Bellator MMA, one of the three largest MMA promotions based in North America, is set for massive weekend in Hawaii that will get underway on Friday with Bellator 294. The show will emanate from the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu and feature a main event rematch for the women’s flyweight championship between incumbent champion Liz Carmouche and DeAnna Bennett.
Bellator 294 will be broadcast live on Showtime in the United States with the main card set to get underway at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Fight fans with a Showtime subscription can also catch the event live on the Showtime app or website. The prelims will begin at 8:25 p.m. ET / 5:25 p.m. PT and are set to be broadcast on the Bellator MMA YouTube channel.
Women’s Flyweight Championship – Carmouche vs. Bennett
Friday’s main event will see Bennett, a former champion in her own right, and is seeking to dethrone Carmouche and reclaim her title. Carmouche, 39, came to Bellator fresh off of challenging former UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and has been wildly successful since making the move. She won her first five fights in the promotion and owns finishes in four of her wins, including two against former champion Julianna Velasquez. Carmouche weaponized her top game against Velasquez in the first fight by forcing a stoppage from the crucifix position. The win ironically came nearly one year to the day in the same building in which she will be defending her title on Friday night. She rematched Velasquez at the end of the year and finished more emphatically than before with a second-round armbar.
Bennett, 38, finds herself in a similar career position to Carmouche and could be looking at her last show at a major championship. She spent the majority of her career competing for Invicta FC where she got off to a 7-0 start as a professional before dropping three in a row. She attempted to break into the UFC as a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 26, but came up short in the flyweight tournament and went back to Invicta, trading wins and losses before landing in Bellator. Despite succumbing to a third round finish against Carmouche in the Bellator debuts of both fighters, Bennett has since won three in a row and scored consecutive wins against veteran Justine Kish.
The odds will be stacked against Philadelphia’s Bennett, who can be bet on most sportsbooks at a +400 price tag.
Rest of the Card
Veteran heavyweight Timothy Johnson will meet Said Sowma in the co-main event. Both fighters will be looking to right the ship coming off consecutive losses, though Johnson’s recent defeats have come against the likes of former Bellator champion Valentin Moldavsky, Fedor Emilianenko and Linton Vassell, who could have a title shot coming his way in the not-so-distant future.
Longtime UFC mainstay Sara McMann will be making her Bellator debut at 145 pounds when she meet Arlene Blencowe. McMann, 42, has alternated wins and losses but ended her UFC career on a high note when she defeated Karol Rosa by way of unanimous decision. Bantamweight contender Danny Sabatello, who pushed bantamweight champion Raufeon Stots in the Bantamweight Grand Prix, is looking to regain some momentum when he takes on Brazil’s Marcos Breno. Breno, who won his Bellator debut, carries plenty of power in his hands having finished more than half his wins by way of knockout. Levan Chokheli rounds out the main card against Michael Lombardo at 170 pounds. Both men previously fell on the sword of wrestler Kyle Crutchmer but enter Friday’s main card opener coming off wins.
An exciting lightweight tilt between Killys Mota and Kenneth Cross headlines the prelims. Cross stopped the hype of Bolivia’s Kevin Syler on Dana White’s Contender Series and hasn’t looked back, eventually landing a deal with Bellator. Mota, 32, is not without his own momentum either, having won back-to-back fights in the Bellator cage. Heavyweight Tyrell Fortune will look to retain prospect status against dangerous Russian Sergey Bilostenniy, and Cris Lencioni will meet Blake Smith at 145 pounds. A middleweight bout between Anthony Adams and Sharaf Davlatmurodov will open the prelims.
As always, Friday’s card is subject to change, so stick with MMA Sucka for up-to-the-minute results and updates for Bellator 294.
Bellator 294 Results
Liz Carmouche def. DeAnna Bennett via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 4:29 of Round 4
Timothy Johnson def. Said Sowma via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sara McMann def. Arlene Blencowe via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Danny Sabatello def. Marcos Breno via Submission (RNC) at 4:10 of Round 2
Levan Chokheli def. Michael Lombardo via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Killys Mota def. Kenneth Cross via Submission (RNC) at 2:14 of Round 2
Tyrell Fortune def. