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Bellator 246 Results and Video Highlights: Juan Archuleta boxes his way to the bantamweight title

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Bellator 246 saw Juan Archuleta crowned the new bantamweight champion. Also on the card, Jon Fitch retired after losing to Neiman Gracie.

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Bellator 246, the second of a weekend double-header, just wrapped up in Uncasville, CT. The main event of tonight’s offering saw Juan ‘Spaniard’ Archuleta claim the vacant Bellator bantamweight title after a convincing decision victory over the previously undefeated Patchy Mix.

Also on the main card Neiman Gracie tapped out Jon Fitch with a nasty looking knee bar/heel hook combo. After the bout Fitch announced that this would be the last time we see him fight. He put his gloves down in the center of the cage and said it was time to move on. He also offered to help Gracie train for a potential fight with Bellator welterweight champ Douglas Lima.

The other main card winners were Liz Carmouche, who survived a scare versus DeAnna Bennett before getting a submission win, and Keoni Diggs, who looked very impressive in dominating Derek Campos before choking him unconscious.

The prelims were a little lackluster with two decisions and a TKO win for Ty Gwerder over George Tokkos.

Check out the full results and video highlights below:

Main Card:

Bantamweight title: Juan Archuleta def. Patchy Mix via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47).

Juan Archuleta was back competing for a Bellator title a year after losing to Patricio Freire for the featherweight belt. After that he beat Henry Corrales, also at featherweight, to set up his shot at the vacant bantamweight belt. Contesting that title was Patchy Mix who came into the fight 13-0 with wins in RIZIN, Bellator and KOTC.

In the first, after some time spent sizing up his opponent Archuleta swung and missed on a big punch. Mix ducked under and then bullied Archuleta back to the fence. After a few attempts Mix was able to get Archuleta to the ground, but he couldn’t keep him there long. Back on the feet Archuleta landed some nice body shots before they separated.

Mix looked content to fire away at range, but Archuleta wanted to get in close. He charged, threw punches, but found himself taken down. On the ground Mix quickly got back control and a body triangle. Mix then tried to set-up a choke, but Archuleta did well in the hand-fighting department and survived to hear the first bell. In his corner former UFC champ T.J. Dillashaw chided Archuleta for rushing in and getting himself into bad positions.

In the second Archuleta showed more discipline. To close the distance Mix came forwards and got a takedown. An awkward position on the ground followed, with Mix upside down on Archuleta’s back. Mix was eventually able to scramble to a more orthodox form of back mount, where he again used his long legs to lock up a tight body triangle. Mix again went for a choke, but this time Arhculeta was able to spin and get top position for a moment. Archuleta was able to finish the round strong with ground and pound.

In the opening seconds of the third Archuleta caught Mix with a body punch that made him grimace with pain. That success seemed to embolden the ‘Spaniard’ who nailed Mix with a few more solid shots to the bread basket. Mix grew more cautious after those shots, trying to measure a response using kicks to the body and legs. With Mix occupied with stopping body shots, Archuleta mixed things up and started landing with punches upstairs.

In the fourth Archuleta stuck with what worked so well in the third, great footwork and intelligent rushes in and out of the pocket. With Mix leaning forwards, Archuleta decided to go for a takedown, which he got. But he didn’t hold Mix down for long.

In the final round Mix looked confused and unsure what to do next. Archuleta seemed composed and ready to continue on with the gameplan that had worked so well since the beginning of the third. Archuleta was landing, near at will, to the body at this stage, with Mix simply plodding forwards and leaving himself open. As the body shots piled up, Mix’s adverse reaction to them became more and more noticeable.

With two minutes left Archuleta initiated a clinch against the cage. He held Mix there, but didn’t score with any strikes. While in the position Mix was able to land a few nuisance punches. The fight ended with both men trading in the center.

In the end it was a pretty easy decision for the judges, who ruled in favour of Archuleta crowning him the new Bellator bantamweight champion.

Welterweight: Neiman Gracie def. Jon Fitch via submission (heel hook), round 2 (4:47).

Neiman Gracie, the grandson of Robson Gracie (and great grand-son Carlos Gracie), was perfect in MMA before losing to Rory McDonald in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix semi final last June. Jon Fitch’s previous fight was also against MacDonald, it ended in a majority draw, breaking Fitch’s five fight winning streak.

Against Gracie, Fitch quickly established a clinch and used it to hold Gracie up against the fence. Gracie got sick of that though and forced the fight to the ground, where he then targeted Fitch’s right leg. Though he couldn’t get the tap, Gracie was able to capture top position.

