Rafael Lovato Jr & John Salter Fight Tonight At Bellator 181

Rafael Lovato Jr & John Salter Fight Tonight At Bellator 181
Photo: Chase Smith / FloGrappling
A trilogy fight between veterans Brandon Girtz and Derek Campos may be the headliner for tonight's Bellator 181 in Thackerville, OK, but it's a pair of standout grapplers on the undercard who have caught our attention.

Continuing his run up the middleweight latter, John Salter takes on UFC veteran Kendall Grove in a style vs. style matchup. Grove is known as a long kickboxer who will have to overcome the takedowns and superb grappling skills of Salter. The bout will serve as the co-main event for the evening.

Salter won an ADCC invite back in April at the toughest ADCC trials tournament ever put together. On his way to gold in the 88kg division Salter took out no-gi world champion Josh Hinger, EBI veteran Josh Hayden, and decorated Team Lloyd Irvin standout DJ Jackson. The impressive performance earned him a trip to Helsinki for the most prestigious grappling tournament in the world -- the ADCC World Championships.

The Final List Of Every Grappler Qualified For ADCC 2017 World Championship

A win over Grove could catapult him into a high-profile fight, perhaps against the newly signed Gegard Mousasi.

Also on the card is Rafael Lovato Jr., who is returning to Bellator for the first time since winning by a 13-second head-kick KO in his debut in March. He'll be taking on UFC veteran Mike Rhodes in what will most likely be his stiffest test yet inside the cage. Rhodes brings a wealth of experience as well as crisp standup that could test Lovato's striking improvements greatly. As always though, Lovato will enjoy a massive advantage should the fight go to the mat.

Most recently, Lovato squared off with pound-for-pound No. 1 grappler Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida in an ADCC rules contest in April. The high-paced match ended with Buchecha securing the victory but showed that Lovato can still hang with the cream of the crop in jiu-jitsu. He'll represent the USA on the world stage come September in Finland for the ADCC World Championships.

Watch Lovato Jr. vs. Buchecha Now:

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