Bellator’s first event of 2020 was a big one, welcoming former UFC Champion Cris Cyborg to the promotion with a championship fight. Facing Julia Budd in the main event, Cyborg got the fight for the Bellator Featherweight Championship. The card also saw many other Bellator debuts, returning prospects and the continuation of the Featherweight Grand Prix.

Quick Results

Bout 1: Miguel Jacob def. David Pacheco via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 2: Anthony Taylor def. Chris Avila via Decision, Majority

Bout 3: Curtis Millender def. Moses Murrietta via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 4: Jay-Jay Wilson def. Mario Navarro via Submission, Armbar (RD 2, 2:48)

Bout 5: AJ Agazarm def. Adel Altamimi via Submission, Armbar (RD 3, 1:22)

Bout 6: Aaron Pico def. Daniel Carey via KO, Punch (RD 2, 0:15)

Bout 7: Joshua Jones def. Brandon Bender via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 8: Emilee King def. Ava Knight via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 2:18)

Bout 9: Raymond Daniels def. Jason King via TKO, Punches (RD 1, 3:07)

Bout 10: Sergio Pettis def. Alfred Khashakyan via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 1, 3:00)

Bout 11: Juan Archuleta def. Henry Corrales via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 12: Darrion Caldwell def. Adam Borics via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 2:20) (Bellator Featherweight Grand-Prix Quarter-Finals)

Bout 13: Cris Cyborg def. Julia Budd via TKO, Punches (RD 4, 1:14) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)

Bout 14: Ricardo Seixas def. Dominic Clark via TKO, Punches (RD 1, 0:34)

Bout 15: Tony Bartovich def. Jarett Conner via Decision, Unanimous)

Full Coverage

Bout 1: Miguel Jacob (3-0) vs. David Pacheco (1-0) (Welterweight)

The preliminary card started with someone’s undefeated record being put to an end. David Pacheco fought Miguel Jacob in a welterweight competition. The fight started with quite active striking from both fighters. Jacob was connecting more often. Jacob put the fight in a clinch against the cage in the second minute. They went back to stand-up about a minute later.

An eye poke happened to Jacob early in the second round, causing a pause. When they resumed, Jacob continued to be the more active striker. A cut around Pacheco’s right eye became apparent. Jacob was constantly moving to the side or backwards. While Jacob was benefitting more from the exchanges, both fighters were fighting a very fast pace.

That previously mentioned pace picked up right where it left off when the final round started. The round was practically the same as the two before, going the distance. When heading to the scorecards, it was Miguel Jacob who kept his undefeated record, with a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-26 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Jacob 10 10 10 30
Pacheco 9 9 9 27

Bout 2: Anthony Taylor (6-5) vs. Chris Avila (6-8) (Lightweight)

Coming in on a four-fight winning streak, Anthony Taylor returned to Bellator to battle Chris Avila. Taylor countered a kick with a punch early which tripped Avila. Taylor was backpedalling throughout the round but found success as a counter-striker. In the fourth minute of the round, Avila scored a good overhand right. They went in a clinch for a little before going back to striking. Taylor got a single leg takedown before the round ended. After the bell, Avila shoved Taylor off of him with his leg. Taylor clearly was offended by this.

Taylor continued to counter-strike in the second round. He did an interesting thing a few times, finishing a combination by pushing Avila away.

In the second minute of the final round, Taylor tried for another takedown. Avila was able to avoid it, with Avila getting some strikes in from close range. He scored a takedown a minute later. Avila tried for an armbar, getting top position in the process. Taylor escaped the armbar, and they both stood back up. 30 seconds later, Taylor shot for another takedown. They went to the ground, but on the way down Avila started to try for a kimura. They stood back up, where Avila was on Taylor’s back for a moment. Avila then tried for a guillotine as Taylor shot for another takedown. They stood back up with one minute left in the fight. Avila got on Taylor’s back, then switching to a normal clinch before separating. Both fatigued, Taylor and Avila were swinging wildly in the closing seconds. Needing judges to decide who won, it was Anthony Taylor who won through a rare majority decision (28-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Taylor 10 10 9 29
Avila 9 9 10 28

Bout 3: Curtis Millender (17-5) vs. Moses Murrietta (8-3) (Catchweight 180 lbs)

The next preliminary fight saw former UFC fighter Curtis Millender making his Bellator debut against Moses Murrietta. At the very start, Millender looked to try to do a glove touch but was punched. Both fighters were throwing hard and fast strikes right off the bat. Millender’s jab was lightning fast. A combination of punches had Murrietta backing up in the final minute of the first round.

