The WinStar Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma was the setting for Bellator 181, as the Derek Campos vs. Brandon Girtz trilogy was a slobber knocking thriller, until it ended in a doctor stoppage TKO. The evening also saw John Salter pick up his 4th straight Bellator win/finish, by technically submitting Kendall Grove with an RNC in the 1st round of the co-main event.
Derek Campos Brandon Girtz : Catchweight of 158
Both men marched right towards each other winging power punches, but it was Girtz that landed the first big shot. Girtz shot in and scored a takedown off of his heavy hook, but returned to his feet, with a gushing cut in the middle of his forehead.
Girtz was a bloody mess to start the second round, but showed some urgency, landing at a descent clip. Campos would not roll over, and returned a major right hand bolo to wobble Girtz and shift the momentum. Both warriors decided to disregard any fundamental defense, and proceeded to brawl it out for the Oklahoma crowd. The referee paused the action in order for a doctor to take a look at the cut on Girtz’ forehead, but the bout quickly resumed. Due to the severity of Girtz’ gash, the fight was stopped between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Don’t be surprised to see these guys go at it for a 4th time.
John Salter def. Kendall Grove by Technical Submission (RNC) at 4:37 of round 1: Middleweight
The patient, rangy version of Kendall Grove showed up for this fight, as he remained composed and defensively sound on the feet, as John Salter struggled to find many openings. Grove’s conservative approach was all for not, as Salter shot in and scored a takedown with about a minute left in the opening round, and strategically transitioned to the back, where he discovered the RNC that rendered Grove completely unconscious.
Emily Ducote def. Jessica Middleton by Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28 x2): (W) Flyweight
Emily Ducote established some early clinch control against the cage, searching for the takedown, with Jessica Middleton defending well. Middleton scored a few points with some ‘Travis Browne elbows,’ but gave up the late takedown as a result. Ducote started round 2 with a takedown right in the middle of the Bellator cage, but Middleton was able to reverse the position. While hanging out in the guard of Ducote, Middleton found herself caught in an armbar, but was able to escape as the round came to a close. Another Ducote takedown set the tone for the final round, and followed up by mounting Middleton in the middle of the mat. Ducote transitioned to the back, in search of a RNC, but Middleton protected her neck rather well, just to find herself defending a last second armbar attempt.
Joe Warren def. Steve Garcia Jr. by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3): Bantamweight
The veteran Joe Warren wasted little time putting Steve Garcia on his back, where the fight took place for the first half of the first round. Garcia would make it back to his feet, but had Warren attached to his back until the round ended. The second frame saw more of the same wrestling dominance from the former 2 division champion that we witnessed in the opening round, aside from a Kimora attempt by Garcia. Garcia came out strong in the final round, throwing a flying knee to the dome piece of his opponent, but Warren responded with a determined takedown, followed by a round full of smothering top control.
Romero Cotton def. Arron Rodriguez by split decision: Middleweight
Jordan Howard vs. Johnny Marigo: Bantamweight