Warren Dethrones Soto, Captures Bellator Crown

By Brian Knapp Sep 2, 2010
It was a gnarly climb, but Joe Warren reached the mountaintop with Joe Soto at his feet.

Dominated in a lopsided first round, Warren bounced back with a vengeance in the second and knocked out the previously unbeaten Soto to capture the Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight crown at Bellator 27 on Thursday at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio. The startling finish came 33 seconds into round two, as Warren put away Soto with a knee and follow-up punches.

For a time, it appeared as if Soto might not break a sweat. Growing in confidence with each passing minute, he battered Warren with punches throughout the first five minutes, taunting his challenger as they went. Uppercuts, combinations and lead hooks all found their marks for the champion, as Warren struggled for survival. He reached the end of round one battered but far from broken.

A crackling right hand from Warren to start the second period turned the tide in an instant. Punches and hammerfists on the fallen Soto followed. The champion returned to his feet, where he was met with a jarring knee from the clinch and a left hook that sent him to the canvas facedown a little more than half a minute into round two.

It was a stunning turn of events, made all the more unlikely by the fact that Warren had not finished an opponent since he stopped former World Extreme Cagefighting titleholder Chase Beebe in his professional mixed martial arts debut in March 2009.

“You can’t stop me,” Warren said. “I’m the baddest man on the planet. This is the first time you’ve seen me knock someone out. It’s going to come a lot more.”

Meanwhile, Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champion Ulysses Gomez advanced to the Season 3 Bellator bantamweight tournament semi-finals with a split decision win over Travis Reddinger. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them for Gomez.

A once-beaten Marc Laimon protégé, Gomez was one of three bantamweights to advance in the 135-pound draw, as Ed West (unanimous decision over Bryan Goldsby) and EliteXC veteran Zach Makovsky (unanimous decision over Nick Mamalis) also punched tickets to the semi-final round.

Other Bouts
Richard Odoms def. Dale Mitchell -- Split Decision
Andrew Craig def. Rodrigo Pinheiro -- TKO (Doctor Stoppage) 2:53 R3
Andrew Chappelle def. Joe Christopher -- Unanimous Decision
Jon Kirk def. Shane Faulkner -- TKO (Punches) 2:19 R3
Steven Peterson def. Ernest de la Cruz -- Unanimous Decision

More » Bellator 27 Play-by-Play & Chat Recap

<h2>Fight Finder</h2>