Fitch was active off his back with punches and elbows. Gracie wasn’t looking for ground and pound, instead he was looking to switch positions, which lead to him almost getting onto Fitch’s back. Fitch shucked Gracie off his back, but Gracie caught him in an armbar on the way down. Fitch showed some veteran savvy in defending the armbar and surviving the round.

In the second Fitch tried to touch up Gracie on the feet, storming forwards with combos. Gracie evaded and was able to use Fitch’s forward momentum to lock in on a takedown. Fitch got up this time, though, and more clinching ensued against the fence. Gracie would get another takedown later in the round, which resulted in some awkward scrambles and Gracie eventually going for another leg lock.

Fitch tried to punch his way out of trouble, but it didn’t work. Gracie found the angle he needed and then torqued back on an inverted heel hook/knee bar that forced Fitch to tap or snap. He wisely chose tap.

Flyweight: Liz Carmouche def. DeAnna Bennett via submission (rear naked choke), round 3 (3:17).

Carmouche came to Bellator earlier this year after a UFC career that spanned as long as that promotion’s female divisions. Carmouche was the first woman to ever enter the Octagon, which she did in 2013 to contest for the newly created bantamweight title opposite eventual winner Ronda Rousey. Six years later she competed for a UFC title again, versus Valentina Shevchenko. Bennett doesn’t have nearly the same credentials as Carmouche, she has Invicta title fight experience and some UFC bouts. Unfortunately she came in for this flyweight title more than 5 lbs overweight.

The extra weight didn’t stop Carmouche from taking Bennett down, which she accomplished within the first minute of the fight. She spent some time looking for a possible choke, but Bennett was able to get back up. Neither woman landed much offense on the feet.

In the second Bennett worked to establish a jab, which seemed to puzzle Carmouche initially. But then the UFC vet went to leg kicks and overhands and was able to land a little. Bennett then went for a takedown and was able to hoist Carmouche and put her down against the fence. Bennett was able to pepper Carmouche with ground and pound, which looked to trouble Carmouche. But Carmouche then responded with a tight leg lock attempt, which momentarily halted Bennett’s offense. Bennett remained calm, though, and got herself out of the position and back to a place where she could tee off with ground strikes.

Carmouche came out aggressive in the third, throwing punches and shooting for a takedown. But Bennett was able to stuff her and isolate an arm. While standing Bennett attempted a kimura, which succeeded in preventing Carmouche from getting the takedown. Some grueling clinchwork followed. Bennett looked to have more of the dominant positions against the fence, but Carmouche slowly took the fight where she wanted it. With Bennett bent over, Carmouche hopped on her back. From there she quickly locked in a rear naked choke and got the tap.

Lightweight: Keoni Diggs def. Derek Campos by technical submission (rear naked choke), round 3 (4:59).

Former Bellator featherweight Grand Prix quarter finalist, KOTC welterweight champion and 30-fight-veteran Derek Campos came into this one off the back of a submission loss to AJ Mckee. His opponent, Keoni Diggs—a sophmore with Bellator, came into the bout undefeated at 7-0.

Campos and Diggs traded body kicks early on as both looked eager to establish themselves in the center of the cage. Campos succeeded in occupying that territory, but that didn’t stop Diggs landing a number of leg kicks. Diggs also came close on some hard punches to the head, before getting into a clinch with Campos. Diggs was able to score a takedown off that clinch. Against the cage Diggs landed punches on route to getting on Campos’ back. In back mount, Diggs put in both hooks and hunted for a choke. But Campos was able to defend intelligently and was eventually able to spin out of trouble.

In the second Campos went for a takedown early, but Diggs saw it all the way. He brushed it off and challenged Campos to trade in the middle of the cage. Both men threw combos, but Diggs appeared to be landing more often—drawing blood from his opponent.

In the last round Campos had to know he was behind on the score cards. Looking to turn the tide of the fight, he went for the early takedown again. But Diggs was too smart and too strong. He stuffed the attempt and after some clinch work he surged forwards and took Campos down with an outside trip in the middle of the cage.

On the ground Diggs landed effective ground and pound, but Campos was able to spring back up after a heel hook attempt. The fight was back standing only momentarily, though. Diggs was able to quickly grab a hold of Campos’ head and yank him back down to the canvas.

On the ground Diggs was both patient and ruthless as he smoothly got to Campos’ back and pulled off a rear naked choke that put Campos to sleep a second before the final bell rang. With that the Hawaiian improved his record to a perfect 8-0, putting Bellator’s lightweights on notice.

Preliminary Card:

Middleweight: Daniel Madrid def. Pat Casey by split decision (29-28. 30-27, 29-28).

Middleweight: Ty Gwerder def. George Tokkos via TKO (knee), round 3 (1:05).

Heavyweight: Davion Franklin def. Ras Hylton by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).