Bellator 181 takes place tonight at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and will be headlined by a trilogy bout as Derek Campos meets Brandon Girtz in a catchweight bout of 158 pounds.

In the co-main event of the main card on Spike, John Salter will attempt to make his claim for a title shot in the middleweight division as he meets Kendall Grove and the main card will also see the return of the self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet” as Joe Warren meets Steve Garcia.

Now let’s take a closer look at the four fights that will take place on the main card of Bellator 181.

Derek Campos (18-6) vs. Brandon Girtz (14-6)
Campos was initially scheduled to headline this fight card against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire. However, Pitbull was recently moved to the main event of Bellator 183 against Benson Henderson and Campos will now have his trilogy bout against Girtz.

  • Currently on a three fight winning streak (Melvin Guillard, Djamil Chan, and Derek Anderson)
  • Tied with Saad Awad for the 4th fastest victory in Bellator lightweight division history (31-seconds vs. Estevan Payan at Bellator 126).
  • Tied with multiple fighters for the 4th most TKO/KO wins in Bellator lightweight division history.

Girtz will be looking to snap a two fight losing streak and score his first victory since defeating Campos at Bellator 146 in late 2015. This will be his 11th fight in Bellator and he’s 5-3 in his last eight fights.

  • The victory over Campos at Bellator 146 is the 8th fastest victory in Bellator lightweight division history.
  • Currently tied with Derek Anderson for the 7th most wins in Bellator lightweight division history.
  • Four of his six wins in Bellator have come by stoppage.

Kendall Grove (23-16) vs. John Salter (13-3)
Bellator 181 will mark the first fight for Grove since losing to former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 162 last year. Prior to that defeat, he had won back to back fights and both of those wins came by TKO/KO.

  • Since entering Bellator in 2013, Grove has gone 4-3.
  • Tied with multiple fighters for the 5th most TKO/KO wins in Bellator middleweight division history.
  • Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner

Salter comes into this fight riding a five fight winning streak and is coming off a TKO win in December at Bellator 168 against Claudio Annicchiarico. All of his wins in Bellator have come by stoppage, including a submission win against former Bellator middleweight champion Brandon Halsey at Bellator 156.

  • Tied with several fighters for the 2nd most submission wins in Bellator middleweight division history.
  • 8-1 since exiting the UFC in 2010.
  • Two of his last four wins have come by triangle choke submission.

Emily Ducote (5-2) vs. Jessica Middleton (2-1)
Ducote was originally scheduled to fight Valerie Letourneau on this fight card, but Letourneau pulled out of the fight late last week. Ducote will be looking for her second straight victory as she is coming off a submission win in March at Bellator 174 against Katy Collins.

  • All of her stoppage victories (3) have come by submission.
  • 3-1 in Bellator.

Middleton made her professional debut nearly one year ago at Bellator 159 and all of her professional fights have come in Bellator. She enters this short notice fight following a defeat as she lost to Ilima-Lei MacFarlane at Bellator 178 in April.

  • Both of her professional wins have come by unanimous decision.
  • 3rd fight of 2017.

Joe Warren (14-6) vs. Steve Garcia (7-1)
Warren will be looking to bounce back tonight as he enters this fight following a majority decision defeat against current Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas. He has alternated wins and losses in his last six fights and this will mark his 18th fight in Bellator.

  • 3rd most cage time in Bellator history (3:38:11).
  • One of three fighters in Bellator history to win a tournament in two different weight classes.
  • Tied with Eduardo Dantas for most wins in Bellator bantamweight division history and tied for third most wins in Bellator history.

Garcia initially made his Bellator debut in 2015 and scored a victory against Shawn Bunch. He is coming off a decision victory against Ronnie Lawrence at Bellator 162 and he is 5-1 in Bellator.

  • All of his stoppage victories (5) have come by TKO/KO.
  • This will be his third fight at the WinStar World Casino (1-1).

The complete Bellator 181: Campos vs. Girtz 3 fight card is below.

