The trilogy fight between Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz didn’t disappoint.
The two lightweight fighters delivered one of the craziest fights this year in the headlining slot of Friday’s Bellator 181, which took place at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.
From the beginning of the fight, Campos and Girtz traded heavy leather, wobbling each other several times in the first round. Towards the end of the first, Campos landed a knee on Girtz’ forehead that caused a giant cut. Girtz went back to his corner and was surprisingly allowed to continue fighting. The second round was no different, as both fighters rocked each other and battled it out in the middle of the cage. However, this time the doctor didn’t allow Girtz to enter the third round, and called the fight, declaring Campos the winner.
With this result, Campos is now on an impressive four-fight win streak, and cemented himself as a title contender. Meanwhile, Girtz dropped his third contest in a row.
In the co-main event, John Salter solidified his position as one of the best middleweights on the Bellator roster.
Salter submitted MMA veteran and former UFC fighter Kendall Grove with just seconds remaining in the first round. The bout was an even contest until Salter shot a double leg takedown, took Grove’s back, and sunk in a rear-naked choke. Salter is 4-0 since joining Bellator in 2015.
Emily Ducote continued her successful Bellator run by outpointing short-notice replacement Jessica Middleton.
Ducote was originally scheduled to fight Valerie Letourneau in a flyweight contest, but Letourneau was forced to withdraw due to injury earlier this week. Despite the change, Ducote managed to have a solid performance. The 23-year-old grappled her way to a decision, controlling and threatening Middleton with submissions throughout most of the fight. Ducote is now 6-2 in her MMA career, and 4-1 in Bellator.
In the opening round of the main card, former Bellator featherweight and bantamweight Bellator champion Joe Warren returned to the winning column.
Warren picked up his first victory since losing his 135-pound title in December against Eduardo Dantas. The 40-year-old veteran did what he does best against 25-year-old prospect, and wrestled his way to a unanimous decision. Warren was in complete control the entire 15 minutes of the fight. With this performance, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” is now 3-2 in his past five performances.
Additionally, on the undercard, jiu-jitsu world champion Rafael Lovato Jr. remained undefeated in MMA, submitting former RFA champion Mike Rhodes.