HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 181 and UFC Fight Night 113

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Gunnar Nelson (photo credit Joe Camporeale © MMATorch)

Bellator 181 and UFC Fight Night 113 were both this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.

Bellator 181

BAD/GOOD – Joe Warren vs. Steve Garcia: The BAD is because this fight was incredibly boring. The GOOD is because Joe Warren is very good at what he does, which is lay-and-pray. He used that to get the decision here. Nobody wants to watch it, but he’s really good at it and unless you stop him, that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Warren is the exact opposite of a draw, in that his name on a fight turns away fans, but there’s no denying that he’s very good at what he wants to do.

GOOD – Emily Ducote vs. Jessica Middleton: This wasn’t a great fight, but it was a lot more active than the previous one. Ducote kept working for the takedowns and using her grappling to control Middleton. Ducote got the decision win. Middleton took the fight on short notice and worked hard, but came up short here. Still, she should learn from this and get better. Nice win for Ducote.

GOOD – John Salter submits Kendall Grove: This fight started at a glacial pace but heated up quickly. Salter shot in, got the takedown, and immediately took Grove’s back. From there, he locked in the choke and got the submission victory. Very good win for Salter and he proclaims himself the best middleweight in Bellator after the fight.

GOOD/GREAT – Derek Campos stops Brandon Girtz: Both men were throwing punches with everything they had, going for the kill shot. This was awesome, and great fun. This was like the awesome Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson fight from last week. Neither guy took a backward step, everything was moving forward. This was an incredible fight that was stopped in between the second and third rounds because of a nasty cut on Girtz’s forehead. It almost looked like the Jumpman logo. This was great, it was tremendous, and it was an excellent way to end the card. You started with a fight that made you question whether you want to be a MMA fan, and you end with a fight that cements just how great the sport is. You can never have too many fights like this. What a great fight. Big win for Campos and great heart by Girtz to keep coming forward despite suffering that huge cut. This is a definite Fight of the Year candidate, as was the aforementioned Gaethje-Johnson brawl.

UFC Fight Night 113

UGLY – Justin Willis vs. James Mulheron: This was just a really boring heavyweight fight. Usually if heavyweight fights go the distance, they suck. That was the case here. I don’t remember a single thing about this fight and had to look up who won. Willis won the decision. Moving on…

GOOD – Khalil Rountree stops Paul Craig: Rountree put on a nice display of striking here, connecting with most everything he threw. He finished Craig with some pinpoint punches that starched him right at the end of the first round. Good win for Rountree.

GOOD – Ryan Janes vs. Jack Marshman: Marshman was all over Janes in the first two rounds, but Janes came back in the third round. It was too late, though, and Marshman got the decision victory. Marshman was teeing off on Janes with regularity. Janes had no answer and just had to try to let Marshman punch himself out. Getting hit like that, though, will take a lot out of you and Janes wasn’t able to make the full comeback.

GOOD – Paul Felder stops Steven Ray: Both men connected with good shots early, but Felder started pulling away and landing heavier shots. Felder dropped Ray with a knee, then finished him off with some power elbows to end the fight in just under four minutes. Good win for Felder.

GOOD – Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo: This was a hard-fought, extremely close contest, with Calvillo getting the decision victory. It was close, but Calvillo was the better fighter and more active. She had more success with her strikes. This wasn’t a great fight, but it was pretty good. I like both fighters, so maybe I’m a bit biased, too. Good win for Calvillo, and tough loss for Calderwood, who struggled with her weight cut for this fight.

GOOD – Santiago Ponzinibbio stops Gunnar Nelson: Ponzinibbio was able to catch Nelson with a wild flurry that dropped him and led to the ref stoppage in just a bit over a minute. This was a crushing loss for Nelson. I’m sure he’ll rebound from this, but it’ll be tough. As for Ponzinibbio, this gives him some good momentum going forward. Big win for Ponzinibbio.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale and UFC 213 including Dana White ripping Nunes

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to Frank Hyden here: hydenfrank@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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