It’s hard to keep track of all the fights that are set when cards seem to happen at a break-neck pace.

Of course, much of the hoopla this weekend will surround UFC 196 with Conor McGregor taking on Nate Diaz and Holly Holm defending her bantamweight title against Miesha Tate.

But about 24 hours prior to that, a key bout in the Bellator bantamweight division goes down, as former champion Joe Warren meets rising prospect Darrion Caldwell.

Warren, the only fighter in Bellator history to wear titles in two weight classes, is 6-1 over his last seven. The lone defeat during that time: a 2015 submission loss to Marcos Galvao for the title.

Last week, Galvao was expected to defend his belt against Eduardo Dantas. However, the day of weigh-ins, Galvao bowed out with an illness. Warren actually volunteered to step up and fight Dantas, but officials left things as they are.

A win over Caldwell would give Warren a perfect spot to sit and wait for the Galvao-Dantas rematch to happen before cashing in. The former standout amateur wrestler actually holds decision victories over both champion and challenger.

But before any of that can transpire, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” must solve Caldwell.

Since joining Bellator in 2014, the former NCAA wrestling champion has scored five victories – three of which have been submission finishes, including a 2015 win over fellow wrestling hot shot Shawn Bunch.

Warren and Caldwell will present interesting challenges for each other, as the veterans wrestling is more detailed for MMA now, while Caldwell is getting a taste of the spotlight for the first time.

Regardless, this is the kind of match that can help Bellator actually gain real footing in the race to be the No. 2 MMA promotion in the world. These are two world-class athletes looking to take the best from one another and hopefully cash in a victory for a shot at the belt in the near future.

About The Author

Dana Becker
Staff Writer

Dana Becker is an MMA reporter for The MMA Corner. Along with covering the sport, Dana is also a sports writer for a daily newspaper in Iowa, where he lives with his wife and two sons.