Bellator 238: Budd vs. Cyborg Full Coverage

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.

Bellator 238: Budd vs. Cyborg Preview

Bellator will kick off it’s 2020 schedule on Saturday with the promotion debut of Cris Cyborg. Fighting for the first time outside of the UFC since 2016, she will challenge for Julio Budd’s Featherweight Championship in a five-round fight. The stacked card features many returning Bellator names, many other former-UFC fighters debuting and the continuation of the Featherweight Grand Prix. In the promotion’s return to The Forum in Inglewood, California, USA, this is Bellator 238.

Click here to jump to the main card.

Prelims

Bout 1: Tony Bartovich (0-0) vs. Jarett Conner (0-0) (Featherweight)

The preliminary portion of the card features a matchup between two debuting featherweights. Conner had a 2-4 record in amateur MMA, with Bartovich going 2-1. It’s worth noting that some of the preliminary fights could be bumped to the postlim spot, depending on how they go about scheduling the card.

Bout 2: Miguel Jacob (3-0) vs. David Pacheco (1-0) (Welterweight)

Undefeated welterweights Miguel Jacob and David Pacheco will be put against each other in the next prelim fight. Pacheco’s pro debut was in Bellator nearly a year ago, stopping Jorge Juarez. Jacob will be making his Bellator debut, picking up all three of his previous wins in the regional MMA promotion Fight Club OC.

Bout 3: Anthony Taylor (6-5) vs. Chris Avila (7-8) (Lightweight)

Anthony Taylor will see his return to Bellator this weekend, after fighting elsewhere for seven fights. Taylor made his debut in Bellator, going on a 1-3 run before going to other promotions. All three losses came via rear naked choke, with notable losses over James Gallagher and Adam Borics (who fights later on this card). He has since fought in high-level regionals like BAMMA and Combate Americas, currently riding a four-fight winning streak. His opponent, Chris Avila, will try to break even on his MMA record with this fight. He is 1-1 in Bellator, most recently losing to Brandon Faumui in April.

Bout 4: Brandon Bender (12-1) vs. Joshua Jones (9-5) (Featherweight)

After disappearing from the MMA scene for nearly six years, Brandon Bender will make his return against Joshua Jones on this undercard. Bender has an impressive 12-1 record, with his most recent (if you want to say recent) fight being a win over Mario Navarro at Bellator 116 in 2014, bouncing back from his sole loss. Around the same time, Jones debuted as a pro. He is 2-2 in his Bellator career so far, having two fights outside of the promotion within that timespan.

Bout 5: Curtis Millender (17-5) vs. Moses Murrietta (8-3) (Catchweight 175 lbs.)

Similar to Cris Cyborg’s fight, Curtis Millender will be having his first fight after his UFC run. Millender’s UFC career ended at 3-2, after losing to Belal Muhammad in April. He faces Moses Murrietta, who will also be debuting in Bellator. Murrietta has fought in LFA recently, although his last two fights were losses, including a 24 second stoppage.

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

California-based Bellator fighters AJ Agazarm and Adel Altamimi are booked against eachother for the next preliminary matchup. Agazarm has had his short pro career fully in Bellator, going 2-1. Altamimi made his Bellator debut in 2019, defeating Brandon McMahan with an armbar. He recently lost a scorecard battle against Salim Mukhidinov, and will attempt to bounce back from that loss on Saturday.

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

In 2018, Aaron Pico was known as one of Bellator’s biggest rising stars. However, back-to-back losses in 2019 have made people skeptical if Pico was actually worth what he was made out to be. He will be put against Daniel Carey on Saturday, with a loss extending the longest losing streak of his short career. All of Pico’s fights, win or loss, have all ended via stoppage. His last two losses came to Henry Corales and Adam Borics. Carey is 3-2, recently winning over Gaston Bolanos in September with a guillotine choke.

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

Also on the preliminary card, Cali fighters Ricardo Seixas Filho and Dominic Clark will battle. Both are coming off of losses, with Clark’s in Bellator against Joshua Jones. Filho’s last two fights were losses in LFA in 2018.

