Bellator 279 ‘Cyborg vs. Blencowe 2’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring
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Bellator Interim Bantamweight Title Bout:
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Nainoa Dung (155.4) vs. Lance Gibson Jr. (155.6)
Round 1The first fight at Bellator 279 features undefeated lightweight prospect Gibson, Jr., facing native Hawaiian Dung. The referee is Frank Trigg. They touch gloves and set up in mirrored stances, Gibson in southpaw and Dung in orthodox. Both men land leg kicks in the opening seconds. Sixty seconds in, play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo has already dropped references to deceased rapper Nipsey Hussle and hair metal kings Motley Crue. Dung tags the onrushing Gibson with a sharp left hand that buckles his knees, then follows up with a right hand and a glancing flying knee. Gibson manages to clinch and recover his wits. Halfway into the round, Gibson uses a nice trip to dump Dung to the canvas, looks briefly for a crucifix, and then advances to side control. Gibson is landing short elbows and hammerfists, hopping from one side of the supine Dung to the other. With a minute left, Dung regains half guard. Gibson settles in and lands more ground-and-pound, then retakes side control. He switches sides and lands some more punches before the bell. Dominant round of ground work after getting rocked early. 10-9 Gibson.
Round 2Gibson grabs a single-leg immediately. Dung shows good balance, hopping on his left foot for a moment, before Gibson hoists the right leg and forces him down. Gibson passes almost immediately to mount, but Dung sticks him back in half guard near the base of the fence. Gibson passes to mount again and postures up, throwing heavy punches with both hands. Dung regains half guard once again, and Gibson starts raining down punches and elbows. Dung uses half butterfly guard and wrist control to try and stem the onslaught, but he is doing little more than survive. At the 2:30 mark, Gibson is on top, with Dung using butterfly guard to try and push him off. Gibson passes to side control, heavy on Dung’s chest and throwing short shoulder strikes. Gibson passes to full mount again and throws a couple elbows. Dung explodes up and scrambles back to his feet, but Gibson quickly hustles him back down with a front headlock. Under 30 seconds left, Gibson is back in side control, throwing leather. Dung is cut near the right eye and bleeding heavily as the round expires. Another big round on the ground for the Canadian. 10-8 Gibson.
Round 3The cageside doctor has a close look before the final frame, but sends Dung back out to see if he can turn things around. Gibson takes Dung down immediately and takes side control at the base of the cage. Gibson looks for a crucifix, then switches sides and appears to be working for an arm-triangle choke. Dung escapes, but Gibson retakes mount and hits him with heavy hammerfists. Dung is offering nothing as Gibson postures up and throws punches. Dung turns, Gibson takes the back and begins working for a choke, and then Dung spins and reverses position, ending up in Gibson’s guard. Dung moves to Gibson’s back, but Gibson shakes him off and escapes out the back. The crowd comes alive at the signs of life from the hometown fighter, but Gibson retakes top position and lands in Dung’s half guard. With under a minute left, Gibson is grinding short elbows and forearm strikes into the face of the exhausted Hawaiian. The clock expires on a fight that was more one-sided than the scores might indicate. 10-9 Gibson (30-26 Gibson).
The Official ResultLance Gibson, Jr. def. Nainoa Dung via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)
Justin Gonzales (145.6) vs. Kai Kamaka III (145)
Round 1At a word from referee Chris West, the featherweights touch gloves and immediately start throwing. Both men are in orthodox stance. Kamaka lands a hand one-two. West comes back with a nice kick, but Kamaka stings him again with an overhand right. Dung’s hands are low, but his left jab is snapping up to connect with Gonzales’ face at will. Gonzales lands a couple of sharp jabs of his own. Kamaka lands a left kick to the body after eating another hard jab. Gonzales lands an inside leg kick, then steps in and lands a lead left. With 30 seconds left, neither man has truly taken control of the action. Gonzales shoots for a single-leg, seconds before the horn sounds on a tense, close round. 10-9 Kamaka.
