At Bellator XXIII, Joe Warren, the Rocky Balboa of Bellator, defeated Patricio "Pitbull" Freire, who was previously undefeated and held a perfect 14-0 record before facing Warren.
Surprisingly, after watching the first round, it looked like it would be a quick night for Warren, who in his other Bellator fights had shown relentless heart.
Having thrown up for eight hours straight the day of the fight, Warren looked slow to defend Pitbull's strikes and got severely rocked a couple of times in the first round.
Towards the end of the round, Pitbull took Warren's back while having both hooks in and applied a deep rear naked choke.
But Warren did what he does best—he hung in until the horn sounded.
In between rounds, Warren looked beat up, plain and simple.
The minute rest was over, and round two started with a similar tempo.
Warren was trying to defend against Pitbull's punches, and aside from the missed takedown attempts, once again Warren looked as though he was consistently getting beat up.
Then he landed a takedown.
From that point forward, Warren seemingly flipped the proverbial switch and gave a grade A beating to Pitbull.
He took advantage of the last part of the round to turn the heat up and pummel Pitbull without seemingly trying to pass his guard.
It was a complete 180 degree difference from the last round, and in between the cheers of "U-S-A!" you could see Pitbull realizing he hadn't done nearly enough in the first round.
Round two ends with Warren walking away the aggressor at the end, and round three starts with a bang.
Warren landed a couple of big punches right away, and a knee followed soon after.
Warren went on to land a couple of big takedowns and, ironically, was beating up Pitbull.
He didn't give him a chance to breathe, and in between hits, Warren fed off the cheering crowd to win the fight by split decision.
Not only that, but Warren won the Bellator Season Two featherweight tournament, $100,000, and a shot at Joe Soto for the Bellator featherweight championship.
There are two lessons viewers learned from this fight.
Lesson 1: No matter how one-sided the fight looks, this is MMA, and anything can happen.
Lesson 2: Never doubt Joe Warren.
Joe Soto, you've been warned.
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