Liz Carmouche finally accomplished her mixed martial arts (MMA) dream of winning a major world title, defeating Juliana Velasquez via fourth round technical knockout in Bellator 278’s main event last night (Fri., April 22, 2022) in Hawaii.
But, it wasn’t without some controversy.
After a fairly even first three rounds, Carmouche and Velasquez headed into the championship rounds looking to make an impression on the judges scorecards. With 20 seconds remaining in the fourth round, Carmouche managed to get Velasquez in a precarious position, locking her up in the crucifix.
From there, “Girl-rill” started to unleash some elbows on the helpless champ, landing about four clean ones that prompted longtime referee Mike Beltran to step in and call the fight, which lead to an immediate protest from Velasquez. And she had every reason to be upset because the while the elbows were landing, they weren’t causing any damage at all.
Velasquez and her team continued to protest the stoppage, though there was nothing that could be done since Beltran had already made his decision. And while the stoppage was questionable, Velasquez wasn’t defending herself so Beltran felt stepping in to stop the punishment was the best thing to do. Still, the common theme is that in a title fight the champion should be afforded more time to fight back or survive.
That said, we can’t take anything away from Carmouche, who went in and took care of business and is now the new Bellator MMA flyweight champion. But, given the manner in which the fight ended, one has to expect an immediate rematch.
For complete Bellator 278 play-by-play updates and results click HERE!