Sometimes fights generate interest because of the similarities between fighters.
The next Bellator Middleweight Championship bout, which takes place on Friday, May 15, at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California? The particulars, Kendall Grove and Brandon Halsey, couldn’t be further apart.
First, the champion Halsey. He’s not a household name by any means, and he’s not the most experienced, at only eight fights. But Halsey can boast several things that few MMA fighters can.
A former Division 1 wrestler from California State University at Bakersfield, the man they call “The Bull” has earned an undefeated record over the past three years at 8-0. Along the way, he won the middleweight title at North America’s second biggest MMA promotion.
Last year, Halsey earned his shot at the belt by winning the Bellator Season Ten Middleweight Tournament — highlighted by an armbar win over one of the promotion’s mainstays in Brett Cooper. Few gave him a chance against the dominant champion Shlemenko when they met in September, but Halsey finished the Russian with a choke in just 35 seconds.
On the other hand, the challenger, Kendall Grove is a well-known figure in MMA, mostly due to winning the title of The Ultimate Fighter season three back in 2006. But he has no titles to his credit today; and his record in recent years has been up-and-down.
Grove, of Maui, Hawaii, has gone 3-3 in his last six bouts dating back to 2013 — including a loss to Cooper at that same Bellator Season Ten Middleweight Tournament last year.
The 6’6″ Grove has earned a 21-14-1 record since 2003. He lacks wrestling experience but is known for a striking attack, as well as a submission acumen which has earned him ten MMA victories — including a choke of Christian M’Pumbu in his last Bellator appearance. Grove earned a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in his years training on the US mainland with Justin McCully.
The event will be televised live on SPIKE TV in the US.