It’s still early in 2019 but Bellator 219’s main event is already a contender for Fight of the Year.
On Friday night at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif., Bellator 219 took place, headlined by lightweight war between Brandon Girtz and Saad Awad. Early in the first round, Girtz hurt Awad with a big right hand that sent Awad reeling. It looked like we might be in for a quick main event but Awad hung tough, and when he was able to get back to his feet, rocked Girtz with a big knee on the break. With both men having hurt each other, the two proceeded to throw caution to the wind and wing heavy leather at each other for the remainder of the fight. The third round especially was hectic as it looked like Awad got flattened by an elbow to the head during a sprawl but he quickly regained himself and he and Girtz went hammer and tongs for the remainder of the fight looking for the finish. In the end, Girtz put Awad in more danger in the first and third rounds and won the fight on all three judges’ scorecards.
In the co-main event of the evening, Daniel Straus completed his heart-warming comeback tale, submitting Shane Krutchen with a rear-naked choke. Two years ago, Straus was in a serious car accident and told that he may never walk again. Instead, Straus was determined to prove everyone wrong and now, not only has he walked, but he had a sensational showing in the cage, dropping Krutchen with a beautiful left hand and then submitting him in the first round. Next up, Straus is hoping to work his way back to the title and considering what he’s overcome already, it would be foolish to doubt him.
Elsewhere on the card, Andrey Koreshkov got back in the win column with a hard-fought victory over Mike Jasper. Early on in the fight, Koreshkov had his kicking game working overtime and it looked like Jasper might get run over, but the American hung tough and made the fight competitive down the stretch. Ultimately, Koreshkov saw an opening with his grappling and starting taking Jasper down, grinding out a unanimous decision win.
In the main card opener, Joe Schilling took a lackluster decision over veteran fighter Keith Berry. Schilling dropped Berry in the first round but was unable to capitalize. In the second, Berry looked like he was taking over against a fading Schilling, but late in the round, Schilling hurt Berry and had him reeling before the bell intervened. In the third though, Berry battled back, taking down the exhausted Schilling and securing mount. Schilling was able to reverse the position and spent the rest of the round cutting Berry up with elbows from the guard. In the end, Schilling picked up his fourth career win, and his first career two-fight win streak.