Bellator 188 post-event facts: John Salter's submission skills getting record-book recognition

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Bellator 188’s main card underwent a bevy of changes, but in the end the local crowd got a moment to celebrate when Israel’s own Noad Lahat defeated Jeremiah Labiano in the featherweight headliner.

The event took place Friday at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv and aired via one-day delay on Spike.

Lahat’s (12-3 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) unanimous-decision win over Labiano (11-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) closed out a four-fight televised lineup that saw all previous matchups end inside the distance via first-round submissions.

For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 188.

* * * *

General

Debuting fighters went 1-0 at the event.

Betting favorites went 4-0 on the main card.

Betting favorites improved to 14-4 (one fight had even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the four-bout main card was 18:56.

* * * *

Main card

Noad Lahat

Lahat improved to 3-1 since he was released from the UFC in February 2016.

Labiano has suffered both of his Bellator losses by decision.

Haim Gozali (8-4 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) has earned all eight of his career victories by stoppage.

Gozali has earned both of his Bellator victories by first-round submission in a total fight time of two minutes and 26 seconds.

Gozali’s 45-second submission victory was the second fastest in Bellator welterweight history behind Evangelista Santos’ 30-second finish of Brennan Ward at Bellator 153.

Arsen Faitovich (4-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

John Salter

John Salter’s (15-3 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) five-fight Bellator winning streak in middleweight competition is tied with Rafael Carvalho for the longest active streak in the division.

Salter has earned all 14 of his career victories by stoppage.

Salter’s four submission victories in Bellator middleweight competition are most in divisional history.

Jason Radcliffe (12-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He last won in March.

Radcliffe has suffered all five of his career losses by stoppage.

Denise Kielholtz

Denise Kielholtz (1-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) earned the first victory of her career.

Jessica Middleton (2-3 MMA, 2-3 BMMA) suffered her third consecutive loss after starting her career 2-0.

Middleton has suffered both of her career stoppage losses by submission.

For complete coverage of Bellator 188, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch Bellator 188, where Noad Lahat headlines in his native Israel

Bellator is making the most of its time overseas.

Last week the promotion visited 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, for Bellator 187. On Thursday, the Bellator cage touches down at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, for Bellator 188, which airs Friday via tape-delay on Spike.

In the main event, Noad Lahat fights in his home country for the second time under the Bellator banner against Jeremiah Labiano in a featherweight contest.

In the co-headliner, Haim Gozali also fights in Israel for the second time with the promotion. Like Lahat, he won his first Bellator fight in his home country via first-round submission. Gozali faces Arsen Faitovich, who is 20 years his junior in a welterweight bout.

Also on the card is middleweight title hopeful John Salter, who puts his four-fight Bellator winning streak on the line against Jason Radcliffe.

Here are five reasons to watch Bellator 188.

1. Bringing it back home

After a 2-2 run with the UFC, Lahat signed with Bellator. In his promotional debut, which took place in Israel in late 2016, Lahat steamrolled Scott Cleve. He won the bout via first-round tapout. The Israeli-born Lahat followed that victory with a technical submission win over Lloyd Carter. With those two wins it looked like Lahat was prepared to step up and face the sharks who patrol the top of Bellator’s featherweight division.

At Bellator 182 Lahat faced former two-division King of the Cage champion Henry Corrales. Lahat, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, could not overcome the striking of Corrales and lost a unanimous decision.

At Bellator 188, Lahat (11-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) heads back to Israel where he faces Labiano (11-5 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in the headlining bout.

Labiano was set to face rising star James Gallagher in the main event of Bellator 187, but the Irish fighter suffered a knee injury before that contest, and the promotion shifted Labiano to this card.

Labiano, who is also a BJJ black belt, won the Conquer FC featherweight title in June. Lahat doesn’t have as much hype behind him as Gallagher, but if the American fighter can get a win here, he’ll be in position to move up in competition in his next outing.

2. A long, storied career

Gozali ‘s MMA career has been long but not very active. He made his pro debut in 1998 against a young Carlos Newton. He lost that bout to the future UFC champion by first-round submission. Over the next six years, Gozali went 5-0. He won each of those matchups by first-round stoppage. After more than two years away from the sport he faced Ronaldo Souza on a Jungle Fights card. Like the Newton fight, that “Jacare” bout ended with Gozali on the wrong end of a first-round submission.