Bout 9: Jay Jay Wilson (4-0) vs. Mario Navarro (4-5) (Featherweight)

Undefeated Bellator fighter Jay Jay Wilson will bring Mario Navarro back to the cage in the next fight. Wilson had an explosive 2019, getting three wins, two of them in Bellator. Navarro has fought in Bellator before, but his last match was over three years ago, being a loss to Chinzo Machida.

Main Card

Bout 10: Ava Knight (1-0) vs. Emilee Gettys (3-3) (Strawweight)

The main card begins with former boxer Ava Knight had a successful MMA debut three months ago, stopping Shannon Goughardy with body strikes on a Bellator card. In her second match, Knight will be paired against Emilee Gettys. Knight has a 19-2-5 record as a professional boxer, with her career spanning from 2007 to 2019. Gettys is on a three-fight winning streak, taking her career from a 0-3 record to an even record. The fight will be the debut of Gettys in Bellator.

Bout 11: Raymond Daniels (1-1) vs. Jason King (8-5) (Welterweight)

Experienced kickboxer Raymond Daniels will return to MMA in a fight with Jason King on the main card. Daniels has 35-3 kickboxing record, fighting in Bellator Kickboxing and GLORY in the past few years. His most recent MMA fight was a knockout of Wilker Barros with a flash right hook which made the rounds online. King is seemingly a good matchup for Daniels, having most of his wins and losses from striking battles. King has fought quite a bit in Valor FC, getting a first-round stoppage over Brian Jackson in November.

Bout 12: Juan Archuleta (23-2) vs. Henry Corrales (17-4) (Featherweight)

The next main card fight sees two eliminated fighters from the featherweight grand prix fight. Juan Archuleta, who lost to Patricio Pitbull, will fight Henry Corrales, who lost to Darrion Caldwell. The loss for Archuleta broke his impressive 18-fight winning streak. Corrales was riding a five-fight streak, not being favoured on the scorecards when fighting Caldwell.

Bout 13: Sergio Pettis (18-5) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (11-4) (Bantamweight)

As part of the trio of debuting former-UFC fighters on this card, Sergio Pettis will fight Alfre Khashakyan. Pettis fought in UFC 14 times, going back to 2013. While not having fought in the UFC in the past, Khashakyan will also be making his Bellator. In 2019, he on three in a row in 2019 in newly formed regional promotion LXF. Khashakyan’s most well-known fight is a loss to Sean O’Malley, on the series premiere episode of Dana White’s Contender Series.

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

The co-main event of the evening sees Darrion Caldwell and Adam Borics battle in the quarter-finals of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. Borics debuted in Bellator in 2017, going 5-0 since then, all via stoppage. He stopped Pat Curran with ground and pound in September to advance through the first round of the tournament. Caldwell’s round-of-16 win over Henry Corrales was his first win in a year, losing twice to Kyoji Horiguchi before. The second of the two losses saw Caldwell lose his Bellator Bantamweight Championship. Caldwell has fought all but three of his pro bouts in Bellator (including a fight in RIZIN which was co-promoted by Bellator).

Bout 15: Julia Budd (13-2) vs. Cris Cyborg (21-2) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)

The main event of the evening will is Cris Cyborg taking a shot at the Bellator Featherweight Championship against the current champion Julia Budd. Cyborg’s last UFC fight was a win over Canadian prospect Felicia Spencer. Before that, she lost her UFC Featherweight Championship to Amanda Nunes in under a minute via strikes. The matchup was one which many argued deserved a rematch, but was not made as Cyborg’s departure from the UFC was one that was not on good terms.

Budd has been the promotion’s featherweight champ since 2017, capturing the belt by defeating Marloes Coenen. Since then she has made three defences, most recently against Olga Rubin. Budd’s two career losses come to the prolific Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey, although those losses were in 2011. Vegas currently has Cyborg as a heavy favourite, sitting at -450 currently. 

Bellator’s next event after this one will be on February 21st, presenting Bellator 239 from the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, USA. Headlining the card currently is Ed Rush and Yaroslav Amosov.

UFC on ESPN+ 17: Rodriguez vs. Stephens Full Report

UFC returned to Mexico City for the fourth time last weekend, headlined by Mexico’s own Yair Rodriguez facing veteran UFC fighter Jeremy Stephens. A large portion of the Mexican roster in the UFC was also featured on the card. While that was the case, a large amount of the prelims didn’t see any Mexican talent. The evening started on ESPN+ with a lightweight battle.

