Undefeated Bellator Flyweight Champion Juliana Velasquez will get the chance to defend her belt for the first time when facing Denise Kielholtz on Friday night. Their title fight headlines Bellator 262, which is set to happen at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.
Preliminary Card (6:25PM EDT) (Youtube)
Main Card (9:00PM EDT) (Showtime)
Bout 10: Juliana Velasquez (11-0) vs. Denise Kielholtz (6-2) (Bellator Flyweight Championship)
Velasquez Takes Close Split Decision Over Kielholtz For First Title Defense
Juliana Velasquez defended her Bellator Flyweight Championship for the first time on Friday, fighting to a razor-thin split decision win against Denise Kielholtz in the main event (48-47 Velasquez, 48-47 Kielholtz & 48-47 Velasquez).
The close fight saw Kielholtz take at least two rounds on every scorecard. The successful kickboxer had a strong start to the bout, with the champ taking rounds later on.
Kielholtz had a strong opening round to the fight, piecing together punches that landed clean on Velasquez.
Velasquez started to get more comfortable later in the fight, beginning to land with shots that hurt Kielholtz and caused damage to visibly accumulate on her. Using her reach advantage, Velasquez connected frequently with her jab.
Kielholtz frequently pushed forward throughout, although Velasquez succeeded with landing shots on her backfoot.
Takedown attempts by Velasquez were blocked early in the fight, although she was able to secure a couple in later rounds.
Velasquez was returning for the first time after earning the belt against Ilima-Lei Macfarlane last year.
The win on Friday means Velasquez remains undefeated through 12 pro fights.
Kielholtz was given the title shot after a four-fight winning streak that started in 2019. She secured a title shot in October last year, stopping former title challenger Kate Jackson within a minute with strikes.
Kielholtz was challenging for her first belt in MMA on Friday night.
Bout 9: Tyrell Fortune (10-1) vs. Matt Mitrione (13-8) (Heavyweight)
Fortune Scores A Fast, Controversial Win
Tyrell Fortune scored a quick yet controversial win over Matt Mitrione in the co-main event. While Fortune’s volume of strikes on the ground forced a tap in the second minute, Mitrione argued a collision of heads greatly influenced the fight.
Fortune was quick to score a takedown early in the first round. As he shot in for the takedown, Mitrione’s head ducked down in defense, causing the two fighter’s heads to collide.
Mitrione complained to the referee about the head collision before and after the fight, becoming even angrier once a replay was shown on the screens.
He was not present when the result of the fight was read afterward.
The collision of heads was described as “accidental” by Fortune, who also said he didn’t feel their impact at the moment.
Fortune is now on a three-fight winning streak. After, he called out interim Bellator Heavyweight Champion Timothy Johnson.
“Tim Johnson, bring your a** here boy,” said Fortune in his post-fight interview. Johnson is the sole fighter to hand Fortune a loss, stopping him last year.
Mitrione has now gone winless in his last five, with four being losses. His previous fight was in August of last year, where he was stopped within a round by the aforementioned Johnson.
Bout 8: Matheus Mattos (12-2-1) vs. Cee Jay Hamilton (15-8) (Bantamweight)
Mattos Stops Hamilton With Left Hook For First Bellator Win
Hard punches from Matheus Mattos allowed him to score a second-round stoppage win over Cee Jay Hamilton.
Mattos dropped Hamilton in the second round with a left hook as part of a combination of punches. He then took the back following the knockdown, landing a series of punches from the position that caused the referee to step in.
Mattos had success in the first round as well, visibly wobbling Hamilton early on with a left hook.
Mattos now has his first win since joining Bellator. He dropped his promotional debut earlier this year, fighting to a decision loss against quickly rising contender Magomed Magomedov.
Hamilton also faced Magomedov in his previous outing, being submitted by him back in April.
Bout 7: Arlene Blencowe (13-8) vs. Dayana Silva (9-6) (Featherweight)
Blencowe Gets Win In First Appearance Following Title Shot
Arlene Blencowe returned to the win column with a third-round stoppage victory over Dayana Silva on Friday.
Blencowe started the finishing sequence to the fight with a jab that stunned Silva. Continuing to storm forward with shots after, Blencowe eventually dropped Silva and caused the fight to end.
Blencowe was also successful earlier in the fight, dictating the fight with her striking skills and being able to evade the danger that Silva posed.
Blencowe was making her first appearance since losing a fight to Bellator Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg last year.
Silva is now on a two-fight losing streak in Bellator. She entered the promotion with a tough matchup earlier this year, losing on scorecards to former Bellator champ Julia Budd.
Bout 6: Johnny Eblen (8-0) vs. Travis Davis (10-4) (Middleweight)
Eblen Uses Wrestling And Striking To Remain Undefeated
A mix of wrestling and striking earned Johnny Eblen a unanimous decision victory over Travis Davis to open the main card (30-27, 30-26 & 30-26).