A left hook dropped Murrietta in the first minute of the second round. Millender wasn’t in any rush to finish the fight, slowly walking towards Murrietta as he was recovering. A right cross from Millender 30 seconds later made Murrietta’s legs shake a little. It was clear that Millender had gotten into a groove. Millender got a double leg takedown in the final minute of the round. He tried for a darce choke before the bell went.

Murrietta continued to take shots, mostly jabs, in the final round. His movement implied he had injured his lead left leg. Murrietta shot for a takedown with over two minutes left in the fight, although Millender stayed against the cage and eventually returned to striking. As the fight was nearing it’s end, it felt like Murrietta was the less fatigued fighter. Millender landed a german suplex takedown in the final 20 seconds of the round. The fight went all 15 minutes, going to the scorecards to find a winner. Putting an end to his two-fight losing streak, Curtis Millender got a dominant unanimous decision victory in his Bellator debut (30-27, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Millender 10 10 10 30
Murrietta 9 9 9 27

Bout 4: Jay-Jay Wilson (4-0) vs. Mario Navarro (4-5) (Featherweight)

Still undefeated as a professional, Jay-Jay Wilson was pitted against fellow featherweight Mario Navarro in the next bout. Wilson shot for a takedown in the first minute, putting Navarro up against the cage instead. Wilson threw some good knees in the clinch, getting a trip takedown after a minute. Wilson went wild with ground and pound, throwing dozens of punches. They stood up in the final minute, with Navarro throwing down Wilson and taking top position. Overall a great first round for Wilson.

Wilson threw an overhand right and then scored a takedown to start the second round. Wilson transitioned to Navarro’s back, trying for a twister. Navarro escaped and took the top position in side control. Wilson was able to get on Navarro’s back. He threw some punches before trying for a rear naked choke. He switched to an armbar, which got fully extended, causing the referee to step in and end the fight. After one and a half rounds of one-sided competition, Jay-Jay Wilson extended his record to five in a row.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Wilson 10
Navarro 8

Bout 5: AJ Agazarm (2-1) vs. Adel Altamimi (8-6) (Featherweight)

The next matchup saw AJ Agazarm and Adel Altamimi fight in a featherweight battle. Agazarm shot for a takedown early on, eating two punches after failing to get to the ground. He did not succeed to get the fight to the ground two more times. Altamimi caught a leg kick, throwing a punch and tripping Agazarm. Altamimi landed a loud kick to the body in the second minute. Agazarm tried again for a takedown, failing to get it there. The crowd booed when Agazarm paced around the cage for a moment. Agazarm came in with a combination in the final minute that seemingly shaking Altamimi with one. There was many more takedown attempts throughout the round which did not work for Agazarm. The fighters got in eachother’s faces after the bell

Agazarm got dropped in the second minute of the second round with a left hook. Agazarm was hit with hammerfist punches on the ground and a few hooks on the feet. He shot for a takedown which gave him time to recover. Agazarm finally got a takedown halfway through the round. Altamimi tried for an armbar, but Agazarm escaped. Agazarm tried for his own armbar on the ground. Agazarm tried for a rear naked choke, then went into full mount landing some strikes. Altamimi flipped on his stomach again where Agazarm threatened the rear naked choke. It was put in, although Altamimi slipped out of it. The second round was quite the turn of events, going from a near stoppage in favour of Altamimi to a dominant ground game from Agazarm.

Altamimi got shook by punches at the start of the final round. Altamimi shot for a single leg, maybe what was his first takedown attempt of the fight. Agazarm threw some punches while Altamimi still had ahold of one of his legs. Agazarm was able to look for an armbar, which made Altamimi tap out. Altamimi protested the stoppage despite tapping. After two very back and forth rounds, AJ Agazarm didn’t have to worry about the scorecards by making Adel Altamimi tap out.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Agazarm 9 9
Altamimi 10 10

Bout 6: Aaron Pico (4-3) vs. Daniel Carey (7-3) (Featherweights)

In the next fight, Aaron Pico attempted to end his two-fight losing streak by facing Daniel Carey. Pico got a well-timed double leg takedown a minute into the fight. He threw some elbows from half guard. Pico kept in control on the ground with ground and pound until the final few seconds of the round.

