Bellator 80 Preview: Joe Warren Headlines Solid Card in Florida


By Jaime C. Feal

Former featherweight champion Joe Warren headlines the show this Friday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. His opponent Owen Evinger, with an identical record of 7-3, is looking to make a statement with what would be by far the biggest win of his career. Both bantamweights are on a two-fight losing streak, so fireworks are expected as their backs are to the wall, and they are both in a must-win situation. Also on the card is former WEC standout Wagnney Fabiano, taking on Rad Martinez to decide the first Bellator Season 7 Featherweight Tournament finalist.

Joe Warren (7-3, 5-2 Bellator) vs. Owen Evinger (7-3, 0-2 Bellator)

The self-proclaimed “baddest man on the planet” Joe Warren is the much bigger name in this fight. It really seems as though Bellator is throwing Evinger to the wolves in this one. In a sport as unpredictable as MMA, Evinger is no doubt looking to seize the opportunity and earn his 1st Bellator win over his toughest opponent to date, but the odds simply don’t favor it.

Joe Warren has an outstanding wrestling background, a tremendous chin, a gigantic heart, and an incredible belief in himself and will to win. Warren usually likes to grind out wins with ground and pound, but he did show knockout power when he stopped Joe Soto early in Round 2 of their 2010 Bellator Featherweight Title fight.

Owen Evinger is a not a big name at all in MMA, in fact his sister Tonya Evinger is probably a bigger name as a female MMA fighter. He really has a chance to shock the world and put himself on the map. Not much is known about him, which can be an advantage: Joe Warren admits he hasn’t watched a single tape on the guy, knows nothing about him, and is only worried about himself. This sounds like bad business as due diligence always requires you to research your opponent before a fight. Then again, it could simply be gamesmanship from Joe Warren. Evinger’s best chance is to catch Warren overlooking him, otherwise if Warren takes this fight seriously he will cruise.

Prediction: Joe Warren wins by unanimous decision.

Waggney Fabiano (15-3, 1-0 Bellator) vs. Rad Martinez (13-2, 3-0 Bellator)

Jiu-jitsu ace Waggney Fabiano faces rising prospect Rad Martinez for the right to be the first man in the Season 7 Featherweight Tournament Final. Coming from the heralded Nova Uniao camp in Brazil, Fabiano has literally the best jiu-jitsu training partners in the game. At 37 years old, he is definitely past his prime, but still an extremely dangerous black belt who is light years ahead of Rad Martinez on the ground.

Rad must avoid going to the mat at all costs. Fabiano is capable of locking up a submission and eliciting a tapout in 10 seconds or less. Martinez’s recipe for success is simple: Keep the fight standing by using distance, length and reach, and defend the takedown. If Martinez can do this he has a chance at winning a decision and the biggest fight of his career. The more likely scenario, however, is Fabiano using his experience and strength to take down and submit Martinez.

Prediction: Waggney Fabiano wins by submission, Round 2.

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