Ex-wrestlers Warren, Storley, Cotton winners at Bellator 181

Joe Warren (Photo/Bellator)

Former amateur wrestlers went three-for-three at Bellator 181 as Joe Warren, Logan Storley and Romero Cotton all came out victors at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. Friday night.

Warren, a Greco-Roman mat star and long-time MMA veteran, earned a unanimous decision over Steve Garcia ... while Storley, a four-time NCAA All-American at University of Minnesota, made short work of Kemmyelle Haley with a first-round TKO, and Cotton, three-time NCAA Division II champ at University of Nebraska -- Kearney, got a split decision over Aaron Rodriguez.

The 40-year-old Warren -- a former bantamweight and featherweight champ -- opened the main card action in a 135-pound vs. Steve Garcia. Warren used his extensive wrestling experience in the early rounds over the younger Garcia to score a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in the three-round bout. Warren, a Pan-Am and World Greco champ, is now 14-6 in his nine-year pro career, while Garcia falls to 7-2.

Storley, who has been competing in pro MMA events in his native South Dakota for the past two years, took a step up with his first Bellator bout, taking on Haley, who hadn't had a pro bout in five years. Storley's impressive amateur wrestling background served him well as the former Gopher took down Haley with a single leg ... then pounded his opponent with elbows, getting a TKO at 1:44 in the first round of the 170-pound bout scheduled for three rounds. Storley's Bellator debut lifts the 24-year-old's pro MMA record to 6-0, with Haley dropping to 7-5.

Cotton made his pro MMA debut at the Bellator 181, getting a split decision over Aaron Rodriguez, who was also appearing in his first pro MMA bout. While staff scored all three rounds for the 170-pound bout for the former Nebraska-Kearney, actual Bellator judges scored it 30-27, 27-30, 29-28 for Cotton. The 26-year-old Cotton, who signed with Bellator in November 2016, is now 1-0 while Rodriguez is 0-1.

In preliminary card action at welterweight, E.J. Brooks - a NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) champ at Lincoln College in Illinois who went on to wrestle at University of Missouri - won a unanimous decision over Guilherme Vasconcelos, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.


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coolbeans (1) about 11 months ago
Congrats Storley, A record of 6-0 ... 6 KO's .... Not a bad start for your MMA career! You have a great opportunity. Your opponent barely even touched you. I knew that all those pep talks that I gave you would pay off. Keep up the good work! Now it's time to step up your game and get really ripped. You make the wrestling world proud of you .... :)
RichNJ-CA (1) about 11 months ago
I'm sure just a typo, but Warren never fought in the UFC.