On Friday, the round cage returns for Bellator 151. In the main event, NCAA champion Darrion Caldwell will take a big step up in competition against former bantamweight champion Joe Warren. Despite the difference in experience, Caldwell is the rightful favorite. Warren relies almost entirely on his wrestling, and he will have a hard time dominating in that realm against Caldwell.
During his collegiate days, Caldwell put together an impressive resume while wrestling for North Carolina State. He finished his run as a two-time All-American with a 109-13 record. The highlight of his career was an upset of Brent Metcalf in the 149-pound final of 2009 NCAA tournament.
Metcalf went on to be a regular on the U.S. freestyle world team. While Caldwell is one of the brightest prospects in the Bellator bantamweight division. Following the video is a stats breakdown of the famous match that highlights Caldwell's wrestling prowess. Also, savor the opportunity to hear the late, great Jeff Blatnick on commentary.)
Offensive Takedowns: 2 for 4
Caldwell starts things off with a takedown right off the bat. He uses his reach advantage to score from the outside without much of a set up. Later he uses a headlock throw to get behind and score the two points. Warren, as a Greco-Roman specialist often tries to bully his opponents into the cage with upper-body clinches. With the potential for throws like Caldwell's headlock, that might not be the best strategy.
Defense and Counter Takedowns: Defended 7 of 8 TDs, 2 counter TDs
After two first period takedowns, Caldwell had to deal with a hard charging opponent. Metcalf attempted eight committed takedowns, but was only able to secure one once the outcome of the match was determined. Plus, Caldwell scored a pair of counter takedowns that came after he defended his opponent's shots. Scrambling in MMA is different than in wrestling due to submissions and lack of point scoring. However, against Warren this will not be much of an issue. As previously stated, Warren is still mostly a wrestler and should not threaten Caldwell with submissions in a scramble situation.
Control Time: 2 Minutes
In the seven-minute match, Caldwell was in the top position for two full minutes. Control position in MMA is different because of the cage. Warren succeeds by pushing his opponent into the c age to set up takedowns and hold position. Caldwell's wrestling background will most likely neutralize this strategy.