Former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren scored a pedestrian win over Owen Evinger, earning a sweep on the cards in the main event of Bellator 80 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
The win halted a two-fight losing streak for the confident 36-year-old wrestler, and sets him up as a participant in the next Bellator bantamweight tournament.
"I'm real focused on getting another belt," Warren proclaimed. "My waist is bare."
Warren (8-3) relied on his wrestling chops to handle Evinger (7-4), who now has lost four of his last five contests.
The self-proclaimed "Baddest Man on the Planet" took no real chances, opting instead to stay tight on the feet and rely on his Greco-Roman wrestling pedigree. When takedowns came, which they essentially did when he wanted, he maintained top position, including an extended period of time in mount. Warren flirted with arm-triangle submissions, but never quite locked them up correctly.
"You never know what's happening in this cage," Warren said. "This sport is extremely rough."
He can attest to that first hand following stoppage losses to Pat Curran and Alexis Villa.
Volkov punches ticket to fight Hale
The finishing sequence -- a barrage of punches from the 6-foot-7 Volkov that came as Queiroz was pressed against the cage fencing -- was facilitated by an unnecessary standup from referee James Warring, who relieved the Brazilian of top position mere seconds after he earned it with a takedown.
For his part, Volkov said he was waiting for the final moments of the second round to attack, and he was able to do just that because of Warring's generosity.
In the opening round, Queiroz (6-3) showed what he could do if he had the time to work on the floor, leading to a tight round in which Volkov spent most of his time on the bottom defending from the closed guard.
As action moved to Round 2, it was clear Volkov was the superior striker, and his speed and accuracy began to pay off. He tagged Queiroz with a combination that wobbled the Brazilian, prompting a short assault. When Warring intervened towards the end of the round, Volkov felt his opponent was set up to be finished.
"I want to feel him in the first round. I feel him and I want to finish in the second. When I hear 10 seconds left I start to working for a knockout and I did it."
Volkov (18-3) earned the right to fight Richard Hale (21-4) in the heavyweight final.
Put simply, Volkov, 24, said he was looking forward to the opportunity.
Martinez advances to featherweight final
Ugly but effective.
"I feel a little tired, a little beat up," Martinez said. "I'm glad I got the victory. That's a tough opponent. They don't get any easier do they?"
Facing a fellow southpaw, Martinez defended all but one of Fabiano's takedown attempts, kept action on the feet, and peppered the 37-year-old Brazilian black belt with an assortment of strikes over the 15-minute contest.
Fabiano (15-4) seemed unable to hurt Martinez, 25, and when takedowns proved hard to come by the veteran appeared out of options.
For Martinez the win was his second in row over a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He'll face a different stylistic test in young Russian Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who scored a quick knockout last week to advance to the featherweight finals.
"I haven't watched tape on him," Martinez said of Shamhalaev (11-1-1). "I see that he got two quick stoppages but I'm a tough kid so it's going to be a brawl for that $100,000. We're going to both bring it."
Cooper rolls through Cobb
Judges sitting cage-side scored it identically for the floppy-haired Cooper, 30-27 across the board.
The 25-year-old Californian may as well have been a buzz saw in the opening five minutes. That's how easily he tore through Cobb's ineffectual takedown defense. On the floor, Cooper unloaded heavy strikes that repeatedly tested Cobb's chin.
The second and third rounds were carbon copies, as Cooper (17-7) dictated a grappling-based attack that featured continuous punches and elbows. Cooper played mostly from his 32-year-old middleweight opponent's guard, and though he landed some stiff shots he never was on the verge of ending the fight.
If anything, taking a shot was the best thing Cobb (6-6) accomplished during the lopsided contest. The loss was his fifth straight defeat.