It has been a busy few weeks for Bellator MMA, and Friday night, they were back at it again with Bellator 151, live from the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, OK.

In the main event, former Bellator multi-division champ Joe Warren (13–4) returned to take on the undefeated Darrion Caldwell (8-0). Warren, who held the featherweight and bantamweight Bellator titles at different points throughout his tenure with the promotion, might have been seen as a gatekeeper in the fight, but in reality, a win would put him within reach of another crack at the 135lb title. For Caldwell, Warren represented a big step up in competition. Could he survive Warren’s relentless wrestling attack?

Elsewhere on the card, Goiti Yamauchi took on Bubba Jenkins, and former UFC fighter Gilbert Smith faced off against Fernando Gonzalez.

How did the night play out? Check below for a main card recap and full results!

MAIN CARD SUMMARY

Joe Taimanglo vs. Sirwan Kakai

Round 1 — Taimanglo looked to be the more aggressive fighter early, and controlled the cage well. Kakai looked to find range while slipping back out of the range of Taimanglo’s power shots. Taimanglo found a home for some leg kicks early and launched a jump knee that led to a quick clinch about ninety seconds into the round. Big swing and a miss followed from Kakai. Taimanglo faked a shoot but couldn’t make anything happen. A hard leg kick to the mid-section by Taimanglo was blocked but still looked like it hurt. The opening frame was very much a power versus finesse story. With two minutes to go Kakai looked for a take down, but Taimanglo fought it off. He locked in a front choke and took things to the mat, working for an anaconda then changed position and moved to a guillotine. Kakai escaped and scored a bit of ground and pound with Taimanglo stuck on the fence. Taimanglo powered back to his feet with seconds to go only to be dragged back down and fed some elbows. Solid first round.

Round 2 — Did Kakai manage to tire Taimanglo out towards the end of the first? Taimanglo looked to score kicks again early in the round, a tactic that worked for him early in the first. Kakai answered back with a front kick of his own. Taimanglo was breathing a little heavier early on in this round, and Kakai looked to shoot early only to be denied. Kakai looked the fresher of the two. Taimanglo was still looking to land power shots.  Taimanglo tried a takedown of his own with two minutes left in the round but couldn’t make it happen either. A combo landed by Kakai followed. Taimanglo seemingly was looking for a big hook to land from either side, but Kakai appeared to be quick enough on the feet to avoid those — however, he seemed to have a hard time landing any counters in return.

Round 3 — The third frame opened similar to the first two, though Kakai was more active and managed to pick up and dump his opponent just over a minute in. Taimanglo succeeded in working back to his feet and reversed position, pinning Kakai against the fence for a time. After separating, Kakai shot in again, and the two entered a spin cycle of reversing position alongside the cage. Taimanglo looked to land some short elbows from the clinch, followed by short punches while Kakai utilized a wizard to fight off the takedown attempt. Back out to the middle both men found the mark with their hands before Kakai shot once more and dragged Taimanglo to his knees, trying but failing to take his back. Back up alongside the cage Taimanglo again pressed for a double leg. With a minute to go the action returned to the center of the cage, but neither man seemed to have enough power left to stop the fight. The round ended in an exchange that saw Taimanglo land some good short elbows.

Joe Taimanglo def. Sirwan Kakai by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Goiti Yamauchi vs. Bubba Jenkins

Round 1 — Goiti Yamauchi quickly cut off the cage and looked to establish control. Yamauchi twice caught kicks of Jenkins, and tried to dump him, but both times Jenkins displayed great flexibility and athletic ability to prevent the takedown from happening. On the second attempt, however, Yamauchi hopped on Jenkin’s back and managed to secure both hooks. Yamauchi looked to secure a rear naked choke, mixing in some short punches to the side of the head. Jenkins seemed content to battle to a stalemate, not over-exerting himself to shake Yamauchi off. Yamauchi looked for a crank but didn’t have it. Jenkins worked to stave off submission attempts but struggled in actually getting Yamauchi off his back. Holding the extra weight clearly began to wear at him as the clock ticked down. With a minute to go, Jenkins was still standing with Yamauchi on his back. Another crank attempt by Yamauchi came with less than a minute to go.  Round one belonged to Yamauchi.

Round 2 — Jenkins changed the game in the second round, securing the takedown early. Yamauchi went to work off his back with Jenkins in his guard. Jenkins worked to pass while Yamauchi sought out a kimura while using the cage wall to his advantage. Jenkins threw some short hammer fists which the ref took a good look at as they strayed close to the back of the head, but remained on the legal side of things. Yamauchi was still working on the kimura attempt throughout, until Jenkins finally slipped his arm free with just over two minutes left int he round. That put Jenkins in a much better position, with Yamauchi awkwardly pushed up against the fence. Jenkins then moved to half guard, only to wind up in a triangle attempt by Yamauchi, however Yamauchi’s arm was trapped underneath Jenkins. Short elbows from Jenkins followed, then he moved back to his feet before plunging back into Yamauchi’s guard to finish the round in top control.