After the loss to Souza, Gozali took almost six years off from MMA. He returned in 2012 and has gone 2-2 since then. His most recent bout was a decision loss to Ryan Couture at Bellator 180. That fight was the first time Gozali left the first round in his career.

The 44-year-old Gozali is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. As a BJJ player he was the first Israeli athlete to compete in an ADCC event, doing so in 2005. He also promotes Bellator fights in Israel.

Gozali meets Faitovich in this welterweight bout. The 24-year-old Ukrainian makes his Bellator debut on this card. Like Gozali (7-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), Faitovich (4-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) likes to work fast. His four wins have come by stoppage, while his only loss is a first-round knockout defeat.

3. In need of an impressive win

Before his Bellator 181 fight against Kendall Grove, Salter told MMAjunkie he wanted to have the Bellator middleweight title around his waist before 2018. That’s not going to happen since current champ Rafael Carvalho will defend that title in December at Bellator 190 against Alessio Sakara.

An additional roadblock was placed in Salter’s path when Gegard Mousasi joined the promotion’s 185-pound division and defeated former champ Alexander Shlemenko in October. Before the fight, Mousasi told MMAjunkie that Bellator promised him the winner of the Carvalho vs. Sakara fight with a win in that contest.

The black cloud over Salter’s head reappeared in the lead-up to Bellator 188. He was originally booked to face the 25-2 Anatoly Tokov on this card, but an injury put Tokov out of commission. Salter (14-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) now faces Jason Radcliffe, (12-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) who is on a two-fight losing skid.

Salter has been impressive during his run with Bellator. Four fights into it, he has racked up four stoppage victories, including a first-round submission win over former middleweight champion Brandon Halsey.

If Salter wants to stay in the mix for a title shot in the coming months, he needs to add a fifth stoppage victory.

4. Give it another go

If you’ve been following Bellator Kickboxing, the name Denise Kielholtz should be familiar. The 28-year-old Dutch fighter is 4-1 with the kickboxing promotion and 47-3 overall. She’s also the current Bellator Kickboxing flyweight champion.

Kielholtz tries her hand at MMA for the second time at Bellator 188. Her first MMA bout did not go well. She lost that 2015 contest via first-round submission at Torarica Summer Fights 1.

Kielholtz, who holds a kickboxing win over current Glory super bantamweight champion Tiffany van Soest, has heavy hands and is very effective when she throws counter combinations. Kielholtz (0-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will need to rely on that speed in this flyweight bout against Jessica Middleton (2-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA), who holds significant advantages in both height and reach.

Middleton began her MMA career with two wins, but she’s dropped her two most recent fights. All four of her bouts have come under the Bellator banner.

5. It’s been a busy year

Kirill Medvedovsky’s first run with Bellator lasted two fights. He lost both those contests by first-round stoppage. To be fair, the promotion didn’t give the young Israeli fighter easy matchups. In his first Bellator fight he faced former WSOF featherweight champ Georgi Karakhanyan in a 150-pound catchweight bout. Medvedovsky then faced Gallagher.

Since those losses, the 24-year-old has gone 4-1. Three of Medvedovsky’s victories came via first-round stoppage. His fourth win was a second-round technical submission.

The most eye-opening thing about that run is all seven of those fights have taken place since last November.

For his return to Bellator, Medvedovsky (11-5 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) gets an opponent who is more in line with his experience level. Luiz Victor Rocha, who trains with Pitbull Brothers, is 3-1. Rocha (3-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has two wins by decision and one TKO.

This bout should be a good opportunity for Medvedovsky to show that he can fight on the big stage while also providing an introduction to the 28-year-old Rocha, who makes his Bellator debut on this card.

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 188 pre-event facts: Can John Salter overtake middleweight submission record?

Bellator’s second consecutive overseas event take place on Friday when Bellator 188 goes down from Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel.

After losing the original main event just days out, the four-fight line-up on Spike (which airs via tape-delay) features a featherweight headliner. Israel’s own Noah Lahat (11-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) takes on Haim Gozali (7-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA).

For more on the numbers behind Friday’s Bellator 188 fight card, check out a dozen pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main card

Noad Lahat

Lahat, 33, is the oldest of the eight scheduled main card fighters.

Lahat is 2-1 since he was released from the UFC in February 2016.

