Girtz will enter the Bellator cage for the 15th time on Friday. The 34-year-old has battled inconsistency during his stint with the promotion, having gone 8-6 to date. He has played the role of gatekeeper recently due to his penchant for failing against upper-echelon opponents like Michael Chandler, Derek Campos and Fernando Gonzalez. The southpaw is an explosive athlete who attacks his opponents with looping hooks, with his overhand left being his power punch. He will often throw caution to the wind by inviting a brawl. While he has quick hands, he has many technical deficiencies. He throws his punches from his hips and avoids strikes by backing straight up instead of bouncing his head off the centerline. He often tries to dodge strikes by dropping his head straight down, leaving himself open to flying and step-in knees. Girtz is a solid wrestler, having been a Division II All-American at Minnesota State University. The former Maverick does well at driving through his opponents’ hips and showed great strength by easily lifting them off their feet and tossing them to the ground. Once on top, Girtz looks to ground-and-pound his opponents instead of searching for submissions. The Elevation Fight Team member has gassed out in the past due to emptying his gas tank by throwing haymakers on the feet.
Jury started off his professional career a perfect 15-0 and had many observers believing that he would be the champion of a major organization in no time. Once he met Donald Cerrone at UFC 182 back in January 2015, however, things took a drastic turn. Jury was dominated by “Cowboy,” after which he went on a skid that only saw him win two out of seven appearances. He made the move down to featherweight to try to get his ship back on track but he didn’t find much success before he moved back up to lightweight and over to Bellator. He enters his showdown with Girtz on the heels of a three-fight losing streak. The 31-year-old is a calculated striker who slowly plods forward behind a stinging jab. “The Fury” loves to switch stances and constantly sets traps to walk his adversaries into his spinning backfist attacks. He tends to stand straight up and doesn’t check leg kicks. The San Diego native makes the mistake of throwing a single strike at a time and showed no urgency in his last two fights, which contributed to his losses to Benson Henderson and Andre Fili. The Alliance MMA representative will mix in a takedown occasionally but isn’t a strong wrestler. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt but hasn’t won by submission in nearly eight years.
This is a very difficult fight to pick due to both fighters being extremely hard to trust. Jury has the better resume and his losses have come against better competition, but I am going to lean towards Girtz to secure the upset win. He has the advantage in power and wrestling and should have the higher output. Cardio is a big issue for Girtz but Jury likely won’t press the action enough to make the Minnesota native pay for it. My pick is Girtz by split decision without much confidence.
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