Jessica Aguilar (left) took a split decision over Carla Esparza. | Photo: Keith Mills


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Bellator bills its undercard headliners as “local main events,” and that's exactly what American Top Team bantamweight Jessica Aguilar offered the Bellator 46 crowd at the Seminole Hard Rock Live, earning a split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29) over fellow former Bellator tournament entrant Carla Esparza.

Aguilar was the aggressor throughout the bout, chasing down Esparza, who circled the cage in pursuit of low kicks. Aguilar dictated the first round with clean right hands that snapped Esparza's head back and in the second round, was even able to get the talented wrestler on the mat, as if to simply show off her well-roundedness.

Early in the second frame, Aguilar showed off the lesser-known elements to her game, getting double underhooks and slamming the talented wrestler to the mat. However, from there, Esparza rallied as she started to land effective low kicks and was able to show off her own takedown skills, punctuating the frame with a headlock hip throw that put her in side control.

K. Mills


Aguilar (left) edged Esparza.

It seemed like the Team Oyama product might be stealing the fight from the local favorite, as a short counter right put Aguilar on the deck early in round three. Esparza looked to pounce, but couldn't find any follow-up offense.

From there, the fight belonged to “Jag,” who landed hard low kicks and steady, stern right hands to keep Esparza circling away and on the defensive until the final bell.

“I thought I definitely took the first and the third,” said Aguilar in assessing the fight. “She got me down in round two, but in the first and third I was aggressive and worked my game and landed punches.”

Oddly, Esparza saw the fight in considerably different fashion, despite the fact the second round seemed to be her strongest.

“I thought I maybe lost the second, but won the first and third,” said Esparza. “I didn't take a lot of damage, I feel fine.”

Judges Ric Bays and Barry Luxenberg saw the bout 30-27 for Aguilar, giving her the split decision win, while dissenting judge Hector Gomez saw it 29-28 Esparza. Sherdog.com scored the bout 29-28 for Aguilar.

With the win, Aguilar moved to 11-4, having won six of her last seven fights. The lone loss in that span was her controversial split decision loss to would-be Bellator 115-pound champ Zoila Gurgel. The 23-year-old Esparza fell to 5-2 in her young, 16-month career.

K. Mills


Johnson Jr. (top) outpointed Lewis.

Heavyweight prospect Tony Johnson Jr. upped his MMA mark to 6-1 with a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Derrick Lewis, but earned himself no fans in a one-dimensional display of takedowns.

The 25-year-old Johnson, a former Iowa State Cyclone wrestler, easily got single-legs, double-legs, and scoop slams for 10 minutes. The Miami-based heavyweight easily passed to side control and mount, but continued to lose position.

Lewis gave up his back repeatedly, but the former KOTC heavyweight champion seemed to lack the balance and fitness to secure the dominant position.

Lewis got back into the fight in the third round as the exhausted Johnson dove at his legs, landing heavy hammerfists and punches, but ended up on the ground again before the final bell.

K. Mills


Bezerra (top) choked Jones.

Brazilian transplant Alexandre Bezerra, now based in Elkins Park, Pa., moved his record to 9-1 with a sensational display of offensive grappling against Sam Jones, stealing the local undercard.

The 23-year-old Bezerra quickly put the Miramar, Fla., native on the mat and displayed slick guard passing.

After taking the back briefly, “Popo” took full mount with an arm-triangle choke attempt, abandoning it for a topside triangle that ended the lightweight contest at 3:27 of the first round.

UFC veteran Dan Cramer won his third straight bout, taking three 29-28 scores in a unanimous decision win over Tallahassee, Fla., native Josh Samman.

Samman pushed aggressively for takedowns, but Cramer responded with clinch knees and hip tosses that left his opponent playing guard late in all three rounds.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef Prelims LIVE Stream at 7pm ET on MMAWeekly.com

  • 8 days ago
  • 56 views

Watch the Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef preliminary bouts LIVE STREAM on MMAWeekly.com on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. read news >>

Bellator 155 Results: Rafael Carvalho Inexplicably Retains Middleweight Title in Foul-Filled Main Event

  • 8 days ago
  • 118 views

In a lackluster Bellator 155 main event, middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho retained his title, despite a foul-filled performance. read news >>

Bellator 155 Results: Winners, Scorecards from Carvalho vs. Manhoef Card

  • 8 days ago
  • 77 views

If you like MMA cards with no action and tons of horrible judging, Bellator 155 was the event for you. Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho successfully defended his title via a controversi read news >>

Bellator 155 Fight Highlights Video: Alexis Dufresne Upsets Marloes Coenen

  • 7 days ago
  • 5 views

Check out highlights from Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef, which took place on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. read news >>

Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke Determined to Defend Local Pride at ONE: Kingdom of Champions

  • 3 days ago
  • 7 views

Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke carries the weight of a country and a sport on his shoulders heading into Friday's ONE: Kingdom of Champions in Thailand. read news >>

UFC 199 Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 Media Conference Call Audio: Trash Talking Nirvana

  • 2 days ago
  • 40 views

The headliners of UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 fielded questions from the media on Thursday about the upcoming event during a media conference call. read news >>

Rockhold-Bisping, Cruz-Faber dig deep into rivalries ahead of UFC 199

  • 3 days ago
  • 2 views

The headliners for UFC 199 faced off over the telephone on Thursday, May 26 and it was quite the scene as Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber exchanged uncensored emotions read news >>

With Bellator Contract on the Line, Bobby Brents Sees Right Through Shamrock FC Opponent

  • a day ago
  • 3 views

Bobby Brents isn't looking past Shamrock FC opponent Bubba Grant, but he sees right through him with an eye on a Bellator contract. read news >>

Bubba Grant Staring Down a Breakout Year with Bellator Deal at Stake

  • a day ago
  • 2 views

Bubba Grant never gets too far ahead of himself, but winning a Shamrock FC belt and a Bellator contract could provide him with a breakout year. read news >>

Three New Bouts Complete Bellator 156: Galvao vs. Dantas 2 Fight Card

  • 17 hours ago
  • 1 views

Three contests have been added to Bellator 156: Galvao vs. Dantas 2 on June 17 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, completing the fight card. read news >>