Gozali has earned all eight of his career victories by first-round stoppage. Six of those wins are by submission.

John Salter’s (14-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) four-fight Bellator winning streak in middleweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Rafael Carvalho (five).

Salter has earned all 13 of his career victories by stoppage. He’s also been stopped inside the distance in all his losses.

Salter’s three submission victories in Bellator middleweight competition are tied with Justin Butcher for most in divisional history.

Jason Radcliffe (12-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) returns to Bellator for the first time since a 14-second knockout victory in his promotional debut at Bellator 158 in June 2016.

Radcliffe is 3-2 since his initial Bellator appearance.

Radcliffe has never gone to a decision in his 16-fight career.

Jessica Middleton (2-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) competes in her fifth Bellator flyweight bout, the third most appearances in divisional history behind Ilima Macfarlane (six) and Emily Ducote (six).

Middleton has suffered her two career losses to Macfarlane and Ducote.

Arsen Faitovich (4-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) 24, is the youngest of the eight scheduled main card fighters.

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

With Anatoly Tokov out at Bellator 188, Jason Radcliffe meets John Salter in Israel

Bellator’s return to Israel later this month has seen a change to a middleweight fight on the main card.

Anatoly Tokov (25-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has suffered an undisclosed injury and his out of his fight against John Salter (14-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), a Bellator official today told MMAjunkie. Stepping in for Tokov will be Jason Radcliffe (12-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) on short notice.

Bellator 188 takes place Nov. 16 at Menora Mivtachim Arena Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

It’s Bellator’s second trip to Tel Aviv after a sellout show at Bellator 164, which featured Douglas Lima’s welterweight title-winning bout against Andrey Koreshkov. This time around, champ Patricio Freire puts his featherweight belt on the line against Daniel Weichel.

Radcliffe will try to snap a two-fight skid that comes on the heels of a seven-fight winnning streak over two and a half years. Included in that run was a 14-second knockout of Jack Mason at Bellator 158, the Londoner’s lone fight for the promotion.

Radcliffe started out his 2017 campaign promising with a second-round knockout win on a card in India. But in his debut for Cage Warriors in June, he was stopped by Oskar Piechota with a 32-second TKO in a fight for the middleweight title. Piechota went on to sign with the UFC. And in October, he suffered a TKO loss to Shane Mitchell in Australia.

Salter has six straight wins, including four straight for Bellator. All six of the victories in that run have come by stoppage, including the most recent three in the first round. Since his release from the UFC in 2010, Salter has gone 9-1. Most recently, he submitted Kendall Grove with a first-round rear-naked choke at Bellator 181 in July.

Tokov was attempting to build on a successful promotional debut in February when he stopped Francisco France with a second-round TKO at Bellator 172. That got him back on track after a majority decision loss thi spast December, which snapped a 17-fight winning streak for the Russian.

With the change, the Bellator 188 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m.)

  • Champ Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Weichel – for featherweight title
  • Jason Radcliffe vs. John Salter
  • Denise Kielholtz vs. Jessica Middleton
  • Jeremiah Labiano def. Noad Lahat
  • Arsen Faitovich vs. Haim Gozali

PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 7 p.m.)

  • Oron Kahlon vs. Julian Maloku
  • Rami Abuhave vs. Alexander Nikulin
  • Shimon Gosh vs. Francisco Silva
  • Iren Racz vs. Olga Rubin
  • Gad Abisror vs. Alexey Trofimov
  • Shay Almog vs. Anthony Nisim Mor
  • Or Eliov vs. Natanel Parisi
  • Moshe Ben Chimol vs. Ivan Solomatov
  • Matan Levi vs. Erik Sianov
  • Mor Attias vs. Assaf Batan

For more on Bellator 188, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 181 post-event facts: Joe Warren creeps toward Bellator's all-time wins record

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Filed under: Bellator, News

The third chapter in the competitive story between Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz took place Friday in Bellator 181’s headliner at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla.

Campos (19-6 MMA, 7-4 BMMA) gained a 2-1 advantage in the series when a knee opened a cut on Girtz’s (14-7 MMA, 6-5 BMMA) forehead, leading to a doctor’s stoppage at the end of the second round in the Spike-televised main event. Prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

For all the numbers to come out of Bellator’s latest event, check below for 20 post-event facts.