Round 2Gonzales lands a front kick to the breadbasket, then drops levels for a takedown attempt, but Kamaka shoves him off and resets. Kamaka bounces around the center of the cage, snapping out his jab. Kamaka’s left hand is still ultra-low, actually resting on his left knee at times. Kamaka slips Gonzales’ jab and comes back with a one-two. Gonzales stalks forward as Kamaka gives ground and looks to counter. Kamaka lands a hard outside leg kick. Gonzales enters, looks for a takedown and ends up with a front headlock. He works from that position for a moment, then gives it up. With two minutes left, Gonzales shoots in again and takes Kamaka’s back near the fence. Kamaka shucks him off, but Gonzales gets the position again a moment later. Kamaka once again shakes him over the top and escapes. Gonzales practically somersaults away. The round ends with the two men on the feet. Another razor-close five minutes. 10-9 Kamaka.
Round 3The third round begins with Kamaka and Gonzales exchanging single strikes in the center of the cage. Kamaka lands a high kick that slaps off of Gonzales’ guard. Gonzales shoots a fast single-leg from outside, gets deep on the leg, but Kamaka manages to defend beautifully. Gonzales is aggressive after they break, landing a pair of long jabs. Kamaka counters with a right hook. Gonzales shoots for the single-leg again, but the Hawaiian slips away with ease. Sweat is clearly a factor at this point. Gonzales lands a high kick that sends Kamaka staggering away, more off-balance than hurt. The round is half gone, and both featherweights seem to feel a sense of urgency. Kamaka comes forward with a nice jab to the body. Gonzales tries another single-leg, and when Kamaka slips away, follows up with a body kick. A minute and a half left in the fight and Gonzales lands a stiff jab to the head. Kamaka comes back with a jab of his own to the body. Gonzales lands a left kick to the body, then a right cross a few moments later. The final bell sounds, and almost no scorecard would surprise me. I have the round 10-9 Gonzales, the fight 29-28 Kamaka.
The Official ResultJustin Gonzales def. Kai Kamaka III via Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Janay Harding (146) vs. Dayana Silva (145.6)
Round 1In a division where almost every fight is a potential title eliminator, the featherweight women set up with Mike Beltran overseeing. Harding bounces around the outside, throwing out a couple of jabs, seeming to measure her significant reach advantage. Harding lands a karate-style side kick to the body, then slips the punch that comes back. Harding with a teep up the middle. Silva lands a jab as Harding bounces in, but takes an outside leg kick for her trouble. Halfway through the round, Harding switches stances before throwing a kick. Silva catches the foot and shoves Harding to the ground at the base of the cage. She jumps in to throw ground strikes, but Harding is already popping back to her feet. Ninety seconds left and Silva is coming forward with more urgency, working to navigate the reach and footwork of Harding. Silva lands a sharp left hand, catches a kick from Harding and is working for a takedown when the time expires. 10-9 Silva.
Round 2The second round opens with Silva once again forcing the issue on the feet. Silva lands a lead left, then a right cross. She drops for another takedown and brings Harding to the mat, but Harding once again scrambles back to her feet instantly. Harding’s kicking game has all but dried up in the first half of this round, compared to Round 1. Silva steps forward and inside of a Harding high kick. Harding lands a nice jab, then slips the counter from Silva. Three and a half minutes gone, and the volume of strikes from both women has slowed considerably. Silva misses with a huge sweeping right hook, but lands a short left a moment later. Silva rushes Harding to the fence and lands a flurry of punches, most of which bounce off of Harding’s arms. Harding looks for a takedown briefly, but there’s nothing there. The bell sounds. 10-9 Silva.
