Last night in the main event of Bellator 278, the women’s flyweight title was on the line. Juliana Velasquez (12-1) was looking to defend her title against veteran Liz Carmouche (17-7) who was getting her fourth chance at a world championship.
Throughout Carmouche’s career, she’s made it close to the mountain top. However, she’s never fully climbed up and grabbed the title having gone 0-3 in her three attempts to capture a UFC title. This was her first opportunity to capture gold with Bellator.
Through the first three rounds of the fight, it looked like she was going to come up short once again. Velasquez was controlling the fight and she was really getting the better of the exchanges throughout. After three rounds, she was winning 30-27 on all three judges scorecards at Bellator 278.
In the fourth round, Carmouche was able to secure a dominant position on the ground. She worked her way into a mounted crucifix position in the final minute of the round. With 20 seconds left, she started throwing elbows at Velasquez.
Referee Mike Beltran took a close look and decided to jump in. Velasquez immediately showed frustration in protest while Liz Carmouche was celebrating winning the Bellator flyweight championship.
Fallout of Bellator 278
First and foremost, as someone who has followed and covered the sport for a long time, I’m very happy for Liz Carmouche. It was so great seeing her finally get the championship she had been working so hard for. However, let’s address the elephant in the room.
Was the stoppage at Bellator 278 a good one. The answer to that question is emphatically no. It was a terrible stoppage and I think universally people would agree that Mike Beltran made a mistake in stopping the fight when he did.
Yes, Carmouche was landing good shots. However, none of the shots were doing any real damage to Velasquez and she wasn’t in that position very long. We’ve seen referees let the crucifix position go on for a while before stopping it.
Beltran stopped the fight as if Velasquez was out. The quick trigger on the stoppage is likely going to lead to Bellator booking an immediate rematch. While I’m happy for Carmouche, you have to feel for Velasquez who had control of the fight and saw her title and 0 taken away by a premature stoppage.
The video to the stoppage is below. What do you think?