In the opening seconds of the second round, Pico landed a left hook which knocked Carey out cold. Getting back into the winning column, Aaron Pico put on a highlight-reel knockout.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Pico 10
Carey 9

Bout 7: Brandon Bender (12-1) vs. Joshua Jones (9-5) (Catchweight 160 lbs)

The final preliminary fight was a catchweight fight between Brandon Bender and Joshua Jones. Jones came flying at Bender with a flying knee at the start, although it did not connect. Jones caught a kick and countered with one of his own in the second minute. Bender scored a right hook that made Jones grin. Slipping while coming forward, Bender pulled guard on the ground. Bender got on Jones’ back. A cut below Jones’ left eye started to bleed. Jones started to stand up, although Bender started to squeeze for a rear naked choke. Bender landed on his back on the ground. Jones did ground and pound from top position. Bender almost got a heel hook in as the round ended.

Jones got a double leg takedown in the first minute of the second round. Bender was able to flip over into top position halfway through the round. Bender was quick to flip the position back over. Jones started with ground and pound more in the final minute of the round.

They went into a clinch at the start of the third round. Both fighters were clearly tired in the final round. Bender had some good punches coming forward. Jones got the fight to the ground with just over half the round left. After the fight ended, Jones told the broadcast that wrestling is better than jiu-jitsu. When going to decision, Joshua Jones added his win count to double digits (30-26, 30-27 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Bender 10 9 9 28
Jones 9 10 10 29

Bout 8: Ava Knight (1-0) vs. Emilee King (3-3) (Strawweight)

Former boxer Ava Knight had her second pro MMA fight to kick off the main card, fighting Emilee King. Knight opened with hard punches. King brought the fight to the ground, pulling guard. King put in a guillotine choke, which had Knight in trouble quickly. She popped out of the choke, with King trying for an armbar next. That didn’t work either, with Knight taking top position. King was able to get on Knight’s back, slipping in a rear naked choke, flattening Knight out. She kept with the choke until Knight went cold, ending the fight. In her Bellator debut, Emilee King made headlines about her, stopping Ava Knight within one round.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Knight
King

Bout 9: Raymond Daniels (1-1) vs. Jason King (8-5) (Welterweight)

After his wife won in the last fight, Jason King fought kickboxer Raymond Daniels. Daniels landed a side kick to the body at the start which dropped King. He got back up and they continued. They traded knees in the clinch, although a pause came after King was hit in the groin. Daniels landed a two-punch combination in the second minute which dropped King. Daniels waited for King to get back up. He dropped King again, this time right a left hook. King fell again, seeming tired and hurt. King shot for a takedown, trying for a leg lock. Daniels went to ground and pound from top position, landing punches until the referee stepped in. Showcasing his brutal striking skills yet again, Raymond Daniels stopped Jason King in a round.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Daniels
King

Bout 10: Sergio Pettis (18-5) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (11-4) (Bantamweight)

Before the next fight, Ryan Bader versus Vadim Nemkov for the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship was announced for May 9th at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, USA. The next matchup saw former UFC fighter Sergio Pettis have his first Bellator fight, facing Alfred Khashakyan. Pettis landed a good counter-right in the first minute. Halfway through the round, Pettis landed a punch that dropped Khashakyan. He landed many more punches before putting in a guillotine choke that put Khashakyan out cold. In what could only be described as a brutal debut, Sergio Pettis added another win to his pro record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Pettis
Khashakyan

Bout 11: Henry Corrales (17-4) vs. Juan Archuleta (23-2) (Featherweights)

After failing to dethrone Patricio Pitbull, Juan Archuleta returns to fight Henry Corrales. The first minute of the fight was somewhat inactive striking. As the round continued on, they both started to throw more punches but nobody connected cleanly with much. The crowd became a little restless near the end of the round. Archuleta shot for the takedown in the final seconds of the first round.

Archuleta was on the outside of the cage for most of the second round, coming in for combinations. Archuleta avoided punches and grabbed Corrales for a takedown with two minutes left. They got back up moments after. Corrales got a takedown in the last 10 seconds of the fight, starting ground and pound but not getting started until the round ended.