Round 3Silva throws an inside leg kick in the opening seconds that briefly sits Harding down, off-balance rather than hurt. Harding clearly feels she needs to do something this round, and is coming forward, but hasn’t yet found her range despite being the visibly larger woman in the cage. Meanwhile, Silva’s left hand has been money all evening. Silva lands another pair of low kicks. Harding feints, then lands a left jab. Harding switches stances and lands a right. Silva whiffs on another big right hand. Less than a minute left in the fight, Silva catches a kick from Harding and looks to trip her to the ground, but Harding shoves her away. Silva drops for a single-leg at the 10-second clapper, but there’s nothing doing. The final bell sounds on a frustrating fight — especially for the Aussie. 10-9 Silva (30-27 Silva)
The Official ResultDayana Silva def. Janay Harding via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Keoni Diggs (156) vs. Bobby King (155.2)
Round 1It’s Hawaiian vs. Hawaiian-by-way-of-Utah, as Diggs and King prepare to scrap, with Dayne Furuta the third man in the cage. King is in orthodox stance, Diggs in southpaw, and the lightweights immediately exchange single hard shots. Diggs stalks King, who misses on a body kick and spins all the way through. King snaps out another kick and Diggs catches the foot, then lets it go. Diggs lands a left hook that makes King shake his head. Halfway through the first round, both men are still warily circling and throwing sporadic strikes. Diggs springs forward with a lead right hook that comes up short. Diggs comes forward with another left, misses again and King returns fire with a pair of punches that hurt visibly. The bell rings on a tense, tentative round. 10-9 King.
Round 2Diggs is the aggressor to open Round 2, marching forward, feinting and throwing his jab and a front kick. King is doing a good job using lateral movement to keep Diggs from bringing his power to bear. A glancing shot to the cup of King gives a momentary pause, but no real break in the action. Diggs lands a hard left hook. King returns fire with a left hook of his own, a few seconds later. At the midway point of the fight, Diggs springs forward and lands a hard body punch. Diggs still coming forward relentlessly, and manages to back King up near the cage, at which point he comes forward with a flurry of punches. Nothing lands hard, but King is forced to skip away. King lands a long front kick to the torso. Diggs grabs a single-leg just seconds before the bell sounds on another tentative five minutes of action. 10-9 King.
Round 3Both men throw hard punches that miss the mark. King comes forward and is met with a teep to the midsection. King continues to press the action, walking Diggs down and throwing his jab. Diggs returns serve with his own jab and a couple of low kicks. Diggs lands a jab and left cross. King is showing some wear under the left eye. Under half the round left and it’s still anyone’s round. Diggs comes forward and it’s King using the front kick to push him back. King stings Diggs with a pair of left looks, followed by a glancing high kick. Diggs tries a spinning back elbow that misses, causing him to nearly slip. Diggs lands a low kick. King steps in at the clapper and lands a lead left. They stand and trade in the waning seconds, but it’s King with the final flurry. 10-9 King (30-27 King).
The Official ResultBobby King def. Keoni Diggs via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Levan Chokheli (169.6) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (170.6)
Round 1Jason Herzog draws his first refereeing assignment of the evening as the welterweights touch gloves. Chokheli throws a right high kick right away, which lands on Yamauchi’s guard. Yamauchi drops for a takedown and drives the Georgian to the cage. Chokheli seems to be defending well with a wide-leg and underhooks, but Yamauchi adjusts, picks him up and dumps him to the canvas. Yamauchi sets up in Chokheli’s full guard and goes to work. Yamauchi grinds his left elbow into Chokheli’s face, looking to create an opening. He sees one, posturing up, then passing to side control on Chokheli’s left. Yamauchi locks up a kimura, transitions to an armbar, but Chokheli manages to extract his arm. Chokheli ends up in top positions, but Yamauchi immediately isolates Chokheli’s right arm for another armbar. Chokheli is trying to tap even before the Brazilian goes belly-down, and Herzog jumps in for the rescue. Dominant work on the ground by Bellator’s all-time leader in submissions.
The Official ResultGoiti Yamauchi def. Levan Chokheli R1 3:49 via Submission (Armbar)
Yancy Medeiros (155.4) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (155.4)
Round 1The main card opens up with local boy Medeiros welcoming former featherweight contender Sanchez to the lightweight division. Mike Beltran will be the third man in the cage. They high-five before setting up in matching orthodox stances. Medeiros lands a couple of jabs, Sanchez an outside low kick. Medeiros throws a glancing body kick. Sanchez drops for a takedown and runs Medeiros to the fence. Medeiros defends well, then grabs a front headlock. Medeiros takes Sanchez’s back and the partisan crowd explodes. Sanchez reverses the position and they return to the feet. Sanchez comes forward and lands a two-punch combination. With a minute left, they’re in the center of the cage, exchanging. Medeiros’ jab has swollen and bloodied Sanchez’s right eye. Sanchez explodes forward at the 10-second clapper, landing a flurry of mostly glancing punches, and throwing a spinning back kick that comes up short. The round ends. 10-9 Medeiros.
