeat snapped Foster’s two-fight winning streak.
More Bellator 41 Coverage »
• Bellator 41 Prelims: Birchak Brabos Bialecki, Piedmont Outpoints Parker
• Quick Photos