Heather Hardy got back in the win column Friday at Bellator 194, though opponent Ana Julaton’s game plan leaved much to be desired.
A boxing grudge match, and best-of-two series split between two different sports got underway at Bellator 194 on Friday. In the Bellator cage in Uncasville, CT, Heather Hardy faced Ana Julaton in flyweight action. The bout saw the two boxing champions clash in mixed martial arts, with a boxing match eagerly anticipated for later in the year.
Who would take the first fight? It was Hardy pressing forward early and throwing the first kick at Bellator 194. Julaton initiated a clinch, pressing Hardy into the fence. Hardy answered with a knee. Much of the first round was spent with Julaton clinching along the cage, trying to find a takedown. Hardy stayed up, defending by threatening a guillotine, and finally threw Julaton to the ground. She was able to get off a few strikes from the back, then tried to sink in a choke. Julaton, however, would escape the round.
Julaton opened with a big kick in round two, while Hardy got her hands going, landing a cross. Julaton, however, caught a kick early and finished a takedown. Hardy, admirably, was able to fight her way back to her feet. Julaton then pressed for another takedown, only to have Hardy rain down a number of ugly but effective hammer fists and other strikes. That forced Julaton to quit on the takedown, and Hardy took her back. She looked for a choke, but without hooks in, slid off the side of her opponent. Julaton reversed, and finished on top in guard, but realistically, Hardy was far more effective offensively.
Julaton went upstairs with a kick early in the third, and followed up with another clinch with Hardy. This time, the ref decided to restart the action when Julaton was unable to make any progress. Off the restart, Julaton missed a wild spinning kick. She drove Hardy back into the fence, only for the ref to break things up once again. This time, Hardy fired off a few kicks and combinations, but again was driven into the fence. Incredibly — though not without reason — the ref again restarted the action, as Julaton was getting nowhere. This final restart led to Hard firing off a few kicks and combinations before trying to throw Julaton to the mat. Julaton reversed, however, and landed on top. The round, and fight, then came to a close, perhaps mercifully. It’s doubtful many would be gung-ho to see the pair in a boxing match based on the lack of action Friday, though much of that had to do with Julaton’s game plan.
Heather Hardy def. Ana Julaton by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)