* * * *

General

Michael C. Williams

Betting favorites went 3-0 on the main card. One fight had even odds.

Betting favorites remained 8-3 in Bellator main events this year. Campos vs. Girtz closed with even odds.

Total fight time for the four-bout main card was 44:37.

* * * *

Main card

Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz

Campos’ four-fight winning streak is the longest of his Bellator career.

Campos has earned all of his Bellator stoppage victories by strikes.

Girtz suffered his third consecutive loss, the longest skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2015.

Girtz has suffered both of his Bellator stoppage losses due to strikes.

John Salter

John Salter’s (14-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) four-fight Bellator winning streak in middleweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Rafael Carvalho (five).

Salter has earned all 13 of his career victories by stoppage.

Salter’s three submission victories in Bellator middleweight competition are tied with Justin Butcher for most in divisional history.

Kendall Grove (23-17 MMA, 4-4 BMMA) fell to 5-7 in his past 12 fights.

Grove has suffered 12 of his 17 career losses by stoppage.

Grove suffered his first submission loss since Dec. 1, 2012 – a span of 1,686 days (more than four years) and 11 fights.

Emily Ducote

Emily Ducote’s (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) four Bellator victories in women’s flyweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Ilima Macfarlane (five).

Jessica Middleton (2-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) suffered the first decision loss of her career.

Joe Warren’s (15-6 MMA, 13-5 BMMA) 13 victories in Bellator competition are tied with lightweight champ Michael Chandler for second most in company history behind Patricio Freire (14).

Warren’s nine victories in Bellator bantamweight competition are second most in company history behind champ Eduardo Dantas (10).

Joe Warren

Warren has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights.

Warren has earned 10 of his 15 career victories by decision. That includes nine of his 13 wins under the Bellator banner.

Steve Garcia (7-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

For complete coverage of Bellator 181, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch Bellator 181 and its trilogy rematch between Derek Campos, Brandon Girtz

An unexpected rubber match between Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz headlines Friday’s Bellator 181.

It’s unexpected, because up until late June, Campos was training for a rematch with the man who knocked him out in April 2014, Patricky Freire. Don’t think that change sits well with Campos.

For one, Bellator pulled Freire from the card and slotted him opposite former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the Bellator 183 main event in September. That move was made despite the fact Freire is 1-2 in his past three fights, while Campos is unbeaten in his last three. Campos can’t be faulted if he’s wondering why he didn’t get the chance to face Henderson. A second reason Campos is bound to be salty is the last time he faced Girtz, Girtz knocked him out in 37 seconds.

Bellator 181 also features a stacked preliminary card. While the promotion’s prelims are often loaded with inexperienced local talent, this event features some intriguing matchups, including the second Bellator fight of Rafael Lovato Jr., who faces former UFC fighter Mike Rhodes. Also on the prelims is the latest Bellator signing from the NCAA wrestling ranks, Logan Storley.

Bellator 181 takes place at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

1. Familiar foes

The first time Campos and Girtz met was in 2013. Campos won that fight via unanimous decision. Two years later they ran that one back, and Girtz blasted Campos (14-6 MMA, 6-4 BMMA) early, earning a quick 37-second stoppage. Since their second bout, these two have headed in opposite directions.

Campos is on a three-fight winning streak, most recently defeating Derek Anderson by unanimous decision, while Girtz is winless since stopping Campos, his latest loss being a decision to Fernando Gonzalez in a catchweight contest.

For Girtz this lightweight fight is high risk and low reward, for Campos it’s exactly the opposite, which should make for a fun scrap for the fans.

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2. A quiet climb

John Salter has quietly put together a five-fight winning streak, with each of his victories coming by way of stoppage. A major reason Salter’s streak has flown under the radar is because it’s come over the course of more than four years. But a streak it is, and three of those wins have come under the Bellator banner, including a submission win over former champion Brandon Halsey.

Salter (13-3 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) looks to add Kendall Grove (23-16 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) to his list of vanquished opponents at Bellator 181. Grove was on a two-fight winning streak before suffering a TKO loss to former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 162.

If Salter can get the best of Grove, he’ll be in line for a top-ranked opponent in his next outing.

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3. Opportunity knocks

Steve Garcia has a tremendous opportunity at Bellator 181. The 25-year-old bantamweight is fighting on his first main card for the promotion, and he’s matched up against former two-division Bellator champion Joe Warren.

