Bellator 202 “Budd vs. Nogueira” took place last night (Fri., July 13, 2018) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. All eyes were on the prize for the main card fights on Paramount.
The Featherweight title was up for grabs as defending champion Julia Budd (11-2) squared off against undefeated BJJ world champion Talita Nogueira (7-0). The first round was tepid for a couple of minutes, with the only offense being occasional kicks thrown by Nogueira, but Budd finally caught a body kick and picked Nogueira up for a big slam. She controlled the rest of the round on the ground, working over her opponent with elbows and right hands.
Budd came out faster in the second round and was clearly feeling that momentum had swung in her direction. She imposed her will standing and made Nogueira backpedal from the strikes, then put her against the cage for a physical grind and some nasty elbows. A big right elbow and a hard left knee to the body made Nogueira crumble and made it borderline to a 10-8.
Chael Sonnen and Sean Grande both said that “The Jewel” had a gleam in her eye for the third round. They weren’t exaggerating. Budd was anxious to get started and fast to attack, and Nogueira was able to mount virtually no offense this round. One attempt at a leg lock was quickly escaped, after which Herzog was forced to stand her up where Nogueira was knocked down with a right hand and finished at 4:07 via TKO.
Julia Budd spoke to Chael Sonnen after another big win.
“Never. I’ll never get tired of hearing that. In my division the one I’m most excited about is Sinead Kavanagh. She’s the next one I’d like to fight. I had to stay patient. I’ve got 25 minutes to work. I knew I was going to finish in the third round, I just had to wait for my opportunity. I think ‘Pitbull’ is going to keep the title (tomorrow). Sunshine coast, front row, and everybody back home, thank you for letting me showcase on another amazing card.”
A fighter looking to bounce back in Oklahoma was former Bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (20-5) taking on former UFC standout Michael “Mayday” McDonald (18-4) in his second Bellator fight.
McDonald wasn’t being paid by the hour — or perhaps we should say by the minute. It didn’t take him long to cream Dantas with a huge right hand, and when the former champion stumbled McDonald rushed in and fired left hands at his head from his back. Jacob Montalvo gave Dantas every chance to improve his position or fight back but stopped the fight at 58 seconds when he simply could not. To make matters worse for Dantas he rolled and possibly snapped his ankle when he got dropped by the shot, forcing the medical team to tend to him during the winning announcement.
The victorious “Mayday” McDonald spoke to Chael Sonnen after his thrilling first round finish. It turns out he had an injury of his own — something McDonald is all too familiar with.
“I would never hope that for anybody man. That could be a career ending injury. I didn’t try to (do it) but I feel bad. That sucks horribly. You know man, I broke my left hand, I can feel it, I broke my hand. I hit a little too hard for my body frame. I don’t know how long I can do this if I keep breaking my body in every fight. My older brother Justin Smitley he can beat me up any day of the week and we need to see him here in Bellator. If you like fighters like me you’ll like him. I don’t even know what’s gonna happen right now. I just want to get healthy. I want to go home to my wife, my church, and my family.”
A showdown of Middleweight contenders was also on the main card as Chris Honeycutt (10-2, 1 NC) faced Leo Leite (10-1) in his second Bellator bout.
The first round showed occasional flashes of Leite’s background in judo and BJJ, tripping Honeycutt to the ground and jumping on his back with the hooks in, but Honeycutt used elbows to the thigh to make Leite slip off and took over the fight standing, doing damage with his hands and knees to win R1.
The striking advantage took over for the next two rounds. Honeycutt would sprawl to block takedowns, do damage in the stand-up exchanges, then push Leite into the fence for knees. When Honeycutt could get on top in guard he’d bust Leite up with elbows, turning Honeycutt’s white trunks shades of red and pink by the final bell. The unanimous 30-25 decision from all three judges was no surprise — the lack of an interview afterward was.
A late addition to the main card featured the big boys as Valentin Moldavsky (6-1) took on Ernest James (0-0) in what looked to be a slobberknocker of a fight.
Moldavsky closed the left eye of James early in the fight with a hook, rocked him late in the first round, but the bell saved James and gave him a full minute to recover. He seemed fresh enough for round two but that swollen eye kept him from seeing the right hook that put him down again for a TKO at 4:03.
Afterward Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finalist Chael Sonnen tried to interview Moldavsky.
“I say in the the beginning of the fight, he was the biggest with me, that’s why I learned with him. In the second round I understood I must beat him over the fight. I don’t know (who to fight next). Scott Coker should answer the question. I will beat whatever fighter they give me.”
They should have had a translator in the cage to help Moldavsky out.
For complete Bellator 202 “Budd vs. Nogueira” results and coverage click here.
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