Round 2Sanchez comes right forward and lands a hard right on the retreating Medeiros. Medeiros continues to snap out the jab, his most effective weapon so far, and Sanchez answers with one of his own. A minute and a half has elapsed, and both men are getting their fair share of shots in. Sanchez lands an outside leg kick, followed immediately by an inside kick to the same left leg of the Hawaiian. Medeiros lands a left hook to the body that hurts Sanchez visibly. Sanchez answers with a combo upstairs, and Medeiros hits him with another left to the body. As the clock enters the final minute, Medeiros stings Sanchez with several unanswered jabs. Sanchez catches Medeiros off balance and shoves him down, continuing to pursue the takedown as Medeiros springs back up. They clinch against the cage. They separate and reset. At the 10-second clapper, Medeiros catches Sanchez in the middle of a spinning attack with something that leaves him staggering away. Medeiros gives chase, but the bell rings before he can do more damage. 10-9 Medeiros.
Round 3The final round opens with Sanchez coming forward, throwing hard punches. He lands a right that backs Medeiros up. Medeiros continues to touch Sanchez with his left jab. Sanchez lands an outside kick to Medeiros’ left leg. Sanchez drops for a single-leg and runs him into the cage, but Medeiros defends and shoves him off. Sanchez lands a left hook as they separate, then rushes back in and forces a clinch against the fence. Sanchez throws a couple of knee strikes and foot stomps, but isn’t looking for the takedown. A moment later he does, dropping levels, but Medeiros spins to his back and drags him down. Sanchez spins around to face Medeiros and they return to their feet. A minute left, they two men are still clinched against the cage. Sanchez shoves off and throws a flurry. Medeiros returns fire. By common consent, they grin and march to the middle of the cage, where they brawl it out until the final bell, to the delight of the Honolulu crowd. A fun fight, with three very competitive rounds. Scores could be all over the place, but mine is 10-9 Medeiros (30-27 Medeiros).
The Official ResultYancy Medeiros def. Emmanuel Sanchez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Kyoji Horiguchi (134.2) vs. Patrick Mix (135)
Round 1The Bellator bantamweight grand prix kicks off with former Bellator and Rizin champ Horiguchi facing red-hot rising contender Mix, with Chris West overseeing. Mix comes forward to kick things off, as both men exchange kicks and punches from orthodox stance. Horiguchi looks absolutely dwarfed by the American. Mix steps in and slides right by Horiguchi to take his back standing, then hops on and applies a body triangle. Mix locks on a rear-naked choke as they fall to the canvas. Horiguchi looks to be in all kinds of trouble — and he is — but Mix’s arm isn’t quite under the chin, and Horiguchi manages to fight off the choke. Three minutes are elapsed, and Mix still has the former champ in a body triangle from back mount. Mix tries for another rear-naked choke, but Horiguchi fights it off once again. “Patchy” boxes Horiguchi’s ears with a couple of punches from both sides, then goes back to work for a choke. Horiguchi is surviving, and tries to throw a couple of punches over his shoulder, but the bell sounds to finish a thoroughly one-sided five minutes of action. 10-8 Mix.
Round 2The second round opens with Mix in southpaw, Horiguchi bounding around the outside, darting in and out with single punches and kicks. Mix backs Horiguchi up with long kicks up the middle. Horiguchi switches stances, looking to find an angle for entry into the pocket. He lands a nice right to the body, followed by a left upstairs. Horiguchi hops into range and lands an overhand right. Mix isn’t throwing much back, but with one minute left he springs forward with a punch combination. The bell rings on a good round for Horiguchi, but if my math is right, probably not good enough. 10-9 Horiguchi.
