Bellator 294 goes down later TONIGHT (Fri., April 21, 2023) in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the first event of a two-night doubleheader for the Viacom-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion. Headlining the event will be a women’s Flyweight title fight as division champion, Liz Carmouche, defends her belt against DeAnna Bennet. In the co-headlining act, Timothy Johnson faces Said Sowma.
Many readers check in before, during, and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action, which will begin at 6:25 p.m. ET with YouTube “Prelims” (watch them here) and then transition to Showtime at 10 p.m. ET for main card action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 294) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show — it’s always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 294 QUICK RESULTS:
125 lbs.: Champion Liz Carmouche vs. DeAnna Bennett — Carmouche via fourth-round submission (arm-triangle choke) — HIGHLIGHTS
265 lbs.: Tim Johnson vs. Said Sowma — Johnson via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Arlene Blencowe vs. Sara McMann — McMann via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Danny Sabatello vs. Marcos Breno — Sabatello via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
170 lbs.: Levan Chokheli vs. Michael Lombardo — Chokheli via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Killys Mota vs. Kenneth Cross - Mota via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
265 lbs.: Tyrell Fortune vs. Sergei Bilostennyi - Fortune via disqualification (illegal strikes to the head)
145 lbs.: Cris Lencioni vs. Blake Smith - Lencioni via second-round submission - (inverted triangle)
185 lbs: Anthony Adams vs. Sharaf Davlatmurodov - Davlatmurodov via unanimous decision
BELLATOR 294 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
125 lbs.: Champion Liz Carmouche vs. DeAnna Bennett
Round 1: Carmouche comes out firing strikes along with an inside leg kick. Spinning back kick to the head partially lands for the champion, but Bennett gets her to the ground during the exchange. Bennett now in top control. Short elbows by the challenger. Two minutes off the clock. Carmouche defending nicely, but she’s still fighting off her back. Bennett finds a home for a short right to the chin. Just over a minute left. Bennett still in top control along the cage. Carmouche seems undersized. Good shots to the body by Bennett. 10-9 Bennett
Round 2: Carmouche opens with a nice jab. Leg kick by the champion. Bennett returns with a body kick. Two heavy right hands land for Carmouche. Bennett still pursuing. Carmouche looks for her own takedown, but Bennett reverses and get side control. Two minutes down. Bennett now has a hold of Carmouche’s neck, but she shakes her off. Both ladies land some strikes on the inside. Sweeping low calf kick by Carmouche into a clinch hold along the cage. Bennett reverses and eventually scores her own takedown, ending the round in top control. 10-9 Bennett
Round 3: Third round opens up with another Carmouche punch, but Bennett moves well inside to counter. Inside leg kick by Bennett. Carmouche counters with a right hand. The champion whiffs on a combination and Bennett launches in for a takedown, pushing Carmouche along the cage. Bennett is able to lift Carmouche up and bring her down. Half the round left. Top control and short elbows for Bennett. Carmouche is struggling to create space for a possible standup. Bennett could ride the round out here. One minute left. More pressure by Bennett as she’s now doing damage in side control. 10-9 Bennett
Round 4: Leg kicks early by Carmouche. Bennett circling around and looks to control distance. Carmouche lands a nice kick that sends Bennett off balance, but it allows Bennett to move in for a takedown attempt. Carmouche threatens with a guillotine choke. Bennett defends nicely as she still tries to secure the takedown. Carmouche landing good elbows to the temple. Bennett struggling to gain control. Just under three minutes left. Carmouche is able to stand up, but Bennett right there again with another takedown. The champion uses a kimura attempt to reverse and gain top control. Carmouche moves into full mount and lands hard elbows. She’s now threatening an arm-triangle choke. Bennett trying to defend with 45 seconds on the clock, but her legs are starting to kick. She eventually taps.