Garcia (7-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) has never faced a fighter with Warren’s (14-6 MMA, 12-5 BMMA) experience, but the members of the Bellator brass must see something they like in the young Jackson-Wink MMA prospect to give him the opportunity to face the veteran combatant, who is coming off a majority decision loss to current bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas.

A cynic might look at this matchup as one made to give Warren an opponent he should handily defeat, but I don’t buy that thinking. Yes, Warren has alternated wins and losses over his last six fights, but he’s also firmly entrenched near the top of the Bellator bantamweight pecking order, so it doesn’t make sense to try and book him a gimme fight.

Garcia enters this contest coming off an October unanimous decision win over Ronnie Lawrence.

On a side note, neither fighter has enjoyed fighting in Thackerville. Warren has lost his last three fights in the city, and Garcia’s sole defeat came in Thackerville.

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4. And for his next act …

Lovato, one of the most decorated Americans practicing jiu-jitsu, didn’t need to employ his grappling expertise in his Bellator debut. Instead, Lovato blasted through Charles Hackman in 13 seconds, using knees and punches to get a quick TKO stoppage. At Bellator 181, Lovato (5-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who joined Bellator after capturing the Legacy FC middleweight crown, gets a step up in competition, facing former RFA welterweight champion and three-fight UFC veteran Rhodes (10-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). Rhodes, whose most recent victory earned him the Victory Fighting Championship middleweight crown, has won his last four fights.

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5. Another notable signing

Bellator has added yet another former NCAA wrestler to its roster. In June the promotion inked Storley, a four-time All-American with the University of Minnesota. The 24-year-old Storley has five pro fights to his name, four with Resurrection Fighting Alliance and one with Legacy Fighting Alliance. Storley has won each of those fights by TKO. Only one of his five bouts has left the first round.

Storley’s (5-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) opponent, Kemmyelle Haley, has been a pro since 2012. Haley (7-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has never gone the distance in victory or defeat, most recently competing in 2015.

For more on Bellator 181, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 181's John Salter aims to be middleweight champ before 2018

John Salter knows he’s got a big challenge in Kendall Grove. But he also knows if he wants to stick to his plan of being Bellator champion by 2018, that’s just the type of opponent he needs.

Salter (13-3 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) meets Grove (23-16 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) at Friday’s Bellator 181 looking to add to a five-fight winning streak that dates back to 2012. Of those wins, three took place in Bellator. None of them went past the second round. In fact, win or lose, Salter has never needed the judges to decide the outcome of a fight in his career.

The key performance of his recent run came last June, when he needed fewer than five minutes to submit Bellator’s former 185-pound titleholder, Brendan Halsey. Salter was the second man to ever beat the ex-champ. The first had been current champ Rafael Carvalho, who captured the promotion’s vacant 185-pound title in the process.

With Halsey as the common denominator between him and Carvalho, who’s since defended his belt twice, Salter believes there’s a case to be made for his own spot atop the division.

“Brendan Halsey had a run through Bellator where nobody was really touching him,” Salter told MMAjunkie ahead of the co-headlining Spike-televised middleweight scrap. “Carvalho caught him with a body kick. I think that was the only thing Carvalho really did to him in that fight. Halsey moved to his back, almost submitted him, beat him up.

“Then I went in there, I ran through Halsey – on the feet, on the ground, everything. So I think that shows I’m right there. I’m ready for that fight.”

After the Bellator 156 meeting with Halsey, Salter went on to add a third win to his spotless promotional record when he dispatched Claudio Annicchiarico in the first-round of their Bellator 168 encounter. Now, with a win over Grove, he expects to add that definitive stamp on the No. 1 contender ticker.

“This is huge,” Salter said. “This is a great opponent, because Kendall is a big name. Kendall’s been tough for a long time. Everybody knows he’s a good fighter, so a win over him means a lot. I want fights that will put me as No. 1 contender in Bellator. I’m not looking for easy fights. I’m looking for the top guys, who’ll put me right there.”

The win over Halsey also meant the end of a 17-month layoff for Salter in the aftermath of an old neck injury. After leaving what, in hindsight, seemed like too little time between a neck surgery in 2014 and his 2015 Bellator debut, Salter started feeling the effects of the hasty recovery in training. So he let his body heal up.