Round 3The third round begins much the same as the second, with Horiguchi using constant movement to try and navigate Mix’s massive reach advantage. Mix throws a left kick that falls short. Horiguchi darts in and lands a one-two, and Mix’s counter barely grazes him on his way back out. Horiguchi throws a leg kick, then counters Mix’s return kick with a left hook. Near the midway point of the round, Mix drops levels and hauls Horiguchi to the canvas. Horiguchi turns his back to try and stand, and Mix takes control, sinking in his hooks, then transitioning to a body triangle. He works to get an arm under Horiguchi’s chin, but the Japanese star is wise to it. Horiguchi looks to spin into Mix’s guard, but Mix denies him. With 30 seconds left, Horiguchi escapes the body triangle and manages to spin, landing in Mix’s guard. The round expires. 10-9 Mix.
Round 4Horiguchi comes forward with a couple of punches that miss, and a high kick that slaps off of Mix’s forearm. Mix stalks the shorter man, reaching out with his right jab and some low kicks. Horiguchi lands an inside leg kick, followed by a one-two to the head. They exchange low kicks, with Mix landing first, but Horiguchi answers with one that takes Mix’s feet out from under him for a second. He pops right back up and they resume their dance. Ninety seconds left, and the speed and movement of Horiguchi are giving Mix fits. Mix flicks out a question-mark kick that comes up short. Horiguchi is bleeding from the outside edge of his left eye. The bell sounds. 10-9 Horiguchi.
Round 5The bantamweights touch hands to begin the final round, and Mix rushes in immediately to grab Horiguchi. He uses a body lock to force Horiguchi to the ground near the base of the fence, and once again is able to take Horiguchi’s back nearly instantly. Still standing, Mix locks up a body triangle and fishes for the neck, while Horiguchi elbows Mix’s thigh and fights the hands off. A minute and a half into the round, Horiguchi tries to fight off the body triangle with his hands, but Mix maintains the hold and they finally fall to the canvas. Horiguchi spins into Mix’s guard and the crowd erupts. Mix grabs a guillotine choke, flips over to a mounted version, then bails out and takes side control. Horiguchi scoots to the fence and tries to stand, using a whizzer. Mix punches the head. Horiguchi drops his hips and looks for an inside switch, but can’t secure it, and ends up seated against the fence with Mix on his hips. The bell sounds, and "Patchy" should be headed to the next round of the tournament. 10-9 Mix (48-46 Mix).
The Official ResultPatrick Mix def. Kyoji Horiguchi via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Justine Kish (125.2) vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (126)
Round 1After a serious spectacle walkout for former champ Macfarlane, she and Kish go to work under the watchful eye of referee Frank Trigg. Macfarlane charges immediately and shoves Kish into the fence. Kish reverses the position and they hit the canvas. Neither woman secures a real takedown, and after a momentary scramble they pop back up. Macfarlane has a front headlock, but lets it go before anything develops out of it. Two minutes in, they flyweights are exchanging single strikes at range in the center of the cage. Kish feinting heavily, but neither woman is throwing much in the way of actual punches and kicks. Macfarlane reaches for a single-leg from outside, but Kish defends easily. Macfarlane lands a decent right hand. Kish lands a left, and Macfarlane counters with another right. The bell sounds on a very nervous-looking first round. 10-9 Macfarlane.
Round 2Macfarlane comes forward with punches, but the first significant strike of the round is a low kick from Kish that takes the former champ’s feet out from under her. She gets back up but Kish meets her, and grabs a guillotine in the ensuing collision. Kish takes top position and works for the choke, but Macfarlane pops her head out. They scramble again and Macfarlane has a kneebar. Kish escapes, spins around and sprawls on Macfarlane. They return to their feet, then clinch against the fence. Kish pulls Macfarlane away from the fence with a nice trip, landing in Macfarlane’s guard. Macfarlane controls Kish’s posture with her arms, but Kish manages to separate and drop some heavy punches from above. Under a minute left, Kish is still in Macfarlane’s guard. Macfarlane uses butterfly hooks to kick Kish off her. They exchange on the feet, with Macfarlane landing a couple of right hands and Kish socking her back with the left. The round ends. 10-9 Kish.
