Bellator 104 Recap: Rick Hawn Proves A Solid Boxer For A Judoka
Bellator 104 from the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has concluded and the fireworks that were hoped for failed to materialize. The card, as broadcast on SPIKE TV, was not bad, but it wasn’t great either.
The best fight of the night was clearly the top of the card bout, between Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman. Weedman did his best to be a worthy opponent, but Hawn was too everything; difficult to find, takedown, hit; anything.
My guess is that Hawn will probably defeat Ron Keslar, the other winner in tonight’s tournament and advance to the championship, to face Ben Askren; should Askren be signed to the fight. If so, Askren may well have a hard time taking the Olympian down.
As to Kendal Grove, he looked pretty good and as against a solid wrestler who was both game and in shape. “Da Spidda” still needs to improve his wrestling, tighten up his ground game and improve his Octagon IQ, but make no doubt about it, his stand-up is pretty serious.
The results of the evening are as follows:
Fight #1: Peter Graham vs. Eric Prindle
There’s not much to say about this fight other than it was, for the most part a yawn. Prindle, who is just enormous (cuts weight to hit 265), came out strong, but other than some come forward boxing had little else. Graham quickly took the round over and started showing Prindle that technique will always beat size and raw power. After delivering some heavy shots, Prindle was dropped to the ground and Graham began to land a vicious beating, opening up a big cut on Prindle’s forehead, but he somehow survived and got back up. Round two broke and midway through both fighters were gassed. From then on, the fight looked more like a slow barroom brawl between two drunken men. There is little to remember. The highlight of the fight might have been literally at the end of round three, when Graham dropped Prindle with a front snap kick. On that note, he was probably saved by the bell; winner by unanimous decision, Peter Graham.
Fight #2: Kendall Grove vs. Joe Vedepo
The fight, for the most part, was all about Kendall Grove. Grove looked very good tonight, but not great. He probably could have finished this fight a number of times tonight, had he elected to use his distance consistently and stayed out of ground encounters that he could easily have avoided. The story of this fight was Grove’s transition and lack of Octagon IQ. Several times Grove had Vedepo in trouble, but every time he did, he failed to capitalize. When he dropped Vedepo to the ground or was effective from range, he chose to either follow or clinch. For the lack of capitalization, Grove then had to now work for that which he was easily earning. Grove did a lot of damage during the fight, inclusive of some big cuts and demonstrated some very solid Jiu Jitsu, while on the ground. His stand-up also looked tight. In his victory tonight, he defeated an aggressive, tough and in shape fighter. All in all, it was a decent showing; winner by unanimous decision, Kendall Grove.
Fight #3: Ron Keslar vs. War Machine
Ron Keslar came out and very calmly engaged and took War Machine down and from that point forward, he worked a methodical Jiu Jitsu game, taking “WM’s” back and delivering stiff shots, from behind. WM withstood it all and showing, skill, toughness and power, worked free of Keslar’s body triangle and worked his way back to his feet. However and even though up, WM was unable to shake free of Keslar and at that point, Keslar yanked him head first back to the ground and submitted War Machine; winner by rear-naked choke, Ron Keslar at the 3:31 mark of the first round.
Fight #4: Rick Hawn vs. Brent Weedman
The story of this fight was Rick Hawn, his boxing and his takedown defense. In a word, it was all very good. Brent Weedman came out and bell’s ring and tried to put it on Hawn and force the fight to the ground, immediately. However, Hawn would have none of it, and with that point, the point was made for the rest of the fight. Hawn proved too talented, too strong and too quick to be caught. As such Weedman had to deal with Hawn’s ever improving and impressive boxing, and he couldn’t. To the point, for a guy who is a high level Judoka, Hawn looks more like a (good) boxer, with amazing takedown defense. At the end of the day, Hawn easily won all three rounds with crisp boxing, some solid power shots, ground-and-pound as required and even a top position given up in order to force the fight back to the feet; winner by unanimous decision, Rick Hawn.
Paul Bradley vs. Karl Amoussou: Bradley defeats Amoussou via unanimous decision.
Paul Sass vs. Rod Montoya: Sass defeats Montoya via toe-hold at 2:01 mark of the first round.
Rob Emerson vs. Jared Downing: Emerson defeats Downing via heel-hook at 1:44 of the first round.
Brandon Girtz vs. Mike Estus: Girtz defeats Estus via arm-bar at the 4:25 mark of the first round.
Cliff Wright vs. Derek Loffer: Wright defeats Loffer via arm-bar at the 4:28 mark of the second round.
Andre Tieva vs. Chris Lane: Tieva defeats Lane via TKO at the 2:14 mark of the first round.