Bout 1: Marcos Mariano (6-5) vs. Claudio Puelles (9-2) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the evening of fights was lightweights Claudio Puelles and Marcos Mariano. Mariano started the fight by throwing a kick, but Puelles landed a takedown right after. Mariano tried for a kimura, but Mariano was able to avoid it. In the process of trying to put in the kimura, Mariano took over top position. With two minutes left in the first round, the referee stood them back up. It didn’t take much longer for Puelles to get another takedown. The round concluded with Puelles in top position. Within the first 10 seconds of the second round, Puelles got a double leg takedown. Puelles landed more strikes in top position this time. The final round opened with a slam takedown by Puelles. Puelles tried for the kimura again. Mariano was avoiding the kimura by holding onto his shorts. Puelles eventually gave up the kimura and went back to strikes. The fight went to the scorecards with Claudio Puelles getting a unanimous decision victory (30-25, 30-25 & 30-25).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Mariano 9 8 8 25
Puelles 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Bethe Correia (10-4-1) (#15) vs. Sijara Eubanks (5-3) (#14) (Bantamweight)

It was still pretty early in the night, but the next fight was one between two ranked bantamweights, those fighters being Bethe Correia and Sijara Eubanks. Both fighters landed some decent punches in the first round. Eubanks scored the first takedown of the fight with two minutes left in the first round. Eubanks got tons of ground and pound in, but not enough to finish the fight. Correia had a better second round, landing good shots and keeping the fight on the feet. In a fatigued final round, it was Correia who was the busier fighter. They both traded strikes until the fight concluded. Looking at the scorecards, it was Bethe Correia who got the unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Correia 9 10 10 29
Eubanks 10 9 9 28

Bout 3: Paul Craig (11-4) vs. Vinicius Moreira (9-3) (Light Heavyweight)

The card went to the light heavyweight division for the next fight. Paul Craig and Vinicius Moreira faced off in the third fight of the evening. Early on, Moreira was putting the pressure on Craig, trying to a judo throw. Craig was actually the one who got the takedown, ending up in top position on the ground. When they got up in clinch, Craig landed two knees which floorded Moreira. He did more punches on the ground, and then put in a rear naked choke to finish of Moreira. Submitting Vinicius Moreira for the first time in his career, Paul Craig put together a great combination of moves to get the victory. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Craig
Moreira

Bout 4: Tyson Nam (18-9-1) vs. Sergio Pettis (17-5) (#5) (Flyweight)

Tyson Nam made his UFC debut in the next fight against the well-established Sergio Pettis. The first round had slow paced striking from both fighters. No real combos from either fighters, more just singular or pairs of strikes. Halfway through the second round the crowd started to become restless. The second round was another close one striking-wise. Pettis was out-striking Nam moreso in the final round than the two before. Looking to the judges to find a victor, it was Sergio Pettis walking away with the victory (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Nam 10 9 9 28
Pettis 9 10 10 29

Bout 5: Angela Hill (9-7) vs. Ariane Carnelossi (12-1) (Strawweight)

The show headed to the lightest division in the UFC, the strawweight division for the next fight. The very active Angela Hill fought Ariane Carnelossi in this fight. Carnelossi came forward with punches early on, but was put in a clinch up against the fence by Hill. Carnelossi was consistently the advancing fighter. Despite backing up a lot, Hill was landing shots more frequently and cleanly. The second round was a similar one in that both fighters held a fast pace of striking. There was a pause two minutes into the final round after an elbow opened a huge cut above Carnelossi’s left eye. The cut ended the fight, evening Angela Hill’s 2019 record (2-2).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Hill 10 10
Carnelossi 9 9

Bout 6: Kyle Nelson (12-3) vs. Polo Reyes (8-7) (Featherweight)

In the sixth fight of the evening, the first Mexican fighter had their bout. Mexico’s Polo Reyes received a warm welcome before fighting Canada’s Kyle Nelson. Nelson got a trip takedown in the first minute of the fight, although they got back up moments later. Up against the cage, an elbow shook Reyes. Nelson landed many more punches before the referee stepped in to end the bout. Reyes never fell down, but was not answering back to the near dozen strikes which came his way.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Nelson
Reyes