Main Card (Spike – 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Derek Campos (18-6) vs. Brandon Girtz (14-6)
Kendall Grove (23-16) vs. John Salter (13-3)
Emily Ducote (5-2) vs. Jessica Middleton (2-1)
Joe Warren (14-6) vs. Steve Garcia (7-1)

Preliminary Card (Bellator.com – 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
Will Florentino (5-4) vs. Jonathan Gary (12-8)
Aaron Rodriguez (0-0) vs. Romero Cotton (0-0)
Kemmyelle Haley (7-4) vs. Logan Storley (5-0)
Andre Fialho (7-1) vs. A.J. Matthews (8-6)
Brittney Elkin (3-3) vs. Amanda Bell (4-4)
E.J. Brooks (10-5) vs. Guilherme Bomba (9-3)
Mike Rhodes (10-4) vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. (5-0)
Treston Thomison (10-4) vs. Justin Lawrence (9-4)
Valentin Moldavsky (6-1) vs. Carl Seumanutafa (11-7)
Katy Collins (6-2) vs. Bruna Vargas (2-1)
Jordan Howard (9-3) vs. Johnny Marigo (4-0)
Guillermo Gomez (0-0) vs. Fernando Trevino (1-0)

26 Responses

  1. Hardcore MMA Fan

    Did you see the Sherdog forum where it said the UFC should just buy Bellator? I hate UFC only fans that want all the best fighters in one place. And fans that want only UFC to be successful. MMA needs a promotion like Bellator and others to be more competitive in the MMA landscape.

    • Hardcore MMA Fan

      I read that and it really pissed me off. He says he hates Bellator poaching fighters from the UFC. But the fact is UFC poaches fighters from every single MMA league there’s ever been. He also want’s UFC and Bellator to work together to screw fighters wtf.. I hate the UFC for buying Strikeforce. And I hate Scott Coker for not having someone buy Strikeforce from the parent company instead of the UFC. I hope UFC never buys another MMA league. They never should’ve even bought Strikeforce in the first place. They wouldn’t be as big as they are now if they didn’t.

      • Hardcore MMA Fan

        I hope Viacom within the next 2 years buys Rizin and Invicta. Or ONE Championship.

  2. Hardcore MMA Fan

    If I was the UFC I wouldn’t have bought Strikeforce. Instead I would embrace the challenge of competing with Strikeforce and Bellator. It would have been great for MMA. And if I kicked their asses most of the time. Then I would feel really good about it.

    • Jason Floyd

      I did not see the post on Sherdog forums you are referring to. On your comment about “hope Viacom within the next 2 years buys Rizin and Invicta or ONE Championship,” here is what you have to consider: What is the value of those promotions to Viacom? Is it the fight library (if that is available for purchase) or is it the fighter contracts. From where Bellator is currently at, don’t see the value in them trying to buy those promotions.

      • Hardcore MMA Fan

        let’s say they buy Invicta. Then they can put their 2 women’s divisions in Invicta’s and run it as a separate females only league. Have Invicta on Spike with Bellator MMA and kickboxing.

      • Jason Floyd

        I understand where you are coming from. But since I am fairly confident that UFC Fight Pass owns the Invicta fight library, I do not think Viacom would see a ton of value in buying Invicta. If Bellator wanted to acquire a majority of the Invicta roster, I think they could do that. Just going to have to pay more money to fighters to acquire their services than what they are currently being paid in Invicta.

  3. Hardcore MMA Fan

    Out of these 4 MMA leagues which is Viacom most likely to buy: ONE Championship, M1 Global, Rizin FF, or Bamma? If they bought ONE or M1 they’d be buying their fight libraries and roster as well as market share.

    • Jason Floyd

      Let me say this: I think it’s highly unlikely that Viacom would buy another MMA promotion. They have spent a ton of money on Bellator. When a promotion is buying another promotion, you have to look at what you are getting. Just don’t see what the value is in Viacom even considering to buy those promotions.

  4. Hardcore MMA Fan

    Did you like the fights that were announced last night? I saw on Tapology Mousasi vs Shlemenko unconfirmed rumor yesterday. And I knew they’d announce it on the broadcast. I can’t believe the Middleweight champ isn’t defending his title until December. Do you think he fights in Russia before then?