Eblen used his wrestling skills to control Davis throughout the fight, even landing a suplex at one point in the final round. His successful performance showed composure, never being overly aggressive but keeping control of the battle.
Eblen is now on a five-fight winning streak since joining Bellator in 2019. He scored a stoppage win in his previous fight, stopping Daniel Madrid within a round in May.
Eblen called out Irish fighter Charlie Ward after his win.
Davis was making his Bellator debut in the fight. He had a two-fight winning streak from the regional scene in Ohio prior to Friday.
Bout 5: Ronny Markes (19-8) vs. Said Sowma (6-2) (Heavyweight)
Sowma Lands Left Hook For First Bellator Win
A hard left hook from Said Sowma sent Ronny Markes to the canvas in the second minute and put an end to their heavyweight fight.
Sowma’s punch scored while Markes was backing up, planting him flat on his back. Sowma landed a couple of punches on the ground before the referee stepped in and stopped the bout, throwing Sowma back into the win column.
Sowma, a former Titan FC Heavyweight Champion, now has his first win since joining Bellator. He lost his promotional debut last year, dropping a decision to Tyrell Fortune that snapped a six-fight winning streak.
Markes is now on a two-fight losing streak in Bellator. The former PFL fighter was finished in his previous fight as well, being stopped by veteran Linton Vassell.
Bout 4: Cody Law (3-0) vs. Theodore Macuka (1-0) (Featherweight)
Law Earns Fourth Win As A Rookie
Cody Law scored the fourth win of his rookie year as a pro within a round, stringing together strikes against Theodore Macuka that forced a stoppage.
Law put together a fast series of right and left hand punches that backed Macuka up against the cage and caused him to cover up. After numerous shots went unanswered by Macuka, the referee stepped in and stopped the bout.
Law now has four wins in Bellator since he turned pro in October of last year. Three of those victories have come via stoppage.
Macuka was returning after winning his pro debut in just 36 seconds back in 2019. His appearance on Friday was his first fight in Bellator.
Bout 3: Diana Avsaragova (3-0) vs. Gabriella Gulfin (2-2) (Flyweight)
Avsaragova Remains Undefeated With Split Decision Win
Diana Avsaragova extended her undefeated record on Friday with a split decision win over Gabriella Gulfin (29-28 Avsaragova, 29-28 Gulfin & 29-28 Avsaragova).
The slow-paced three-round fight saw Avsaragova and Gulfin compete strictly on their feet. They were both able to connect at moments, although neither fighter came close to a finish at any point.
A spinning backfist from Avsaragova caused damage to the nose of Gulfin in the second round, with her forearm connecting on the nose.
The small crowd in attendance for the prelims voiced their displeasure for the bout after the decision was read.
Avsaragova scored a quick knockout in her previous Bellator appearance, stopping Tara Graff in just 29 seconds.
Gulfin got the call to Bellator after losing her two previous bouts in regional promotion CFFC.
Bout 2: Johnny Soto (4-1) vs. Adil Benjilany (5-3) (Featherweight)
Benjilany Snaps Losing Streak With Striking Showcase
Adil Benjilany’s striking skills allowed him to earn a unanimous decision over Johnny Soto on the prelims (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Soto scored numerous takedowns during the fight, although it was the fast-paced striking on the feet from Benjilany that earned him rounds on judges’ scorecards.
Much like the fight that went before it on the prelims, cardio started to swing the way of the striker in the later minutes of play.
The win for Benjilany snapped a two-fight skid and made his first appearance in over a year.
“In 15 months I’ve seen the lowest of the lows. I hit rock bottom. What you heard about rock bottom there is no other way to go but up. I picked myself back up, I came here and I performed,” said Benjilany in his post-fight interview.
Soto had a successful Bellator debut just two months back, pulling off an upset victory over Weber Almeida via unanimous decision. The win advanced his win streak to four consecutive.
Bout 1: Charlie Campbell (3-1) vs. Nick Giuletti (2-1) (Lightweight)
Campbell Finishes Tired Giuletti With Strikes
Charlie Campbell capitalized on a tired Nick Giuletti to finish him in the second round with strikes on the prelims. Campbell scored a series of punches in the second round that dropped Giuletti and forced their bout to end.
Giuletti became tired after what was a successful beginning to the fight.
Giuletti had a strong start to the fight, taking the back of Campbell only moments in. He was able to land punches and attempt a rear naked choke from the position before they got back to their feet later.
Campbell potentially stole the round late, taking the fight to the feet again and teeing off with strikes on a tired Giuletti who was hardly guarding himself.
Campbell continued to have target practice in the second round, causing Giuletti to eventually crumble and make the referee step in.
Campbell won his Bellator debut last year, stopping Nainoa Dung in the second round of a fight. He has competed once since then, defeating Cedric Gunnison on a CFFC card.
Giuletti was making his Bellator debut after taking his first pro loss earlier this year on a CFFC card.