Joe Warren edged Patricio “Pitbull” Freire to win Bellator’s featherweight tournament at Thursday’s Bellator 23, while Alexander Shlemenko stopped Bryan Baker to claim the middleweight tournament crown at the season two finale in Louisville, Kentucky.
Warren was nearly finished in the opening round, but survived to score a split decision over Freire and earn a title shot against champion Joe Soto, while a matchup with middleweight title-holder Hector Lombard looms for Shlemenko, who stopped the WEC veteran Baker with ground and pound in the opening round.
Soto vs. Warren and Lombard vs. Shlemenko will take place during Bellator’s third season, which begins in August.
Also on the card, Nik Mamalis earned a spot in Bellator’s season three bantamweight tourney with a first-round TKO of Albert Rios, while a featured women’s bout saw Zoila Frausto upset top-ranked Rosi Sexton.
The official Bellator 23 results were:
- Joe Warren def. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Featherweight tournament final
- Alexander Shlemenko def. Bryan Baker via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:45
Middleweight tournament final
- Zoila Frausto def. Rosi Sexton via knockout (strikes) – Round 1, 2:00
- Nik Mamalis def. Albert Rios via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:40
Pictured: Joe Warren