Final result: Carmouche def. Bennett via fourth-round submission (arm-triangle choke)
265 lbs.: Tim Johnson vs. Said Sowma
Round 1: Leg kick lands by Sowma followed by a short punch. Johnson counters with a shot of his own before backing Sowma up against the cage. Johnson lands some knees to the legs. Sowma finally gets his back off the fence. Two minutes in the book. The striking is slowed to say the least. Johnson eventually opens up and chases down Sowma to land some shots. Sowma responds with a fast high kick. Johnson chases him down again and scores a slamming takedown. Just over one minute left. Sowma returns to his feet and separates. Another high kick by Sowma. 10-9 Johnson
Round 2: Sowma opens up with the high kick again. Johnson looking to close the gap along the cage. He eventually gets a hold of Sowma, who starts complaining about an eye poke. More clinch work from Johnson. Three minutes remaining. Sowma finally breaks free. He lands a high kick again despite Johnson’s attempt to block. Hard leg kick by Sowma. Johnson seems to be laboring on his lead leg. It’s Sowma’s turn to pin Johnson along the cage. Another leg kick by Sowma hurts Johnson. Sowma launches a body kick. One minute left. Johnson looks for his own leg kick. Johnson tries to rush in for a flurry but whiffs. 10-9 Sowma
Round 3: Sowma back with more leg kicks, but Johnson is able to return favor this time. Johnson rushes in and pins Sowma along the cage. Sowma has double underhooks and spins off. Knee to the body lands by Johnson. He then grabs a hold of Sowma and drags him to the ground. Two minutes off the clock. Sowma reverses and gets back to his feet. Hard kicks to the body by Sowma. Johnson looks tired, but he’s still pushing the pace. Sowma letting his hands go with about 90 seconds left in the fight. Johnson able to gain control with another clinch along the fence. Sowma reverses and creates space. Sowma looking for another high kick. 10-9 Sowma
Final result: Johnson def. Sowma via Unanimous Decision
145 lbs.: Arlene Blencowe vs. Sara McMann
Round 1: Both fighters starting out slow. Leg kick lands by Blencowe. McMann looks for a combination before tying things up. She tries to get a takedown, but Blencowe reverses and ends up on top. McMann kicks her off and gains top control. Short punches land for McMann. Two minutes off the clock. Blencowe looking to leverage the cage to get back to her feet. McMann angles her off and scores more punches to the face. The former UFC fighter seems to be looking for a choke. Blencowe fighting the hands. McMann softens up Blencowe even more and gets full back control with hooks. McMann still looking for a rear-naked choke. One minute left. Blencowe defending nicely, but McMann is just racking up control time. 10-9 McMann
Round 2: Blencowe opens up with a hard left hook. McMann ends up changing levels and fights hard for another takedown. Four minutes on the clock for McMann to work. She moves into side control and lands a few heavy elbows to the body. McMann then moves into mount. Blencowe defends and returns to her feet, but McMann sticks to her back. Two minutes left. Blencowe fighting the hands and she’s able to return to her feet. McMann finds a home for big knees inside. Blencowe is stunned and gives up another untimely takedown. McMann wastes no time and locks up an arm triangle choke. Blencowe fights it off and is able to last to the bell. 10-9 McMann
Round 3: Blencowe hurts McMann with a huge right hand to begin the round. McMann backs up as Blencowe pursues. McMann tries to score a takedown, but Blencowe defends and whacks her with short punches to the face. Luckily for McMann, she gets the takedown on her second attempt and moves right into back control. Blencowe takes a moment, but she spins, reverses position, and gets back to her feet. Two minutes off the clock. McMann now controlling Blencowe along the cage before she drags her to the canvas again. Referee warns McMann to get active. McMann taking her time. Blencowe not doing much to get her off. More top control by McMann as she lands short elbows when she can. That’s where the fight ends. 10-9 McMann
Final result: McMann def. Blencowe via Unanimous Decision
135 lbs.: Danny Sabatello vs. Marcos Breno
