It’s time to take a look at the welterweight semi-finals at Bellator 104, shown this past Friday night on Viva here in Britain.
The broadcast began with the big boys of the heavyweight division as Eric Prindle went up against Peter Graham.
This was a fine example of how a fight can start out strongly before fizzling out towards the end.
It began with Prindle coming forward looking to land a barrage of blows, but as the round went on Graham looked in top form. His stinging kicks to the leg could be heard throughout the arena, and his big right hand put Prindle on his back twice. The second time around Graham followed his man down for a spot of ground and pound, opening up a bad cut on his forehead, but despite all of his efforts the Aussie couldn’t get the finish.
It was the same story in the second when his big right had Prindle in trouble again, but once again he couldn’t get the finish. It was then that both fighters began to look somewhat exhausted as this fight became something of a tippy-tappy affair.
This was quite evident in the third. Although Graham connected with a couple of big rights again he clearly lacked the energy to follow up on this success, and as they continued with their tippy-tappy ways the fight ended on a bit of a high note when a front kick from Graham put Prindle on his backside again.
As for the judges there was no surprise with their decision as they gave everything to Graham.
Middleweight action followed as Joe Vedepo went up against Kendall Grove.
This certainly proved to be a lot more entertaining than the opening encounter. Both fighters gave a good account of themselves throughout here.
Grove put on an excellent all-round display. His striking looked crisp and neat, but it was on the ground that he really excelled, and this was never more evident than when he knocked Vedepo down in the first. The local guy popped right back up and scored with the takedown, only to find himself on the receiving end of numerous submission attempts.
Vedepo was certainly a game fighter. He took everything Grove was throwing at him and kept coming back for me, especially with his takedowns. The only problem was that Grove was a hell of a lot better on the ground, and even though he found himself on his back on more than one occasion he was always on the offensive.
But with no finish in sight the judges were called upon again, and once again they were in complete agreement as Grove took the unanimous decision.
Then it was on to the semi-finals of the welterweight tournament. Semi-final #1 saw Ron Keslar taking on War Machine.
The only fight of the broadcast that didn’t go the distance saw Keslar taking his man’s back before dragging him down to the mat. Machine tried to cage walk his way out of his predicament, and he eventually got back to his feet, but by then Keslar had already locked in a body triangle. A few seconds later he synched in a rear naked choke, and when Machine dropped to the mat and passed out the referee stepped in to give Keslar the win by technical submission.
Semi-final #2 saw Brent Weedman taking on Rick Hawn.
This certainly proved to be one of those interesting three rounders. Before the fight began our esteemed announcers wondered if Weedman’s previous defeat to Hawn would have any bearing on what was about to happen. To me it looks like it did.
Weedman instigated a clinch early on, but he soon found himself on the canvas when Hawn scored with the trip, and although Weedman did a good job of shutting his man down as the fight went on it looked as if he was missing that certain something.
Hawn’s striking performance was top notch through. A right/left combination had Weedman in some trouble, and whenever he went for a right it looked like Weedman would be spending more time kissing the canvas. Weedman’s performance in this department was almost the polar opposite. He would often feint and move forward, only to find himself on the receiving end of a blow or two, and he hardly threw any jabs, instead using the front kick in an effort to gauge the distance.
As time went on it became obvious to anyone with the gift of sight who was going to win. Weedman added a bit of pep into his performance early in the third, but by then it was far too late.
As for the judges they were in complete agreement once again as Hawn took the unanimous decision.
In conclusion – Bellator’s latest excursion onto British television screens was something of a mixed bag this time around.
While Peter Graham and Eric Prindle promised much at the beginning before slowly fizzling away the other three bouts delivered to varying degrees, with the welterweight tournament shaping up nicely with what could be a very good final.
But neither of the semi-finals were in the running for the fight of the night no-prize. This time around that particular honour goes to the great middleweight encounter between Kendall Grove and Joe Vedepo. Now that was good.
So with all of that out of the way there’s only one more thing left to do, and that’s to give Bellator 104 the thumbs up.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!