Bellator 279 provided some great highlights, including an all-out war in the rematch between Cris Cyborg and Arlene Blencowe. The featherweight champion went the distance for the first time under the Bellator banner, but retained after five rounds.
Raufeon Stots was crowned interim bantamweight champion after melting Juan Archuleta with a nasty knee in the third round of their fight that also doubled as a quarterfinal for the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix.
Check out how the rest of the fights at Bellator 279 played out below.
Main Card results:
Cris Cyborg def. Arlene Blencowe via unanimous decision (49-45 x3)
Cyborg dominated Blencowe from the start of the fight. The featherweight champion was getting the better of her opponent in most of the exchanges, even flooring Blencowe with one hell of a right hand. When Cyborg went in to follow up with ground-and-pound, ‘Angerfist’ turned into the fence. Cyborg decided to get a hold of her back and look for a rear-naked choke (the submission she finished the first fight against Blencowe with). Instead of pursuing it further, she uncorked a knee to a then-grounded Blencowe. Referee Jason Herzog paused the action over the foul and, before the fight resumed, deducted a point from Cyborg. The Brazilian got another takedown and appeared to go for an arm-triangle but ultimately finished the round with a few punches and high kicks.
The second round began, and Cyborg was brutalizing the lead leg of Blencowe. The Australian would return with a few right hands, but Cyborg was more effective with kicks up the middle.
Cyborg and Blencowe were bloodied after back-and-forth action by the third round. Cyborg continued to attack the lead leg, and Blencowe would counter. A left hand from Blencowe appeared to get Cyborg’s attention and caught her off-balance, but she quickly shook it off and delivered a one-two combination in response.
The final rounds saw Cyborg outstrike Blencowe, but the title challenger was game. She even taunted Cyborg to stand and trade with her in the remaining seconds of the fight. In the end, Cyborg retained the featherweight championship via unanimous decision.
Raufeon Stots def. Juan Archuleta via KO (knee and elbows) at 0:16 of Round 3
Archuleta went for it at the beginning of the first round, throwing some heavy shots at Stots. The Roufusport product was more than happy to return with his own shots and even pushed Archuleta to the ground for a brief moment. Archuleta attempted a double-leg but was denied by Stots. He went for it again, this time securing it and getting Stots down up against the cage. Stots returned to his feet and got a takedown in the final seconds.
Archuleta continued to try and wrestle Stots, but ‘Supa’ was privy to all of his attempts and defended. Most of the second round was spent jockeying for position against the fence, with both men targeting the body with punches and knees.
Just as soon as the third round started, it was over. Stots caught an advancing Archuleta with a perfectly timed left kick that sent ‘The Spaniard’ to the canvas. Stots followed with a series of hellacious elbows before the referee stopped the fight at the 0:16 mark. After a review of the replay, it was actually a knee that led to the fight-ending sequence. Stots not only earned the interim bantamweight championship, but also advanced to the semifinals of the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix.
" " ! @RaufeonStots becomes the first person to KO @jarchmma, claiming the Interim-Bantamweight Championship and advancing to the #BellatorBWGP Semi-finals.#Bellator279 is LIVE on @SHOsports. pic.twitter.com/FcM8aVOdEQ— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) April 24, 2022
Justine Kish vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
The first round between Macfarlane and Kish was fairly tepid. Macfarlane pushed Kish up against the fence, but her opponent reversed it before she could do anything with the position. They briefly hit the ground, but a scramble saw Macfarlane and Kish return to their feet and exchange a few strikes. Macfarlane went for a single-leg, but Kish knew it was coming and defended. Another exchange occurred and the horn signifying the end of the round sounded.
Macfarlane moved forward again but was met with a low kick by Kish. Now off-balance, Kish rushed in for a guillotine choke and went to work from top position. Macfarlane fought out of it and attempted a submission of her own, a kneebar. Kish escaped, got another takedown after tripping Macfarlane up near the cage, and controlled her for the better part of the second round. Macfarlane got up and found a home for some right hands.
Macfarlane was implored by her corner to do something to seal the third and final round. No significant strikes were being thrown between her and Kish, but that changed as soon as Macfarlane landed the biggest shot of the fight with a right hand that dropped Kish. She went in for the finish, but Kish was wise and avoided what was to come. Both women trade submission attempts, a buggy choke for Macfarlane and an omoplata for Kish, but neither could secure the submissions. Macfarlane ended the fight on the back of Kish, but it was not enough. After three rounds, the former flyweight champion had her homecoming spoiled as Kish earned the unanimous decision.
Patchy Mix def. Kyoji Horiguchi via unanimous decision (48-47 x3)
Mix closed the distance on Horiguchi and wasted no time securing a rear-naked choke that had the American Top Team product in serious trouble within the first minute or so of the opening round. Horiguchi defended well, but Mix kept his composure and looked for another opportunity to apply the RNC. He eventually got one, but Horiguchi fought it off again.
Horiguchi stayed on the outside and moved around the cage throughout the second round, engaging with Mix only to deliver a punch or kick. Mix would return fire with some counters whenever he could cut Horiguchi off, but those moments were scarce. The third round was much of the same, but Mix was able to get Horiguchi to the ground again and get some solid work done until the bell rang.
The fourth round was better for Horiguchi, who returned to his stick and move approach. Now headed into the fifth round, the fight was likely 2-2, and Mix ensured he left the Bellator cage with a win. He forced Horiguchi to the ground again, nearly getting another RNC. That did not happen as Horiguchi fought the hands and spun into the guard of Mix. Mix attempted a guillotine, but scrapped it after he realized he could not secure it.
Mix was declared the winner via unanimous decision, which means he advances to the semifinals of the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix.
Yancy Medeiros def. Emmanuel Sanchez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Medeiros fought in Hawaii for the first time in over a decade and delivered quite a performance in his promotional debut against Sanchez. The 34-year-old had a few shining moments, nearly submitting and stunning his opponent early, but ‘El Matador’ stayed in the fight. Medeiros swept the judges’ scorecards, earning a unanimous decision over the Bellator veteran.
Preliminary Card results:
Goiti Yamauchi def. Levan Chokheli via submission (armbar) at 3:49 of Round 1
Bobby King def. Keoni Diggs via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Dayana Silva def. Janay Harding via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Justin Gonzales def. Kai Kamaka via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Lance Gibson Jr. def. Nainoa Dung via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)