Round 1: Sabatello opens with a leg kick. Breno trying to close the distance. He lands a hard combination. Sabatello shoots right away, but Breno fights it off. Leg kick by Sabatello. Another failed takedown by Sabatello. Breno lands a whipping leg kick. Good body punch by Breno. Looping right hand lands by Sabatello and it seems to buckle Breno just for a moment. Sabatello fakes a flying knee into a takedown attempt, only to have Breno scramble to his feet. Uppercut scores for Breno as he lands his own takedown. Sabatello reverses and has Breno’s shoulder trapped. He uses to work to the cage. Two minutes on the clock. Short knees inside by Sabatello into a slamming takedown. Sabatello looks for a rear-naked choke, but he can’t find his squeeze. He tries it again and it’s in deeper. Breno is fighting the hands and survives. Sabatello is resilient and looks to get the choke again. Breno fights him off as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Sabatello
Round 2: Head kick lands for Sabatello to open the frame. Jab sneaks in for Breno. Sabatello bites hard on a feint. Breno starts to open up with his hands and backs Sabatello along the cage. He rushes in too quickly, though, giving Sabatello a chance to score a takedown and get back in control. Sabatello landing short punches before trying to lock up an arm-triangle choke. Two minutes off the clock. Sabatello punching the body. He’s working towards the back for the choke again, but ends up in full mount. Breno is able to transition to guard and nearly locks up a leg lock. Sabatello busts free and goes for a quick choke. Brena is able to defend, but gives up his back. One minute on the clock and Sabatello is able to find the home for the submission finish.
Final result: Sabatello def. Breno via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
170 lbs.: Levan Chokheli vs. Michael Lombardo
Round 1: Slow start for both men but Lombardo knocks Chokheli over with his body. Stiff jab by Chokheli followed by a right and a leg kick. Lombardo lands his own leg kick. Uppercut lands for Chokheli. Overhand right nearly hits for Lombardo. Chokheli grabs a hold and gets a huge takedown. Lombardo returns to his feet. Two minutes down. Lombardo finds his own takedown into top control. Short ground-and-pound lands. Chokheli gets back to his feet and gets another takedown. Lombardo scrambles up. More grappling along the cage as Chokheli looks for a guillotine choke. One minute left. Lombardo lands a good combination along the fence. Knee inside by Chokheli. Hard right hand, too. Chokheli grabs a hold of a late takedown to end the round. 10-9 Chokheli
Round 2: Lombardo comes out swinging. Chokheli counters with a timely uppercut. It backs Lombardo up. Chokheli pours more offense on along the cage before looking for a takedown. Lombardo showing good defense and reverses on the fence. He’s controlling Chokheli, but not landing much. Two minutes off the clock. Lombardo launches a nice elbow in the clinch. More control for Lombardo as Chokheli looks tired. Chokheli tries for another Judo throw, but Lombardo defends nicely. Chokheli finally responds with a hard knee up the middle and then a takedown along the cage. Lombardo fends it off and returns to his feet. Just over one minute left in the round. Lombardo back in control along the cage. Chokheli tries to separate. Lombardo sticking to him like glue. 10-9 Lombardo
Round 3: Both fighters land stiff jabs to begin the third. Leg kick hits for Chokheli. Lombardo trying to pressure like he did in the second, but Chokheli’s hands look fast. Lombardo now on his back foot. Another jab lands for Chokheli followed by a right cross. Lombardo getting tagged again as his face starts to bloody. Right hand lands for Chokheli. Two minutes down. Chokheli scores a slick combination. Lombardo looks lost on his entries and hasn’t tried to level change. Another combination for Chokheli. Lombardo finally closes the gap and gets a takedown into top control with 90 seconds left. Not much going on, but Lombardo is controlling. He may need a finish. Chokheli is able to stand up and score his own takedown to end the round in top control. 10-9 Chokheli
Final result: Chokheli def. Lombardo via Unanimous Decision
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