— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA)
April 22, 2023
With her back up against the fence, Liz
Carmouche proved why she’s still amongst the top female
fighters in the world after rallying to defeat DeAnna
Bennett in the
Bellator 294 main event Friday night at Neil S. Blaisdell Arena
Heading into the fourth round down on the scorecards, Carmouche
struggled to keep Bennett at bay on the feet. Bennett’s pressure
kept Carmouche pinned on her back as she searched for any
submission she could find. Keeping Carmouche on the defensive
worked well for the Daniel
Gracie protégé. Bennett’s commitment to wrestling and
outworking the champ led the action until midway into the fourth
Sensing that her title was beginning to slip from her grasp,
Carmouche caught Bennett in a half-crucifix before trapping her
near the fence. Despite not having enough space to slip between
Bennett and the cage, Carmouche was still able to finish her
arm-triangle off pure position mastery.
Carmouche’s win with 31 seconds left in the fourth round gave the
MMA champion her second title defense and sixth straight
In the co-main event, Tim Johnson
decisioned Said Sowma
in a three-round heavyweight clash (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Despite
lacking the foot speed of a man eight years his junior, Johnson
slowed Sowma down with consistent clinch work.
Fresh off his split decision loss in the Bantamweight World Grand
Prix semis, Danny
Sabatello left zero doubt in his three-round feature bout
Breno. Sabatello showed poise, patience and personality before
taking out Breno with a rear-naked choke at the 4:10 mark of the
second round. Although Sabatello (14-2) would’ve loved to take part
in Saturday’s tournament finale, “The Italian Gangster” has big
aspirations for his future. Moments after his first finish in
Bellator, Sabatello called out choke artist Magomed
Ultimate Fighting Championship contender Sara McMann
shined in her Bellator debut against company vet Arlene
Blencowe. McMann dog walked Blencowe throughout the first two
rounds with immense top pressure and a viscous use of the muay thai
clinch and cruised to an unanimous decision victory (29-27, 30-27,
Chokheli (12-3) won his second-straight fight after decisioning
Lombardo (13-4) in the opening bout of the main card (30-27,
30-27, 29-28). Chokheli’s busy hands and outside trips shined early
and late. “The Don” found some success against the cage in round
two but couldn’t capitalize or make effective use of his
Bellator 294’s prelims were marred by an avoidable — yet justified
— disqualification. After fighting off Tyrell
Fortune’s top pressure, Bellator debutant Sergey
Bilostenniy dropped Fortune with an elbow behind the ear.
Bilostenniy followed Fortune to the mat and landed multiple punches
to the back of the head while ignoring several verbal warnings from
referee Chris West.
Bilostenniy landed nearly a dozen rabbit punches before West
finally called him off and snapped his five-fight win streak.
Fortune improved to 13-3 thanks to the DQ.
Lencioni (11-3) and Killys Mota
highlighted the four-fight appetizer with a pair of sleek
submissions. After trading haymakers early with Blake
Smith, Lencioni dragged the featherweight prospect to the
ground and overwhelmed him with submission attempts. Lencioni
finally caught Smith in an inverted triangle choke at the 3:39 mark
of the second round. “Sunshine” needed a strong performance after
he failed to make weight (152.4) for the catchweight bout and his
dominance on the ground was glaring.
Mota shrugged off a slow start against skilled prospect Kenneth
Cross. After fighting Cross off his back for most of the first
round, the 32-year-old Brazilan’s experience took over in the
second. Mota sunk in a rear-naked choke for his third straight win.
Davlatmurodov kicked off the YouTube telecast with a 30-27 x3
unanimous decision win over Anthony
Adams. After two even rounds on the feet, Davlatmurdov
outworked Adams in the third round, mixing in some ground-and-pound
with his lone takedown of the fight.
Liz Carmouche Successfully Defends Flyweight Title in Bellator 294 Main Event