The ensuing back-to-back finishes in a seven-month period sort of speak for themselves. But, in case that’s not proof enough, an injury-free Salter offers some verbal reassurance that those issues are in the past.

“Right now, I’m about as healthy as I’ve ever been going into a fight,” Salter said.

The 32-year-old UFC and Strikeforce vet, who also happens to be a jiu-jitsu black belt and collegiate wrestling champion, is not overlooking Grove’s skillset. Grove, Salter says, is a great grappler. He’s a solid striker. But the major cause for concern when it comes to the fellow UFC vet is quite obvious.

“The biggest strength he has is that he’s 6-foot-6 in a weight class where nobody else is,” Salter said. “So that makes it really tough to fight. Obviously, on the feet, he’s got the reach. I’ve got to work hard to get inside that angle, move around a lot to get inside.

“And then, once we’re on the ground, he can recover from bad positions a lot easier because he’s so tall. (There’s) a lot to worry about there, but I’ve prepared very well for it. Brought in the guys that I needed to prepare for it. And I’m ready to deal with that height.”

Instagram Photo

Salter, who relocated to Nashville mostly so he could train around partners that resembled Grove’s body type, is careful not to let his thoughts wander too far from the task at hand. After all, he hasn’t gotten this far by looking past his opponents. But, at the same time, he does have some plans for the not-so-distant future.

“I’m hoping before 2018 to have that belt around my waist and defend it as often as possible.”

For more on Bellator 181, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 181 pre-event facts: Joe Warren ties all-time record with 18th Bellator bout

Three weeks removed from the biggest event in company history, Bellator returns Friday with Bellator 181, which takes place at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla.

The main card, which airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie, has experienced a variety of changes, but the final product sees Derek Campos (18-6 MMA, 7-4 BMMA) fight lightweight Brandon Girtz (14-6 MMA, 6-4 BMMA) in a trilogy bout.

They’ve split results in the previous encounters, but now one side will have the chance to close out the rivalry by winning the best-of-three series.

For more on the numbers behind the headliner, as well as the remainder of the card, check out 20 pre-event facts about Bellator 181.

* * * *

Main event

Derek Campos

Campos and Girtz become the second fighters in Bellator history to compete against the same opponent three or more times under the promotional banner. Patricio Freire and Daniel Straus, who have fought four times, are the others.

Campos’ three-fight winning streak is tied for the longest of his Bellator career.

Campos has earned five of his seven Bellator victories by decision.

Girtz enters the event on the first two-fight losing skid of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since November 2015.

Girtz has earned 11 of his 15 career victories by stoppage. That includes four of his six Bellator wins.

Co-main event

Emily Ducote

Emily Ducote (5-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) competes in her fifth Bellator women’s flyweight bout, tied with Ilima Macfarlane for the most appearances in divisional history.

Ducote’s three Bellator stoppage victories in women’s flyweight competition are tied with Macfarlane for most in divisional history.

Ducote’s three Bellator submission victories in women’s flyweight competition are tied with Macfarlane for most in divisional history.

Remaining main card

Joe Warren

Joe Warren (14-6 MMA, 12-5 BMMA), 40, is the oldest of the eight fighters scheduled to compete on the main card.

Warren is the only fighter in Bellator history to win titles in two weight classes. He is a former featherweight and bantamweight titleholder.

Warren competes in his 18th Bellator bout, tied with Patricio Freire and David Rickels for most appearances in company history.

Warren competes in his 13th Bellator bantamweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Warren’s 12 victories in Bellator competition are tied for third most in company history behind Freire (14) and Michael Chandler (13).

Warren’s eight victories in Bellator bantamweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Eduardo Dantas (10).

Warren has alternated wins and losses over his past six fights. He suffered a loss in his most recent bout at Bellator 166 in December.

Steve Garcia (7-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA), 25, is the youngest of the eight scheduled main card fighters.

Kendall Grove

Kendall Grove (23-16 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) is 5-5 in his past 10 fights dating back to 2013.

Grove has earned three of his four Bellator victories by stoppage.

Grove has suffered all three of his Bellator losses by knockout.

John Salter (13-3 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) has earned all of his career victories by stoppage. He’s also been stopped inside the distance in all his losses.

For more on Bellator 181, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie