One week after the successful and well-received first entry in the MMA/Kickboxing hybrid Dynamite series, we once again fix our gaze solely on the cage for Bellator 143. The Main Card is comprised of four important bouts between seasoned, talented competitors and promises solid action and excitement. The Bantamweight Main Event of the night will be full of intrigue beyond what is the norm in this type of situation. While there is always heightened intensity when it comes to featured fights, one participant in particular could face potentially devastating career consequences should he be the one to fall tonight. 38-year-old Joe Warren (12-4-0), former Bellator Bantamweight and Featherweight Champ, will be making his fourteenth appearance in the Bellator Cage, and it could possibly be his last for the promotion. While he is one of the organization’s primary standard bearers, his current contract ends with this fight. He is starting to show signs of being slightly past his prime, he is coming off of a loss in his last outing and his opponent, L.C. Davis (23-6-0), is a well-rounded veteran of nearly thirty cage fights. It’s been said that the winner here will be sniffing at a Title shot, but not as much has been said about what will happen to the loser.
Warren comes from a wrestling background where won a Greco-Roman World Championship. He utilizes a smothering, grinding style to wear his opponents out, and seems to be content sucking the life from them and garnering easy decisions. He typically looks to overwhelm defenses by getting and staying close where his power is most effectively used, making it a gritty, hard contest. Warren has a ton of heart and a never-say-die attitude, and the old lion still has cardio through the roof. I certainly hope they wouldn’t send him out to pasture win OR lose, I think he still some rounds left in him. Davis, who comes in a three-fight win streak, also has a wrestling base. However, he is bigger, longer and the more impressive athlete of the two men. He has no glaring weaknesses to speak of, and his explosive physicality and size lends itself well to his long-range freestyle attack. His striking is probably superior to Warren’s, and he can do some real damage on the feet.
Davis will likely look to keep his distance and stay free from Warren’s clutches, throwing punches in bunches and constantly circling away. Joe Warren will likely go with his usual bag o’ tricks also: close the gap, and punish L.C.Davis every way allowed within the framework of the rules. I like Warren to quell the talk and all but force Coker & Co. to renew his deal and reward him handsomely, so I predict Warren UD Davis.
In the Middleweight Co-Main Event, two longtime journeyman will collide in the cage when Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove (21-15-1) meets Joey “Mexicutioner” Beltran (16-11-1). Both men could use the victory, with Beltran being 2-3 and Grove being 3-2 over their last five fights, so this fight should be hotly contested. With a four-inch reach advantage, Grove should be able to stay on the outside and pick-and-pop, and Beltran will be more than happy to stay on the feet. They are both good strikers, but Beltran has a big power advantage, with eleven T/KO victories so far. With ten career wins by submission, “Da Spyder” certainly has the edge from the bottom as well as the top position should they find themselves on the ground. Both men are more than capable and experienced enough to win this fight, but Grove has a diverse, multi-dimensional attack, and is crafty enough to capitalize on small mistakes. I think the fight will get to the mat at some point, and Beltran will expose himself, so I predict Grove R2 Sub Beltran.
Next on the card is Featherweight action as Henry “OK” Corrales (12-1-0) squares off with Emmanuel “El Matador” Sanchez (10-2-0), and these are two exciting rising competitors. While both men are coming off losses, they were both on significant win streaks before those losses (Corrales: 12; Sanchez: 6) and both fell to former BellatorChamps. Both are talented, complete mixed martial artists with high finishing rates, and they have the ability to compete regardless of where the fight goes. That being said, Corrales is a little better everywhere, and I think he will be the one to get back on track, though he will struggle getting the finish against the very game Sanchez. I predict Corrales UD Sanchez.
The Main Card opener pits two quality Heavyweights against each other as Ewerton Teixeira (3-0-0) faces off withVinicus “Spartan” Kappke de Queiroz (7-3-0) for what one might call the Ring Rust Championship. Neither of these men have competed for nearly two years, which can practically be a lifetime in professional sports. Teixeira had a very successful career as a professional Kickboxer and was also as competitive Karate fighter. Queiroz has alternated losses and wins over his last four, though he is the more seasoned cage fighter and has faced stiffer competition. He will probably be the superior situational fighter, and he will be stronger on the ground. Despite those factors,Teixeira is capable of destructive striking at any moment, so I’m giving him the nod here. I predict Teixeira R1 TKO Queiroz.
Photos courtesy of Bellator.
BY: EVAN ALWORTH