Bellator 104 takes place tonight at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and features the promotion’s welterweight tournament semi-finals, as well as the Bellator debut of former UFC middleweight Kendal Grove. The show starts at 9 pm EST and can be seen on SPIKE TV.
The two main features on the card, Rick Hawn vs. Brent Weedman & War Machine vs. Ron Keslar, should both be spirited and well contested affairs, as they feature talented fighters.
Rick Hawn vs. Brent Weedman is a re-match of sorts.
The pair met back in May of 2012, when they squared off for Bellator’s season 6 lightweight tournament finales and battled for three rounds, where at the bout’s end, Hawn’s hand was raised via unanimous decision.
Hawn is a very talented fighter and has a black belt in Judo, and is a former Olympic Judoka competitor (placed 9th at the 2004 games). He also has a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu and has developed a decent stand-up game. In his last outing, he used his speed, footwork and angles to completely exhaust and confuse, the heavy handed and enormous, Herman Terrado.
For his part, Brent Weedman is a tough mixed martial artist who’s difficult to stop and is more apt to lose by decision, than by submission or KO / TKO. Regarding that point, he hasn’t been stopped since 2007. His finishing rate stands at an impressive 86% and is balanced, with a blend of KO’s / TKO’s and submissions; 10 & 9 respectively.
As the longer, taller fighter (six foot to Hawn’s 5’9”) and given that Hawn will prove difficult to take down, Weedman would be wise to try and keep Hawn at range, and attempt to score a KO or decision victory. However, as Hawn is very good at working his angles and darting in and out, that might prove to be a difficult task. Either way, it’s a well matched fight and should prove a good one.
War Machine vs. Ron Keslar, this should be a solid fight. For any and all that know, War Machine is a tough fighter. “WM” brings it when he fights and Keslar needs to ready for it. In his last bout he demonstrated some truly amazing ground skills, and on a solid ground fighter, when he tapped out Vaughn Anderson by way of rear-naked choke. To make the point of how truly good WM really is, he has an astonishing 100% finishing rate (8 KO / TKO & 6 submissions) over his 14 & 4 professional record. Three of his losses, however, have come by way of submission stoppage, the last in 2010 to John Alessio, and that could be the door that Keslar will try and slip through.
Ron Keslar is a 10 & 3 fighter, who hails from the “American Kickboxing Academy” and is more a ground fighter than a stand-up artist. He carries a 50% finishing rate and has only one KO to his credit; November of 2011. He does, however, have three submission stoppages.
In considering this fight, Keslar had better be on his toes. On paper at least, WM is the considerably better fighter and Keslar will need his “A” game to cull a victory, tonight.
Should both Hawn and War Machine win their respective bouts, it would set up a great bout between the two and deliver a solid opponent for current Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, should he resign with the promotion.
Lastly, Kendall Grove makes his Bellator debut tonight and for any that have been a fan of “Da Spyder”, then surely this is a can’t miss fight. For all the hope and promise that he showed when he first debuted on TUF 3 back in 2006, the six-foot-six middleweight has struggled to find his way in the world of MMA.
Once thought to be a rising star in the sport, Grove has slipped to an 18 & 13 record and will be looking to prove that at age 30, it’s not too late to turn it around and still become a big star. The case that Kendall now needs to prove is that he has the heart and the chin, to go along with the other great skills that he has. Tonight is the first step in demonstrating that case.
The card, fighters, matches and weights are as follows:
MAIN CARD: (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET)
Rick Hawn (170.4) vs. Brent Weedman (170.7); semi-final bout
Ron Keslar (170.7) vs. War Machine (170.5); semi-final bout
Kendall Grove (185.7) vs. Joe Vedepo (185.2)
Peter Graham (246.6) vs. Eric Prindle (265.6)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 7 p.m. ET)
Karl Amoussou (170.6) vs. Paul Bradley (171)
Rod Montoya (155.8) vs. Paul Sass (155.1)
Jared Downing (148.3) vs. Rob Emerson (145.6); 150 pound catch-weight bout
Mike Estus (157.6) vs. Brandon Girtz (160); 160 pound catch-weight bout
Derek Loffer (160.4) vs. Cliff Wright (154); 161 pound catch-weight bout
Chris Lane (146) vs. Andrew Tieva (144.6)