Bellator will kick off the first night in a doubleheader on Friday night when they present eight bouts from the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. In the main event, undefeated Bellator Flyweight Champion Juliana Velasquez will attempt to defend her belt for the second time when facing former UFC fighter Liz Carmouche.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (9:00PM EDT / 3:00PM HST) (Youtube)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 4:00PM HST) (Showtime)
Bout 8: Juliana Velasquez (12-0) vs. Liz Carmouche (16-7) (Bellator Flyweight Championship)
Carmouche Stops Velasquez In The Fourth To Earn Bellator Flyweight Championship
Liz Carmouche became the new Bellator Flyweight Champion on Friday night, stopping Juliana Velasquez in the fourth round with ground and pound shots.
Velasquez finished the bout with a series of punches and elbows while in side control. She trapped one of the arms of Velasquez while in this position and landed strikes until the referee stepped in.
Velasquez enthusiastically protested the stoppage after the fight came to an end. This began right after the fight was stopped, and continued for minutes after.
The fight was close in the rounds before the finish.
Velasquez succeeded with her boxing in the fight. She notably connected with left cross punches frequently, dropping Carmouche in the second round with one shot.
Velasquez remained active on the feet with leg kicks and was able to take Carmouche down a few times in the fight.
Carmouche, a former UFC title challenger, has now scored four consecutive wins since joining Bellator. Her last win before Friday was a 35-second finish against Kana Watanabe.
The fight marked Velasquez’s first pro loss. She earned the belt in late 2020, going five rounds against Ilima-Lei Macfarlane for a unanimous decision win. She defended her belt once in 2021 against Denise Kielholtz.
Bout 7: Enrique Barzola (17-5-2) vs. Nikita Mikhailov (9-1) (Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix Wild Card Bout)
Barzola Dominates Mikhailov For Final Grand Prix Spot
Former UFC fighter Enrique Barzola secured the final spot in the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix on Friday night, defeating Nikita Mikhailov in a strong unanimous decision result (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Barzola was active against Mikhailov on the ground through all three rounds of their fight. After many of the takedowns that he landed in the fight, Barzola would connect with punches to the head of Mikhailov.
Barzola also attempted a rear naked choke numerous times, although Mikhailov was able to defend these submissions.
The win on Friday books Barzola for a fight against Magomed Magomedov on June 24th in the quarter-finals of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Barzola’s previous fight was his Bellator debut, when he stopped former champ Darrion Caldwell in the third round with strikes.
Mikhailov had a five-fight winning streak before Friday, including two wins in Bellator.
Bout 6: Jornel Lugo (8-0) vs. Danny Sabatello (11-1) (Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix Wild Card Bout)
Sabatello Defeats Lugo In Dominant Performance
Danny Sabatello handed Jornel Lugo his first pro loss on Friday night, putting together a dominant performance to win via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26 & 30-26).
Sabatello took Lugo down early in all three rounds of their fight. He used these positions to stop Lugo from doing any attacks, landing punches periodically, and attempting submissions.
The win was part of Bellator’s “Wild Card” series for their Bantamweight Grand Prix. The win on Friday pushes Sabatello into the quarter-finals of the tournament, where he will fight Leandro Higo.
Lugo entered the weekend with a flawless pro record of eight wins. His previous victory was just last month against Brian Moore.
Bout 5: Christian Edwards (5-1) vs. Grant Neal (6-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Neal Returns With Decision Over Edwards
Grant Neal returned from his sole pro loss on Friday night, working for three rounds against Christian Edwards for a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Neal dominated the second and third rounds, taking Edwards down numerous times to earn the top position. He remained active from these positions, periodically connecting with strikes to Edwards.
Neal took his first loss last year, being on the losing end of a split decision against Alex Polizzi. He had a six-fight undefeated run before then.
Edwards is now on a two-fight losing streak. His first pro loss was an upset last year, taking a 38-second loss against Ben Parrish last year.
Bout 4: Manny Muro (12-7) vs. Nate Andrews (16-4) (Catchweight 160 lbs)
Muro Avenges 2016 Loss Against Andrews
Manny Muro avenged a loss in the first bout on the main card, working toward a split decision victory over Nate Andrews after three rounds (29-28 Muro, 29-28 Andrews & 29-28 Muro).
A large portion of Muro’s fight saw him in controlling positions. For a large portion of the first round, he kept Andrews against the cage with a takedown attempt. He finished the fight strong, scoring a takedown in the final round as well.
Andrews had a strong moment late in the second round, unloading with a series of strikes and attempting a submission on the ground.
Muro fought Andrews back in 2016 on a CES card. In that fight, Andrews secured a third-round submission to win.
Muro is now back into the win column after suffering a finish loss to Usman Nurmagomedov last year. Before then he had three consecutive wins, including two in the Bellator cage.
Andrews, a former PFL fighter, has now lost two consecutive fights in Bellator. His prior defeat came against Saad Awad in May 2021.
Bout 3: Weber Almeida (5-1) vs. Fabricio Franco (8-4) (Featherweight)
Almeida Bounces Back Through Unusual Fashion
Weber Almeida returned to the win column on the prelims, although it came through an odd early stoppage against Fabricio Franco.
The featherweight contest was paused due to a suspected kick to the groin of Franco early on. However, on replay, it became clear that Franco was actually struck in the thigh, and that a kick never made contact with his groin.
Franco remained on the ground for numerous minutes following this foul. After the referee realized it was a legal strike that caused this outcome, the fight was stopped and a win was given to Almeida.
The unusual outcome put Almeida back into the win column after taking his first pro loss last year, dropping a unanimous decision to Johnny Soto.
Franco was coming off a loss he took last year against Miguel Villegas on a Combate Global card.
Bout 2: Dante Schiro (8-3) vs. Scotty Hao (5-3) (Welterweight)
Schiro Finishes Hao For First Bellator Victory
Dante Schiro scored his first Bellator victory on Friday night, finishing Scotty Hao early in the third round to cap off a strong performance.
Schiro teed off on Hao to start the third round. A visibly fatigued Hao consumed almost all of the shots thrown at him to begin this round. The fight later went to the ground, where Schiro landed hard ground and pound that finished the fight.
Schiro succeeded earlier in the fight in stand-up exchanges and ground positions as well. He notably nearly finished the fight with ground and pound late in the second frame, but ran out of time to close out the fight then.
Both fighters lost in their previous Bellator appearances. Schiro dropped a split decision to Logan Storley in August 2021. Hao previously appeared in 2019 against Keoni Diggs.
Bout 1: Makoa Cooper (1-0) vs. Blake Perry (0-0) (Welterweight)
Perry Makes Comeback To Win Pro Debut
Blake Perry scored a comeback to win his pro debut, catching Makoa Cooper with an anaconda choke in the second round to suddenly submit him.
Perry stopped the bout in the second round, standing up from a ground position to attempt an anaconda choke. He then went back to the ground with this choke, adjusting it until Cooper tapped out to end the fight.
Cooper spent most of the first and second rounds in control of the fight. He took Perry down in both rounds and used dominant positions on the ground to land punches and cut him open.
Perry was making his first appearance as a pro. Cooper had his debut on a Titan FC card last month, where he scored a nine-second finish win.