Free fight: Derek Campos vs. Brandon Girtz III

In case you missed the main event of Bellator 181 between Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz, Bellator MMA has uploaded the full, uncut video for you to view and get your fix of extreme, bloody, caged violence.

This was the third time these fighters had met, in which Girtz had recorded two victories – the first by decision and the second via KO after just 37 seconds. However, Campos had put together a three fight win streak since that meeting (including wins over Melvin Guillard and Derek Anderson) while Girtz had lost two on the bounce.

Girtz was arguably getting the better of his rival on this occasion too – though each fighter landed plenty of significant strikes and throughout the two rounds of the fight, scoring several knockdowns – but a huge cut, caused by a Campos knee, was the most significant story of this trilogy. Blood poured out of Girtz’s forehead for most of the fight before the doctor forced him to retire on his stool after 10 minutes, before the third round could begin.

Despite the defeat, Girtz still leads Campos by two wins to one, so expect these lightweights to face off at least once more in the Bellator cage. At this point, don’t be surprised if Bellator agrees with color commentator Jimmy Smith and orders them to compete until they decide a best-of-seven series.

MMA suffered a bit of a slow start to 2017 in comparison to previous years, with fight of the year candidates unusually thin on the ground at the half-way stage. However, with Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson in the UFC, Aung La N Sang vs. Vitaly Bigdash in ONE Championship and now Campos-Girtz in Bellator, we have a trio of top matchups from three major promotions that have set the benchmark for the remaining five and a half months of the year.