Bout 7: Carlos Huachin (10-4-1) vs. Jose Quinonez (8-3) (Bantamweight)

Topping off the preliminary portion of the fight night was Mexico’s Jose Quinonez facing Carlos Huachin. The height and reach advantage went to Quinonez by quite a margin. In the first minute of the fight, Quinonez landed a right hook which dropped Huachin. Huachin’s fast-paced movement on the ground bought him time to recover and get back to his feet. Quinonez scored the first takedown of the fight in the second round. Quinonez got another one very early in the third round. Quinonez opened up with more strikes on the ground this time. Halfway through the round they returned to stand-up. When consulting the scorecards it was Jose Quinonez walking away with the victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Quinonez 10 10 10 30
Huachin 9 9 9 27

Bout 8: Steven Peterson (17-9) vs. Martin Bravo (12-2) (Featherweight)

Kicking off the main card was a battle between America’s Steven Peterson and Mexico’s Martin Bravo. Bravo scored a takedown in the first minute of the fight. They got back up moments after, going back to their fast pace of striking. Bravo was throwing the better combos. The fast-paced striking picked up where it left off in the second round. Early in the second Bravo got another takedown, but just like the first they got up shortly after. During the chaotic striking, Bravo threw a spinning elbow. It was countered with a spinning backfist by Peterson which knocked out Bravo cold. In nothing short of a highlight reel knockout, Steven Peterson earned his 18th professional MMA victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Peterson 9
Bravo 10

Bout 9: Vanessa Melo (10-5) vs. Irene Aldana (10-5) (#10) (Bantamweight)

Mexico’s Irene Aldana fought Vanessa Melo in the next bout. Aldana’s height and reach advantage was clear. As expected, the crowd was quite behind Aldana. While Melo was the advancing fighter throughout the round, Aldana landed the cleaner punches. The second round was another win for Aldana, who continued her precise and fast paced striking. While Vanessa Melo hung in the fight throughout, it was clear at the end that Aldana was the better striker. All three judges gave Irene Aldana the decision victory (30-26, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Melo 9 9 8 26
Aldana 10 10 10 30

Bout 10: Askar Askarov (10-0) vs. Brandon Moreno (15-5) (#9) (Flyweight)

The next main card fight saw undefeated Askar Askarov debut in the UFC against Brandon Moreno. The crowd favoured Moreno since he is Mexican. Within the first minute of the fight, Askarov attempted a takedown. It took him a while to secure it, but he did eventually secure it. Askarov took the back of Moreno. Moreno was able to transition into a top position, avoiding the possibility of a triangle choke or an armbar in the process. Moreno tried to rain down strikes from above but struggled to pass Askarov’s guard. When they got back on their feet, Askarov was eating hard punches. Askarov failed to get a takedown as the round ended. The second round started with Moreno throwing great strikes. Askarov was able to stop the flurry by landing a takedown. Askarov wrestled Moreno for most of the round, although they stood back up with a minute and a half left in the round. In the final minute of the second round, Moreno dropped Askarov with a leg kick. Askarov was able to hold Moreno on the ground until the round ended. Surprisingly, it was Moreno who got a takedown to open the final round. Moreno tried for a rear naked choke with two minutes left, but Askarov fought it off. Moreno stayed in the dominant position on the ground until the final 10 seconds of the fight. The scorecards were indecisive, with the result being a split draw (28-28, 29-28 Askarov & 30-27 Moreno). While Askarov didn’t take his first loss, he got his first draw added to his record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Askarov 9 9 8 26
Moreno 10 10 10 30

Bout 11: Alexa Grasso (11-2) (#9) vs. Carla Esparza (15-6) (#8) (Strawweight)

