In A Threeround | Horrific Gash Stops Brandon Girtz At Bellator 181, Gives Derek Campos 2-1 Lead In Series

BrandonGirtz looked like he had been struck by the claw side of ahammer.

DerekCampos forced a doctor stoppage and took a 2-1 lead in theirhead-to-head series, as he was awarded a technical knockout inbetween the second and third rounds of the Bellator 181 headlineron Friday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.Blood was everywhere by the time it was over.

Campos (19-6) withstood wild exchanges and opened a gnarly gash onhis rival’s forehead with a knee strike in the first round. The twomen did not hold back, authoring one of the more memorable fightsof 2017. They staggered each other with power punches in the secondround, and during one of the brief respites, referee John McCarthysummoned the cageside physician to examine the cut. Girtz (14-7)was allowed to continue, even as blood poured from the wound andcovered his face. In between rounds, McCarthy was advised to stopit.

Salter (14-3) softened his counterpart with leg kicks, ducked undera right hook and delivered a takedown. He then advanced to theback, secured his position and uncorked a series of right handsbefore snaking his arms into place for the choke. Grove had nochoice but to tap.

The 32-year-old Salter has won six fights in a row.

Meanwhile, EmilyDucote moved to 4-1 under the Bellator flag with a unanimousdecision over JessicaMiddleton in a three-round women’s flyweight showcase. Allthree judges sided with Ducote (6-2): 29-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

Middleton (2-2) started strong, but failed to maintain momentum.She did her best work in the first round, where she threatenedDucote with a guillotine choke and punished her takedown attemptswith hammerfists and elbows to the side of the head. Ducote bouncedback over the final two frames, as she scored with takedowns,achieved full mount twice and nearly cinched a rear-naked choke inthe closing moments.

Elsewhere, a familiar recipe — relentless takedowns, suffocatingtop control and effective ground-and-pound — carried formertwo-division Bellator champion Joe Warren toa unanimous decision over SteveGarcia in a featured bantamweight matchup. All three cagesidejudges scored it the same: 30-27 for Warren (15-6).

Garcia (7-2) had no answers for the onetime NCAA All-Americanwrestler. Warren, 40, executed takedowns in all three rounds,bottled up the prospect on the canvas and piled up points withshort punches and elbows. The self-professed “Baddest Man on thePlanet” played it safe and smart, never straying far from hisapproach. He dodged a kimura attempt from Garcia in the secondround and countered his standups by moving to the rear waistlockposition and firing knees into his legs.

In other action, RafaelLovato Jr. submitted Mike Rhodes with a rear-naked choke 1:59 into the first round of theirmiddleweight clash; ValentinMoldavsky took a unanimous decision from CarlSeumanutafa in a three-round heavyweight affair, drawing 30-26,30-26 and 30-27 scores from the judges; AndreFialho eked out a split decision — 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 — over A.J.Matthews in a three-round welterweight tilt; LoganStorley wiped out KemmyelleHaley with elbows 1:44 into the first round of theirwelterweight battle; RomeroCotton was awarded a split decision — 30-27, 27-30, 29-28 –against AaronRodriguez in a three-round middleweight tussle; and KatyCollins captured a unanimous verdict from BrunaVargas in a three-round women’s flyweight bout, sweeping thescorecards with 30-27 marks across the board.

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