Round 3Macfarlane’s corner tells her between rounds that she needs this one, and I agree. She comes forward to open the round, but Kish meets her with her jab and a pair of low kicks. Macfarlane walks Kish down, but neither woman is throwing any appreciable volume. Macfarlane lands a right hand that half knocks, half shoves Kish down. She gives chase, but Kish lands on top in the ensuing exchange. Kish moves to side control and looks for a crucifix. Macfarlane looks for a buggy choke, but the angle is wrong and she can’t come close to finishing it. Kish moves to Macfarlane’s back, then attempts an armbar. Macfarlane escapes, but Kish switches to an omoplata. Macfarlane escapes again, moving to top position, but there isn’t time to do anything with it before the bell sounds. A wild round to cap off what had been an otherwise tentative fight. 10-9 Kish (29-28 Kish).
The Official ResultJustine Kish def. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Bellator Interim Bantamweight Title Bout:
Archuleta (134.6) vs. Raufeon
Round 1The interim bantamweight title will be decided in the next 25 minutes or less, with veteran referee Mike Beltran in charge of keeping things nice and clean. Archuleta and Stots waste no time in swinging away on one another, with both men getting hard shots in. Stots tosses Archuleta to the ground, then lets him pop back up. A moment later, Archuleta shoots a double-leg and elevates Stots, but Stots lands on his feet and ends up taking top position for a moment. Archuleta re-shoots and finally secures a takedown at the base of the cage. Archuleta rides Stots’ hips, but the Roufusport star is able to get back to his feet. They clinch against the cage, with Archuleta driving his man into the fence, throwing foot stomps and looking to change levels for another takedown. Stots turns and squares his shoulders as Archuleta grabs a single-leg. Stots counters deftly, and they separate with a minute left in the round. Archuleta comes forward with a glancing one-two. Stots shoots a double-leg takedown of his own, plowing “The Spaniard” to the ground in the middle of the cage and taking his back in a flash. The bell sounds. 10-9 Archuleta.
Round 2The second round opens with Stots landing a clean southpaw left hand to the jaw of Archuleta. Archuleta drops for a takedown, but Stots shoves him away. Stots lands a kick to the body, Archuleta comes back with a punch to the body. Archuleta comes in behind a punch to try for a takedown, and runs his man to the fence. Stots defends with an overhook while Archuleta throws knees and foot stomps. They separate with just over two minutes elapsed in the round, and Archuleta comes in with more body punches. Stots times Archuleta’s entry and drops levels for a takedown, but Archuleta keeps his feet under him and uses an overhook to stay upright. They end up on the fence again, with Archuleta applying the pressure to keep the action there. Stots uses a whizzer to deny Archuleta’s takedown, while trying to throw knee strikes to the gut. Archuleta grabs a single-leg, but Stots continues to defend capably. The round ends. 10-9 Archuleta.
Round 3Archuleta comes forward with a pair of punches to the body. Stots gives ground, then catches Archuleta coming in with a left head kick that appears at first to glance, but then in a delayed reaction, absolutely melts him. Stots pounces and jackhammers Archuleta's head with a trio of elbows as Beltran dives in. Replay shows that what looked at first like a grazing kick was in fact a completely flush knee that separated the former champ from his senses in a flash. Sensational knockout for the winner — and your new interim bantamweight champion — “Supa” Stots.
