Joe Warren (Photo/Bellator)
Joe Warren, former Bellator champion and NCAA All-American wrestler, won his bantamweight co-main event bout at Bellator 161 at the HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas Friday night.
The 39-year-old Warren submitted Sirwan Kakai with a neck crank at 1:04 of the third round.
"Warren and Kakai traded blows for over ten minutes of heart-pounding action in the evening's co-main event," according to PWInsiderxtra.com .
"Warren (14-5) had to work for it," Sherdog.com reported, saying that the first round was all Kakai, then continuing, "Warren turned the tide in the middle stanza, where the NCAA All-American wrestler dropped the American Top Team-trained Swede with a knee strike, assumed top position and freed himself from an armbar before unleashing his ground-and-pound.
"Inside the first minute of round three, Warren connected with another knee that appeared to break his counterpart's nose. Kakai responded by retreating to the fence and shooting for a takedown, blood pouring from his face. Warren scrambled out of his advances, caught a guillotine on the transition and shifted to the neck crank, prompting the tapout."
With the win, Warren is now tied for second all-time in Bellator MMA victories with 12. The former two-division Bellator champ has now won seven of his last nine contests. For Kakai, who is now 12-5, it was the first time in his eight-year career that he has been finished by an opponent.
Before launching his pro MMA career in March 2009, Joe Warren had an impressive career in both folkstyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. The Grand Rapids native was a Michigan state champion at East Kentland High School. Warren then wrestled at the University of Michigan, where he earned All-American honors by placing third at 133 pounds at the 2000 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Among his championships in Greco: 2006 FILA Wrestling World Championships, 2006 Pan-American Championships, and the 2007 World Cup, all at 60 kilograms/130 pounds