Bellator 278 results: Liz Carmouche claims flyweight title with controversial finish over Juliana Velasquez


Liz Carmouche has finally won a championship belt, but it was not without some controversy.

At Bellator 278 on Friday night, Carmouche claimed the Bellator flyweight title, earning a fourth-round TKO stoppage over Juliana Velasquez that left Velasquez visibly upset with referee Mike Beltran’s decision to halt the contest.

After a fierce first round that saw Carmouche use low kicks to win, while Velasquez scored consistently with left-handed punches, Velasquez won the fight in the third round. She put Carmouche on her back, controlled the clinches and cracked Carmouche using her left hand. In the fourth, Velasquez dropped Carmouche early and seemed to have the bout well in hand, until the former Marine shot for a takedown late in the round and quickly advanced to the top-crucifix position. From there, Carmouche started dropping elbows — and though none of them appeared to be particularly powerful, referee Mike Beltran saw enough to stop the fight at 4:47 of the fourth round.

Velasquez immediately opposed the stoppage but it was too late.

Controversial or not, though, Carmouche has now finally won a world title belt, having fallen short in her three previous title shots in Strikeforce and the UFC.

The win moves her to 4-0 inside the Bellator cage, and at 38 years old, figures to be the crowning achievement in what has been an impressive career already.

Barzola outclasses Mikhailov

Enrique Barzola defeated Nikita Mikhailov in the second bout of Bellator’s bantamweight grand Prix qualifier bouts. He won unanimously and secured his place at the grand prix.

Mikhailov was beaten by Barzola, who kept up a fast pace and took him down in every round. Mikhailov proved his durability, surviving several close rear-naked choke attempts and making it to the final bell for a moral victory for the 23-year-old.

The win is Barzola’s second since joining Bellator, and he will now face Magomed Magomedov in the first round of the Bellator bantamweight grand prix.

Sabatello dominates Lugo

In the first Bellator bantamweight grand prix qualifier bout of the evening, Danny Sabatello thrashed Jornel Lugo for 15 minutes, winning a dominant unanimous decision and punching his ticket into the grand prix.

*]Lugo had no answers for Sabatello’s wrestling abilities, and he repeatedly knocked him to the ground. Sabatello then worked over the undefeated man with more violent ground-and pound. After his win, Sabatello then cut a profanity-laden promo on the man he will face in the opening round of the Grand Prix, Leandro Higo.

The main card also featured Grant Neal, who won a unanimous over Christian Edwards decision. Manny Muro, who avenged a loss in his early career to Nate Andrews by winning a split on the opener of the main cards, was able successfully to rebound.

Full Bellator 278 Results

Liz Carmouche def. Juliana Velasquez via TKO (strikes) at 4:47 of Round 4

Enrique Barzola def. Nikita Mikhailov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Danny Sabatello def. Jornel Lugo via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Grant Neal def. Christian Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Manny Muro def. Nate Andrews via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Weber Almeida def. Fabricio Franco via TKO (kick) 3:01 of Round 1

Dante Schiro def. Scotty Hao via TKO (strikes) at 1:03 of Round 3

Blake Perry def. Makoa Cooper via submission (anaconda choke) at 4:14 of Round 2