The co-main event of the evening saw ranked strawweights Alexa Grasso and Carla Esparza battle. It was mentioned by the commentary that Grasso trained with Irene Aldana for her camp. Halfway through the first round, Esparza landed a takedown. Grasso almost reversed the takedown but Esparza ended up on top. They went back to stand-up, not before Grasso almost got a takedown. Grasso was able to stuff a takedown and put Esparza up against the fence in a clinch. Esparza did a judo throw and tried for a head and arm choke as the round was ticking down. They threw hard punches as the round concluded. Esparza got another takedown to open the second round. Esparza was pretty dominant on the ground, but they went back to their feet with 90 seconds left in the round. Esparza landed a double leg takedown as the round winded down. Early in the final round, Grasso hurt Esparza with punches. Grasso was able to keep it in stand-up, defending numerous takedowns. Grasso was able to reverse a takedown, trying for an armbar that was deep, but Esparza somehow escaped. They returned to the feet with 30 seconds left in the fight. They both traded punches as the fight concluded. The fans were on their feet after the final round expired. The scorecards read a majority decision, going in favour of Carla Esparza (28-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Grasso 9 9 10 28
Esparza 10 10 8 28

Bout 12: Jeremy Stephens (28-16) (#8) vs. Yair Rodriguez (12-2) (#7) (Featherweight)

Finally, the main event of the evening was Yair Rodriguez versus Jeremy Stephens. As expected, Rodriguez got a large reaction from the crowd. Within the first 15 seconds of the fight, there was a pause as Stephens was poked in the eye accidentally as Rodriguez was attempting to establish the distance. Referee Herb Dean lended him time before bringing in a doctor. When the doctor came over, Stephens couldn’t open his eye. After five minutes passed and Stephen’s still couldn’t open his eye, Herb Dean called off the fight. Only moments after, fans started throwing stuff in an around the octagon. When Rodriguez was rushed backstage, still with a shut eye, fans threw stuff at him and the people around him. The fight was ruled a no contest. Rodriguez was very emotional afterwards, snapping at commentator Michael Bisping, then apologizing after he cooled down a little.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Stephens
Rodriguez

UFC will return next Saturday on a busy weekend of MMA. The promotion will head to Copenhagen, Denmark for a main event with Jack “Joker” Hermansson and Jared Cannonier. Due to its location on the globe, it will be an early start, beginning at 11AM EST with the preliminary card, and 2PM EST with the main card.

UFC on ESPN+ 17: Rodriguez vs. Stephens Preview

Continuing UFC’s current weekly streak of events, the promotion heads to Mexico City, Mexico this week for UFC on ESPN+ 17. The city is no stranger to UFC events, as this time it will be the promotion’s fifth appearance there. As expected, a large portion of UFC’s Mexican talent are booked for this show. That goes all the way up to the main event, where Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico’s own Yair Rodriguez will face Jeremy Stephens. Before looking at the main event, it’s worth going through the preliminary portion of the card which begins at 5PM EST on ESPN+ (on UFC Fight Pass in Canada for the first hour, switching to TSN2 at 6PM).

Bout 1: Claudio Puelles (8-2) vs. Marcos Mariano (6-5) (Lightweight)

The evening kicks off with a lightweight battle between Claudio Puelles and Marcos Mariano. Both fighters got off to a rough start in their UFC debuts, both losing. Mariano is coming off that loss, while Puelles was able to recover back in May of 2018, giving Felipe Silva a kneebar in the third round to win. While Mariano isn’t favoured to win, he has the advantage of being the fresher fighter, last competing seven months ago instead of the 16-month gap that Puelles has.

Bout 2: Sijara Eubanks (4-3) vs. Bethe Correia (10-4-1) (Bantamweight)

The thin women’s bantamweight division sees action on this card as Sijara Eubanks faces Bethe Correia. Eubanks has had an interesting past 12 months of her career. Last November at Madison Square Garden, it was originally announced that Eubanks would faced Valentina Shevchenko for the Flyweight Championship. That plan was cancelled, as the main event was replaced by Daniel Cormier defending his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Derrick Lewis. Instead, she beat Roxanne Modafferi via decision for the second time in her career (the other time being on The Ultimate Fighter Season 26). Eubanks is looking to come back after her first loss in the UFC, going three rounds against Aspen Ladd. Bethe Correia’s last win came in 2016, defeating Jessica Eye. Since then, she’s went 0-2-1, recently losing to Irene Aldana (who is also on this card) via an armbar.