    • Jason Floyd

      I did like the fights that we announced. Mousasi vs. Shlemenko should be a great fight. Was a little surprised to see them book Lawal vs. McGeary. Thought they might give McGeary a bounce back fight before putting him in there against a top light heavyweight. When it comes to the middleweight title, it’s been reported by multiple outlets that they are planning on having Carvalho defend the title against Sakara in Italy, which I am not a fan of that fight booking. Two main reasons why I do not like that fight booking is that Sakara has not fought at middleweight since 2013 and John Salter is deserving of that title shot.

  5. Hardcore MMA Fan

    What do you think when UFC only fans say he’s a big fish in a tiny pond? About a top fighter in Bellator. I see it as a big pond and UFC is a fucking ocean. And I hate when people say he belongs in the UFC. I wish Bellator had at least 30 % of the best fighters in MMA and UFC 60% and the rest of MMA 10%.

    • Hardcore MMA Fan

      Actually Bellator is a lake and UFC is a fucking ocean.

    • Jason Floyd

      In the current landscape of mixed martial arts, it can be tough to prove you are one of the best fighters in your weight class when you are not in the UFC. I do believe Bellator is starting to change that, but it’s going to be a long time before peoples mindsets will change. For example, look at Will Brooks. Was the clear #1 lightweight in Bellator and he is 1-2 in the UFC. Now on the other hand, look at Justin Gaethje. Just beat the #5 title challenger and is now facing the former UFC champion. Everything is a case by case scenario. As I have always said, I want to see fighters make the most money possible and I do not care what organization they fight for. Just want to see fighters succeed financially in this sport.

      • Hardcore MMA Fan

        Eddie Alvarez a former Bellator and UFC lightweight champ. One of three Bellator fighters to be UFC champs. There are three times more Bellator fighters in the UFC then there are UFC fighters in Bellator. And Bellator fighters have done pretty well against UFC fighters. So have Strikeforce guys.

      • Jason Floyd

        Of course there would be more Bellator alum in the UFC than UFC alum in Bellator since UFC has 400 more fighters under long term contracts.

      • Hardcore MMA Fan

        I know, but everybody thinks Bellator is the home of UFC rejects. And they have no idea how many Bellator fighters are in the UFC. But they sign the best from every league. Bellator signs a lot of guys from the UFC that are past their prime and are on losing streaks. UFC has the best fighters from every league there’s ever been. And they don’t do BS releases like Bellator does.

  6. Hardcore MMA Fan

    UFC is Mcdonalds and Bellator is Burger King. Or in terms of NBA: UFC is the Western Conference and Bellator is the Eastern Conference.

  7. Hardcore MMA Fan

    Bellator 183 is on Saturday because they are in San Jose that night. I think Bellator 185 should be on Saturday as well. That day UFC has an afternoon card I believe.

    • Jason Floyd

      It’s tough to do a Friday night card in California, since you are expecting people wanting to watch the prelims to get there at 4p. Coker has previously talked about this and why they want to do California events on Saturday’s. In terms of Bellator 185, Mohegan Sun is a great location for them. Always draw well there and from a box office perspective, I do not think it matters if the event is on Friday or Saturday.

  8. Hardcore MMA Fan

    What’s the point of having a PPV if you’re going show it a month later on your network? I would have shown it in August. Do you know if they will air the full Bellator PPV? Or just the main/ co and Lima vs Larkin?

    • Jason Floyd

      They (Spike) did the same thing with Bellator 120 as I recall. Also, UFC makes their pay-per-views available on Fight Pass 1 month after they aired live. The reason they have to wait 30 days to air pay-per-view in another format is due to contract with pay-per-view providers. My understanding is that the entire PPV will be shown, but I will ask Bellator to confirm.

      • Hardcore MMA Fan

        Spike showed Bellator 120 in late July. It aired live on PPV in May. I’m pretty sure. And I believe it did 890k avg viewers.

      • Jason Floyd

        Just looked it up and you are correct, it aired in July. FYI, all of the fights from the PPV are now available on Bellator website.

      • Hardcore MMA Fan

        That doesn’t make any sense. Why put it on your website before it airs on Spike. That’s so stupid. UFC usually has their PPV’s on FS1 3 or 4 months after it airs live.