Round 3 — It was anyone’s fight entering the third. Jenkins once again scored the takedown early, and found himself in Yamauchi’s guard. Yamauchi appeared to be a little more tired this time out, and was a little more active with punches from the bottom, not just looking to secure a sub. Yamauchi looked to sweep, but couldn’t pull it off. He then looked for an arm bar but found extending Jenkin’s limb easier said than done. Yamauchi fought to straighten out his body from the bottom but lost the hold, and may have expended too much energy on that attempt to do much more with the minute remaining. Yamauchi switched to a rubber guard with under a minute to go, while Jenkins managed to throw some body shots as the seconds ticked down. Jenkins picked Yamauchi up just off the mat and dropped him down hard to end the round strong. We then went to the judges.

Bubba Jenkins def. Goiti Yamauchi by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-27)

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Gilbert Smith

Round 1 — Ultimate Fighter fans may remember Gilbert Smith from TUF 17; he lost to Bubba McDaniel in his lone UFC appearance. He gets a tough match in Fernando Gonzalez for his Bellator debut. Smith missed with a high leg kick early. He pressures early, coming forward with a combo, and trying to bring the fight to Gonzalez. Gonzalez looks for an answer and gets scooped up and taken down for his troubles. He scoots back to the cage, where Smith pulls guard and looks for a guillotine. He held onto the choke while Gonzalez picked him up and dropped him back down, finally releasing it and giving up his back in the process. Big knee by Gonzalez looked dangerously close to ending the fight. Somehow Smith held on and pressed Gonzalez to the fence. Gonzalez managed to pin and arm; Smith scrambled out but gave up his back again. Smith gave up his neck next and Gonzalez pulled guard in a guillotine attempt with a minute to go. Smith rolled out but still wasn’t out of danger. Smith’s shorts actually began to slip off in something of a wardrobe malfunction. Smith pressured against the cage and dragged Gonzalez down as the round came to an end.

Round 2 — Smith came out throwing combos to start the round. Gonzalez appeared to be more selective with his punches, and settled for countering. Smith changed levels, but Gonzalez sprawled. Smith worked for the takedown against the cage, pulling Gonzalez down and pinning his legs. Smith worked to flatten Gonzalez out, but it appeared easier said than done. Short punches followed. The second round seemed to favor Smith more and he imposed his will for the first four minutes or so, only to be dumped on his back with a minute remaining. Smith powered back up into a double leg and scored a quick takedown following that, landing right back in top control. He wasn’t able to make much progress from there, however, as Big John came in to warn him twice then stood the action back up with ten seconds left. A quick exchange ended the round.

Round 3 — Gonzalez ate a big left early, and Smith again scored the takedown. Gonzalez would manage to reverse and force Smith to cover up, but was warned to watch the back of the head. Smith worked to the cage and back up, and walked at Gonzalez throwing punches, landing a few before Gonzalez answered with a kick. Smith scored another takedown just past the two minute mark. Smith tried to pass guard, but Gonzalez worked back up, with little offense landed by either men. Gonzalez then managed to drag Smith down and gain top control, dropping short elbows and looking for side control. Smith gave up his back in an attempt to make it back up. He does and lands a combo and throws a knee as well, and they finish the round trading shots on the feet.

Fernando Gonzalez def. Gilbert Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Joe Warren vs. Darrion Caldwell

Round 1 — Warren blocked a high kick early. Caldwell flipped the script and took Warren down early, looking to take the back. Warren fought him off but wound up trapped against the cage with Caldwell unloading punches. Warren covered up and looked for an opening to power back to his feet. Caldwell with some great wrestling against a great wrestler. A knee to the ribs followed by Caldwell. Warren  finally worked back up only to be slammed overhead back to the mat. Wow. Caldwell sunk in a rear-naked choke, and Warren went out rather than tap. Huge statement win by Caldwell.

Darrion Caldwell def. Joe Warren by technical submission, Round 1, 3:23

FULL RESULTS

MAIN CARD

Darrion Caldwell def. Joe Warren by technical submission, Round 1, 3:23
Fernando Gonzalez def. Gilbert Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bubba Jenkins def. Goiti Yamauchi by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-27)
Joe Taimanglo def. Sirwan Kakai by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Preliminary Card (Spike.com)

Ray Wood def. Chris Jones by TKO, Round 1, 3:10
Ricky Turcios def. Steve Garcia by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)
Justin Patterson def. Chance Rencountre by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Treston Thomison vs. Aaron Roberson
Neiman Gracie def. Roger Carroll by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Jermayne Barnes def. Derek Palmer by submission (strikes), Round 2, 1:17
Shane Peterson vs. Stephen Banaszak

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.