The Official ResultRaufeon Stots def. Juan Archuleta R3 0:16 via Knockout (Head Kick and Elbows)
Bellator Women's Featherweight Title Bout: Cris Cyborg (144) vs. Arlene Blencowe (144.6)
Round 1“Cris Cyborg” and “Angerfist” take to the cage for the main event, with Blencowe eager to show that her one-sided loss to Justino 20 months ago was a fluke, or at least that she has improved since then. Jason Herzog is the referee. The featherweights reach out with jabs, both in orthodox stance. The initial exchanges are cautious, but Justino begins sitting down on her right cross, one of which lands and backs the challenger off. “Cyborg” lands a leg kick, followed by a flurry of punches. She throws a grazing punch up the middle, then grabs the clinch and shoves Blencowe to the fence. Blencowe reverses the position, disengages, and ducks under a murderous hook from Justino on her way out. Justino lands a high kick. Blencowe answers with a clean punch upstairs, then clinches. “Cyborg” shucks her off, lands a glancing head kick and then a straight right that sits the Australian down. The champ pounces, throwing punches and looking for the finish. Blencowe turns her back and Justino jumps on, looking for a repeat of her rear-naked choke win in their first meeting. Blencowe goes to all fours and Justino lands a knee to the grounded challenger – glancing but clearly illegal. Referee Herzog stops the action immediately, and after ascertaining that Blencowe wishes to continue, deducts a point before restarting the action with a minute left. “Cyborg” immediately tosses Blencowe back to the ground. They spring back up, and the champ shells the challenger with punches and high kicks until the end of the round. 9-9 Justino.
Round 2“Cyborg” comes out firing hard kicks to the inside and outside of Blencowe’s lead left leg. Blencowe counters with a right cross that lands. Justino lands a hard kick up the middle, then a right high kick that lands on Blencowe’s guard. Blencowe returns fire with a right hand. Justino continues working on Blencowe’s leg, punctuated by another high kick. “Cyborg” drops levels and runs Blencowe to the fence, where she throws knees to the belly. Ninety seconds left, and they separate. Blencowe returns to the center of the cage, where she answers a one-two with a nice counter right. “Cyborg” throws another front kick up the middle, then another one up top. The champ throws a long punch combination that comes up short, but the kick on the end lands. The bell sounds. 10-9 Justino.
Round 3Blencowe is sporting a deep cut over the left eye as they come out for Round 3, a souvenir of the champ’s elbow work late in the previous round. “Cyborg” throws a left high kick, followed by a right low kick. Blencowe’s left leg is bright red and swollen, but she is hanging in there, game as ever in the pocket with the champ. Justino lands a kick up the middle, followed by another outside leg kick. Blencowe rushes forward behind a double jab, but the champ gives ground. Blencowe lands a left hand that puts the champ down for an instant, but she pops right back up grinning. “Cyborg” lands a hard one-two and slips the counter. Blencowe’s cut, stanched between rounds, is leaking badly once again. Justino throws a right hook that goes around Blencowe’s guard to score. Blencowe is still coming forward, throwing her strikes, but the artillery going back her way is simply much, much heavier. 10-9 Justino.
Round 4The championship rounds open with an inside low kick from Justino. Blencowe comes forward and lands a jab. Blencowe answers a one-two with a clean right cross, then another one, which has the champ stumbling backward, off balance. “Cyborg” lands a pair of punches, then is knocked off-balance again by the counter. Justino grabs a body lock, steps around the side and elevates Blencowe for a slam. Justino lands some punches from a ride position, then takes side control. The challenger tries to buck her off and escape, but ends up in north-south position, then side control once again. Ninety seconds left in the round and Justino works to pin down Blencowe’s near arm with her knee. Blencowe escapes to her feet and they resume striking. “Cyborg” snaps Blencowe’s head back with a hard jab. A few seconds later, the bell sounds. 10-9 Justino.
Round 5Between rounds, a truly heroic cutman has once again stemmed the flow from Blencowe’s battered mug, and “Angerfist” wastes no time in marching into range and throwing punches at the champ. Justino goes right back to working on Blencowe’s lead leg, then throws a body kick that lands high on the ribs. “Cyborg” with another one-two, then counters Blencowe’s combination with a right hand that makes the challenger stumble backward. Halfway into the final round, the pace has slowed, but it still feels as though Justino is landing two shots for every one coming back, to say nothing of the power differential. Blencowe opens up, throwing some big, wide hooks, but “Cyborg” slips them easily and returns fire with her disciplined jab. With under a minute left, Blencowe motions the champ into the center of the cage and they begin slinging leather, to the delight of the crowd. The final bell rings, marking the end of a gritty performance by the challenger and another one-sided drubbing by the champ. 10-9 Justino (49-45 Justino).
The Official ResultCristiane Justino def. Arlene Blencowe via Unanimous Decision (49-45, 49-45, 49-45)
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