Joe Warren, the only two-division champion in Bellator MMA history, will get an opportunity to reclaim one of his titles.
A former champion at 145 and 135 pounds, Warren (13-4) cruised to a decision win against L.C. Davis (23-7) in a bantamweight bout that headlined Friday's Bellator 143 in Hidalgo, Texas. All three judges scored the bout a 30-27 shutout.
Warren, 38, will now face the winner of a bantamweight title fight between Marcos Galvao and Eduardo Dantas on Oct. 23. Warren has fought both before: He is 1-1 in two fights against Galvao (17-6-1), to whom he lost the title in March via second-round submission, and he outpointed Dantas (17-4) in a five-round title defense in October.
Asked whom he'd prefer to fight again, Warren said, "I don't really care. They've both fought me before and don't want to do it again. 'The Baddest Man on the Planet' is getting another belt in Bellator soon."
Warren's performance failed to generate a ton of excitement. He relied heavily on his Greco-Roman wrestling background to stifle Davis' striking. He took Davis down in each of the three rounds, but scored very little offense from the top. Davis managed to work back to his feet on several occasions, only to be taken down again quickly.
The beginning of the fight actually saw Warren get a little wild, throwing winging right hands while he closed into the clinch. Davis' best moments came in the second round, when he was able to defend several takedown attempts and get the lead straight left working. He popped Warren's head back violently multiple times, but Warren smiled after each hit.
Although the fight wasn't a barnburner, it was a nice bounce-back win for Warren, who was upset at referee John McCarthy for stopping his previous bout against Galvao. Warren screamed out in pain during the second round of that fight because of a Galvao kneebar. McCarthy stopped the bout immediately because of Warren's yell, which he took issue with.
Warren improved to 6-1 in his last seven bouts. Davis, 34, suffered his first loss since December 2013 and first inside the Bellator cage. Before the decision, he was 7-1 since dropping to the 135-pound division in 2012.