Corrales landed a good right hook in the second minute of the final round which clearly hurt Archuleta. He did not get to follow up with much more. The crowd started to boo again with a minute left in the fight. They had a good exchange of punches as the fight ended. Archuleta got on the cage and flipped off the disapproving crowd after the bell. When going to the scorecard, Juan Archuleta got the unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Corrales 10 10 9
Archuleta 9 9 10

Bout 12: Darrion Caldwell (13-3) vs. Adam Borics (14-0) (Featherweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)

The co-main event of the evening saw a quarter-final fight in the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix between Darrion Caldwell and undefeated Adam Borics. Caldwell got a takedown a minute into the fight. Borics went to the cage and tried to get up. While they were on their knees, Caldwell got on the back of Borics. Caldwell put in a rear naked choke eventually which made Borics tap out quickly. Ending the undefeated record of Borics and advancing to the semi-finals, Darrion Caldwell made quick work of this fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Caldwell
Borics

Bout 13: Julia Budd (13-2) vs. Cris Cyborg (21-2) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)

In the main event of the evening, Cris Cyborg made her Bellator debut, challenging for Julia Budd’s Bellator Featherweight Championship. Cyborg landed body punches early on. They went into a clinch in the first minute. Budd had Cyborg against the cage. They separated after Cyborg threw a knee to the head and a punch. Cyborg got a takedown in the second minute, with Budd getting up moments after still in the clinch. Cyborg landed lots of knees to the body in the clinch. They went back to striking with two minutes left. Cyborg slipped while throwing a kick, allowing Budd to take top position on the ground. Budd went into side control after avoiding an armbar. She switched to north-south. Budd was holding Cyborg by the head and landed a knee strike, which made the referee step in as it was a grounded knee. They resumed in stand-up. Cyborg dropped Budd with a punch, then took top position on the ground. Cyborg got some hammerfist strikes in as the round ended.

Cyborg caught a leg and dumped Budd at the start of the second round. Cyborg threw punches to Budd when she got up, then held her against the cage. They switched between stand-up striking and clinch work over and over. Budd landed a good elbow when they went back to stand-up. Budd seemingly was doing better in stand-up in this round. Cyborg scored good knees in the clinch. Budd shot for a takedown in the closing seconds of the round, but did not get it and ate a knee to the head for her troubles.

Just like in the rounds before, they went into a clinch very quickly. They went back to stand-up around halfway through the round. Cyborg got a takedown with two minutes left. Cyborg got up while Budd was still grounded. After avoiding some upkicks, Cyborg got back to the ground in side control. Cyborg got in full mount and did fast ground and pound for the final few seconds of the round.

In the fourth round, Cyborg started to throw strikes like crazy. Mixing together strikes to the head and body, Cyborg dropped Budd to win the fight. After three dominant rounds, Cris Cyborg turned up the intensity in the fourth round to become the new Bellator Featherweight Champion.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Budd 9 9 9
Cyborg 10 10 10

Bout 14: Ricardo Seixas (8-2) vs. Dominic Clark (14-9) (Lightweight)

After the main event, there was two postlim fights. The first of the two was between Ricardo Seixas and Dominic Clark. Seixas landed a front kick which dropped Clark in the first minute. After a few more strikes on the ground, the referee stepped in to end the fight. Ending his two-fight losing streak, Ricardo Seixas stopped Dominic Clark in quick time with a rare front kick.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Seixas
Clark

Bout 15: Tony Bartovich (0-0) vs. Jarett Conner (0-0) (Featherweight)

 

The final fight of the evening was between debuting fighters Tony Bartovich and Jarett Conner. While Bartovich kept trying for clinches, Conner was throwing more strikes. Conner came in for a clinch, but Bartovich got a takedown from it. They stood back up still in the clinch. When they separated, Bartovich put together a combo of punches that connected. He shot for another takedown, landing it after a little resistance. Bartovich kept on Conner for many minutes. They returned to striking for the final 10 seconds of the fight.

Bartovich shot for a takedown in the first minute of the second round, although Conner stopped it. Upon second attempt, Bartovich was successful. Conner got top position for the final minutes of the round.

The fighters went into a clinch as the final round started. Bartovich got a takedown in the second minute. They got up with under two minutes left in the round still in a clinch. Bartovich threw some strikes in the clinch. Conner left the clinch in the final minute and charged forward with punches. After getting hit by some punches, Bartovich shot for a takedown. Conner took top position on the ground as the fight ran out of time. All three judges were in agreement that Tony Bartovich won, earning his first victory as a pro (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Bartovich 10 10 9
Conner 9 9 10

Bellator will return in February, with two events in one weekend, starting on the 21st with Bellator 239 and then Bellator Dublin on February 22nd.