The Bellator MMA cage was in Uncasville, Conn. for the second night in a row on Saturday where the Mohegan Sun Arena played host to Bellator 246. The event was headlined by a bantamweights Juan Archuleta and Patchy Mix fighting for the vacant bantamweight title.
Mix entered the fight with an unblemished 13-0 record, but left with his first career loss.
Archuleta targeted the midsection of Mix from the beginning of the fight, but also missed with power punches leaving himself open to be taken down. On the ground, the two engaged in high-level grappling exchanges. The first round ended with Mix mounting Archuletta and landing shots.
The second round looked a lot like the first. Archuleta continued to dig to the body with hooks while Mix looked to get the fight to the ground. After securing a takedown, Mix took Archuleta’s back. Archuleta reversed the position and finished the round by landing punches and elbows in the closing seconds.
Archuleta found his range in the third round and picked Mix apart with strikes. The body shots were adding up and leading to openings for his overhand right. The fight had turned from a technical grappling match to a stand-up bout.
In the third frame, Archuleta switched things up and took Mix down. As Mix attempted to stand, Archuleta threw a kick that landed to the check of Mix. The referee thought it was an illegal kick. The fight was briefly halted until the replay.
Later in the round, Archuleta was accidentally poked in the eye but the referee didn’t see it. Mix had Archuleta in retreat mode, but it didn’t last long. Archuleta unleashed a vicious body attack with punches.
The body shots continued in the fifth and final round. After 25 minutes of fighting, the judges rendered their decision. All three judges scored the fight for Archuleta.
“My family, they deserve this. My teammates, they deserve this,” said the newly crowned bantamweight champion.
In the co-main event, former World Series of Fighting welterweight champion and former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch fought for the last time. The 42-year old faced Neiman Gracie.
After connecting with a few leg kicks, Fitch closed the distance and tied Gracie up along the cage. It ended up being a mistake. Gracie tripped Fitch to the canvas but Fitch quickly isolated a leg. Gracie escaped the position and ended up taking Fitch’s back. He transitioned to an armbar but was unable to finish.
Gracie secured a takedown early in the second frame but couldn’t keep Fitch grounded. The two battled for position along the fence and Gracie was able to take Fitch down again. They both worked to isolate a leg. Gracie applied a kneebar that forced Fith to quickly tap out. Following the fight, Fitch announced his retirement.
“Fitch is one of the best welterweights of all time. People maybe don’t like his style but he beat everybody, and I think he beat Rory (MacDonald) for the title fight, so I consider him a champion,” said Gracie in his post-fight interview.
Back in the win column after having a nine-fight winning streak snapped last June, Gracie has his eyes set on a title shot.
“I want the champ or someone that is right there because I’m here for the belt, and I will get it soon,” he said.
Former UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche and former Invicta FC title challenger DeAnna Bennett made their promotional debuts on Saturday’s main card in a catchweight bout. Both were looking to make a statement in their first fight with the organization.
Carmouche was the aggressor in the opening round, taking the fight to Bennett. Carmouche landed he right hand secured a powerful takedown. Bennett fought her way back to her feet and landed leg kicks but the first round was won by Carmouche.
Bennett picked up the pace in the second frame. She pressed forward with combinations opening the opportunity to change levels and take Carmouche down. Outside of Carmouche isolating a leg and working to execute a heel hook, Bennett dominated the round.
It was anyone’s fight heading into the final frame and Carmouche rose to the occasion. “Girl-Rilla” moved forward with punches and quickly changed levels looking to put Bennett on her back. Bennett defended the attempt and worked to secure a takedown of her own. Carmouche turned the corner and took Bennett’s back. From there, she locked on a rear-naked choke that forced Bennett to tap out.
“I’m starting fresh. I have no ranking here. I want to work my way to the top and give everybody their due and the respect that they deserve,” she said.
Full Bellator 246 results:
- Juan Archuleta def. Patchy Mix by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
- Neiman Gracie def. Jon Fitch by submission (kneebar) at 4:47, R2
- Liz Carmouche def. DeAnna Bennett by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:17, R3
- Keoni Diggs def. Derek Campos by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:59, R1
- Daniel Madrid def. Pat Casey by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ty Gwerder def. George Tokkos by TKO (punch and knee) at 1:05, R3
- Davion Franklin def. Ras Hylton by technical unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27) at 1:37, R3