Bout 3: Vinicius Moreira (9-3) vs. Paul Craig (11-4) (Light Heavyweight)

Vinicius Moreira entered the UFC in 2018, earning a contract after a victory through the Brazilian spinoff of Dana White’s Contender Series. Since then it hasn’t been easy for him, losing twice in a row, getting finished twice in a row. Risking taking his third loss in a row, he will face Paul Craig, who has taken turns in the win and loss column since his 2016 promotional debut. Recently losing via punches to Alonzo Menifield, Craig aims to even his UFC record (3-4 currently).

Bout 4: Sergio Pettis (17-5) vs. Tyson Nam (18-9-1) (Flyweight)

Longtime UFC fighter Sergio Pettis will take the role of a gatekeeper when facing Tyson Nam, who will be making his UFC debut. Pettis’ last loss came in 2018, losing via decision to Rob Font. On a two fight losing streak, Pettis last won against Joseph Benavidez through scorecards. Nam has recently fought in high level promotions like X-1 and Fight Nights Global, stringing together four wins with a loss in-between since 2017. Despite making his UFC debut this year, Nam has been involved in the sport since 2006. While Pettis has to prove that he still has it, Nam will aim to show UFC fans that he has it in the first place.

Bout 5: Angela Hill (9-7) vs. Ariane Carnelossi (12-1) (Strawweight)

Brazil’s Ariane Carnelossi has amassed an impressive MMA record since debuting in 2014. Her 13-fight record has only one blemish, which came in her debut against Amanda Ribas, who coincidentally is also on the UFC roster nowadays. Recently getting victories in Thunder Fight and Future FC, Carnelossi will make her UFC debut against Angela Hill on Saturday. Hill has had a busy 2019, already fighting three times. Coming off a loss, Hill has a 2019 record of 1-2, recently losing to Xiaonan Yan. While Carnelossi has the more impressive record, Hill’s experience at a higher level will put the stats to the test.

Bout 6: Polo Reyes (8-6) vs. Kyle Nelson (12-3) (Featherweight)

As the preliminary part of the card is near wrapping up, the card sees it’s first Mexican fighter in Polo Reyes make an appearance against fellow featherweight Kyle Nelson. Both fighters have had a rough 2019 so far, both on a two fight losing streak. Similarly, both fighters have also been finished in their respective losses. Nelson has yet to get a victory in the UFC while Reyes is entering his eighth UFC fight, picking up four wins along the way.

Bout 7: Jose Alberto Quiñones (7-3) vs. Carlos Huachin (10-4-2) (Bantamweight)

Starting it off will be Mexico’s Jose Alberto Quiñones facing Peru’s Carlos Huachin. Earlier this year Quiñones had his four fight winning streak broken by Nathaniel Wood, who finished him with a second round rear naked choke. Huachin also had a four-fight winning streak broken with his last fight, but it had more importance since it was his entrance in the promotion. Attempting to defeat Mexico’s own, Huachin will try to prove himself as the prelims conclude.

Bout 8: Martin Bravo (11-2) vs. Steven Peterson (17-9) (Featherweight)

At 8PM EST, the main card will begin on ESPN+ (and TSN3 in Canada). The start of the main card will see Mexican fighter Martin Bravo face Steven Peterson. Both fighters aim to snap a two-fight losing streak. Bravo has a 1-2 UFC record, last winning two years ago. Peterson has a 1-3 record, fighting in LFA prior to that.

Bout 9: Irene Aldana (10-5) vs. Vanessa Melo (10-5) (Bantamweight)

Irene Aldana and Vanessa Melo have equal records, but that won’t be the same after Saturday. Aldana is the most favoured to win Mexican fighter on this card, being around the -500 to -700 in Vegas odds. Melo is making her UFC debut, riding a five-fight win streak. Aldana is coming off a loss, to Raquel Pennington. It won’t be an easy entrance bout for Melo, as Aldana is currently ranked #10 within the division. Melo took this fight on short notice, possibly explaining her weigh in troubles on Friday, weighing in four pounds over the bantamweight limit (140 pounds).

Bout 10: Askar Askarov (10-0) vs. Brandon Moreno (15-5) (Flyweight)

Newcomer Askar Askarov and returning Brandon Moreno will clash high up on the Fight Night card. Askarov has attained a large amount of his wins within the high level Russian MMA promotion Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB). Moreno was previously in the UFC, losing to Sergio Pettis two years ago before being release. He competed once in Legacy Fight Alliance (LFA), earning a win via TKO, and also earning his way back into the UFC.

