Heather Hardy on Saturday felt pleased she’d won but wished there had been more fan friendly action in her three rounder with fellow boxing dual-vocation specialist Ana Julaton Friday night at Bellator 194 in CT at Mohegan Sun.
“I am so satisfied with that win,” Hardy told NYF. “I know it didn't look like much, was probably kind of boring to watch….but everything I practiced I executed in there. Takedown defense, sprawling, stuffing the head, staying at 50/50 control with over unders…. NOT BREAKING MY NOSE OR NEEDING STITCHES! DOING JIUJITSU! This was such a huge, satisfying win for me, I'll be smiling all weekend for sure. Do I need to work on things? Yes, tons of room for improvement, and we're back in the office for that Monday morning. For now….pancakes and rest!”
My three cents: Julaton to me has to get the blowback for there not being more “action.” She pushed the Brooklyner to the cage and then lacked a next step plan. Maybe if they do it in a ring, that would suit Julaton better? But this return to the cage for the Gleason’s fighter Hardy cannot rightly be dismissed too quickly. Coming back from an exploded nose is a big damn deal…
The matchup had been discussed a few years ago, in their preferred arena at the time, the boxing ring. But it only came to fruition after a new marketplace opened up, one where they could be properly compensated and gets some decent fruits for their labors.
Heather Hardy and Ana Julaton are among those in the second wave of sweet scientists who’ve decided to become dual threats, and do a mid career switch-up, learn a new set of skills in order to make those ends meet. Yes, it’s sort of like entering into vocational re-training, like a factory foreman learning to be a software engineer, but because it’s still the fight game, there are plenty of similarities between cage fighting and boxing.
But maybe not as many in this match as most folks watching at Mohegan Sun Arena in CT, at Bellator 194, portions of which ran on Paramount TV, hoped. Because Julaton in every round would bull Hardy to the cage and then do not much of anything, but hold. Where were her hands? In the first round, Hardy made her pay, with a near chokeout for the final 45 seconds of the round. In the second, Hardy took her back and pounded with hammers as Julaton tried to cover up. The third saw more Julaton ineffective aggression, and time and again the ref broke the fighters when the Cali-based Julaton did her bull to the cage and hug routine.
After three rounds, the judges’ scores were tallied: 29-28, and 30-27, 30-27, rightly so, for the Brooklyner Hardy. Hardy’s aggression was rewarded, and we were left wondering what Julaton’s gameplan was.
Hardy entered with a 1-1 mark as an MMAer, after coming to the cage in 2017 with a 20-0 boxing mark, and a rep as one of the most well known female fighters in the small but growing world of women’s boxing. At 35, she took to the cage for the first time in 2016, to train, and basically fell in love with the gladiatorial nature of the sport. Her love was tested but undaunted when in October her nose was exploded by a Kristina Williams kick, but she made it clear heading to this comeback test that she is an adherent of the “that which does not kill me..” school of thought. Julaton came to the cage with a 2-3 mark, at age 37 in the same boat with Hardy, knowing that this market could be more lucrative than boxing, and isn't that a large part of the point, shouldn’t the compensation be commensurate, roughly, with the effort given and the milliliters of blood shed? At 14-4-3 in the square ring, Julaton’s ceiling was what it was, she figured, so she looked to diversify career-wise in 2014, and thus she had a few years of training experience on Hardy.
Those expecting a good row coming in had that expectation heightened with a weigh in beef on Thursday. Hardy weighed .25 over the 126 limit and was told, she said, by the commission that they’d wave the .25 minuscule overage, because surely her bikini weighed that much. By and large in the female fighting sphere, they don’t have the gals strip nude to carve off a tiny morsel of weight. Makes sense, with guys being guys, I guess…But then Hardy was told no, powers that be wanted her to make weight. “I was her camp flipping out,” she told me. “They wanted the money. The commissioner said 126, go hydrate, kid!” Indeed, she’d need to give 20 percent of her purse to Julaton for that quarter pound…”Everyone knows two ounces is clothes! But Team Julaton kept on the pressure and demanded the money,” she said. I messaged Julaton and her striking coach in boxing to get their side, but didn’t hear back. “I will make her pay in the cage,” Hardy stated, on Thursday night.
And she wasn't fibbing…Maybe not the right move to piss off a Brooklyn girl, one whose mom had told her in year's past to fight like the other girl stole money from her.