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Joe Soto vs. Joe Warren featherweight title fight set for Bellator 27

CHICAGO, Ill. (July 30, 2010) — Bellator Fighting Championships World Featherweight Championship belt will be on the line Sept. 2nd when reigning champ Joe “The Hammer” Soto defends his title against Season 2 Featherweight Tournament Champion Joe Warren at Bellator 27 in San Antonio.

The five-round Main Event Championship fight — which will be televised LIVE nationwide from San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre on FOX Sports Net — features two fighters at the top of their games each looking to make another huge statement that they are among the world’s top 145-pound fighters.

Soto, a native of California’s Central Valley, was a virtual unknown in the MMA world before knocking off Ben Greer, Wilson Reis and Yahir Reyes to take home the first-ever Bellator Featherweight Championship belt last June. He recently improved his record to a perfect 9-0 with an impressive May 20th ground-and-pound stoppage of durable UFC veteran Diego Saraiva at Bellator 19 in Dallas. The Hammer is known for his well-rounded arsenal and finishing ability with four of his wins coming via submission and four being stopped via KO or TKO.

Warren, the former NCAA all-American wrestler at the University of Michigan and two-time Greco-Roman wrestling world champion, burst onto the MMA scene in 2009 with stunning wins over former WEC standout Chase Beebe and Japanese sensation Kid Yamamoto. In 2010, he took home Bellator’s Season 2 Featherweight Tournament Championship with inspiring consecutive victories over Eric Marriott, Georgi Karakhanyan and the previously undefeated Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, improving his overall pro MMA record to 5-1 and solidifying his place among the best featherweights in the sport.

“Of our four upcoming world title fights, the Soto-Warren fight is hugely intriguing,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Joe Soto is extremely talented and has made a collection of top ten rankings. Warren’s a world-class wrestler who beat one of the greatest featherweights in the world in just his second fight. He has tremendous heart and he doesn’t understand what the word ‘lose’ means. Joe Soto also comes from a national-caliber wrestling background and anyone who saw his fight with Diego Saraiva in May knows that his game is polished and world-class throughout every facet of MMA. This should be a truly spectacular fight.”

Soto said that he “can’t wait for the fight” and thinks he matches up well against Warren.

“I’m just really excited to get in there and compete against him,” Soto said. “He’s a wrestler just like I am, but I think I can out-wrestle him. If he takes me down, I’m better on my back than he is on top. If we stay standing, I think I can out-box him. No matter where the fight goes, I think I’m a much better all-around fighter than he is.”

Warren, for his part, respectfully disagreed, saying that “after September 2nd, Joe Warren will have his first belt and that’s going to be big trouble for everyone in this weight division.

“Joe Soto is a tough fighter, but he’s going to see the best Joe Warren that’s ever been in a cage,” Warren said. “We’re both great wrestlers so I’m guessing we’re going to get in there and beat the crap out of each other, but in the end I’m going to be taking that belt home with me.”

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