Bellator 151: "Warren vs. Caldwell" took place tonight (Fri., Mar. 4, 2016) from inside WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and streaming live on Spike TV.
Who staked their claim to the top of the 135 pound rankings and a potential future title shot?
Caldwell made it look surprisingly easy. He took Warren down 10 seconds into the fight, flipped him head over heels with a suplex, took the back at the three minute mark and submitted Joe Warren without the tap at 3:23. He did a backflip to celebrate improving to 9-0.
Caldwell spoke to Jimmy Smith about his performance after the fight.
"It felt good. I felt right at home. I'd like to thank all my sponsors, my coaches, all my teammates. Big win for us tonight. Marcos Galvao -- you're a pussy!!"
Elsewhere on the card, Fernando Gonzalez put his four fight winning streak in MMA (not including kickboxing) on the line in a Welterweight tilt against the debuting Gilbert Smith. Smith vacated his RFA title to be a late replacement for Michael Page.
Did Smith make a statement in his debut or did Gonzalez make it five in a row?
Both men had their moments to shine in the first round. Gonzalez made Smith pay for takedown attempts with shots to the head and ribs while sprawling, coming the closest to a finish with a tight guillotine choke. However, Smith did get several takedowns and was on top pounding Gonzalez as the round ended.
Smith changed the narrative in the second with multiple takedowns that stifled any possible offense for Gonzalez. Even though Smith scored more takedowns in the third, Gonzalez did enough damage to earn a split decision 28-29 and 29-28 X2.
Another key ranking battle to define a weight class came as Goiti Yamauchi went to war with Bubba Jenkins. Both have been on win streaks that put them on the verge of a title shot before, only to pull up short at the finish line.
Did one man move a step closer to facing Daniel Straus here?
Yamauchi completely dominated the first round, riding Jenkins' back with both hooks in, constantly searching for a rear naked choke while boxing Jenkins' left ear. Jenkins dug deep into his wrestling background for takedowns and held Yamauchi down through rounds two and three, avoiding multiple submission attempts.
All three judges saw it in favor of Bubba Jenkins -- 29-28, 30-27 and 29-27.
Jenkins spoke to Jimmy Smith after the fight while wearing a fly hat and shades.
"I was thinking that I was in trouble twice. He had a pretty deep choke. I mean it was on my jaw, so it wasn't really on my neck but it still had a lot of pressure on it - he's a really good submisisonist. And that armbar I felt like I could get out but I didn't want to hesitate there so I tried to hammerfist a little bit. This puts me at the top man. Everybody knows I lost to Georgi Karakhanyan so I'd like to see him. I'm the hit man. You put that name on the line I'll go get that ass, that cash, or that belt."
The opening contest on Spike TV was a Bantamweight battle between Joe Taimanglo and Sirwan Kakai. Taimanglo came closer to finishing in the first round with several chokes, Kakai came closer to winning in the third with takedowns, and the second was a total coin flip where nothing happened.
The judges ultimately decided that the winner of R2 and the fight was Joe Taimanglo - 29-28 times three.
The televised bouts were paired with exciting "Prelims" action that aired exclusively on Spike.com.