Bout 11: Carla Esparza (14-6) vs. Alexa Grasso (11-2) (Strawweight)

The co-main event of the evening features two ranked strawweight fighters in Carla Esparza and Alexa Grasso. Carla “The Cookie Monster” Esparza recently went three rounds against Virna Jandiroba to come back from a two-fight losing streak. Grasso picked up a win three months ago against the well known Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Both fighters have a pretty experienced resume within the promotion now, with Grasso holding a 3-2 UFC and Esparza having the more experienced 5-4 record. 

Bout 12: Yair Rodriguez (11-2) vs. Jeremy Stephens (28-16) (Featherweight)

The main event of the evening will see Mexican MMA pro Yair Rodriguez face Jeremy Stephens. Rodriguez’s last win was a polarizing win, knocking out “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung with an elbow in the final second of a five round fight. Rodriguez, who was arguably losing the fight before the finish, took Sung Jung’s lights out while in the process of ducking down. Fans argued whether the finish was pure luck or a telegraphed move. Nonetheless, it was a win, and brought the fighter back from a doctor’s stoppage loss to Frankie Edgar in 2017.

The opponent of Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens has a much larger track record in the sport. As a matter of fact, Stephens’ 15-15 record just within the UFC still gives him more professional bouts than what Rodriguez had. While he holds the larger resume, he hasn’t seen success lately. Losing recently to Jose Aldo and Zabit Magomedsharipov, Stephens hasn’t won since Josh Emmett in early 2018. Both ranked featherweights, a win could put them in the title picture within another fight or two.

UFC will have another ESPN+ exclusive event next week, when the promotion heads to the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. Main eventing the card will be middleweights Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier. The card begins at 11 AM EST, with the main card kicking off three hours afterwards.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens Among Fights Announced For UFC Fight Night: Mexico City

UFC’s Fight Night event from Mexico City has gotten a big wave of fights announced, lead by Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens. Along with six other bouts, the contest between the two featherweights was announced during UFC 240 on Saturday night.

Yair Rodriguez’s last fight was back in November, getting a buzzer beater finish over the “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, landing an elbow. Jeremy Stephens has fought more recently, losing to Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 235 in April. He attempts to snap a two-fight losing streak, as his previous loss was to Jose Aldo. Rodriguez is currently rank #7 in the featherweight division, while Stephens is #8.

Three high profile women’s fights were also announced, with one in the strawweight division and two other in the bantamweight class. #9 rank strawweight Carla Esparza will face #10 seeded Alexa Grasso. Unranked bantamweight Bethe Correia will face #14 ranked Sijara Eubanks. The other bantamweight bout announced was #9 Marion Renau versus #10 Irene Aldana.

The other fight that has two ranked fighters is a flyweight contest between #5 ranked Sergio Pettis and #10 ranked Alex Perez. Similarly, #7 Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov will compete in a flyweight bout. Also announced was a light heavyweight clash between Vinicius Moreira and Paul Craig.

In no specific order, this is the announced fights for UFC Mexico City:

  1. Yair Rodriguez (11-2) vs. Jeremy Stephens (26-16) (Featherweight)
  2. Carla Esparza (14-6) vs. Alexa Grasso (11-2) (Strawweight)
  3. Sijara Eubanks (4-3) vs. Bethe Correia (10-4-1) (Bantamweight)
  4. Sergio Pettis (17-5) vs. Alex Perez (22-5) (Flyweight)
  5. Morion Reneau (9-5-1) vs. Irene Aldana (10-5) (Bantamweight)
  6. Vinicius Moreira (9-3) vs. Paul Craig (11-4) (Light Heavyweight)
  7. Askar Askarov (10-0) vs. Brandon Moreno (15-5) (Flyweight)
  8. Angela Hill (9-7) vs. Istela Nunes (7-1) (Strawweight)
  9. Jose Alberto Quinones (7-3) vs. Carlos Huachin (10-4-2) (Bantamweight)

The card currently has five Mexican fighters scheduled to compete. The event is scheduled for September 21st, with the prelims at 5pm EST and the main card at 8pm EST.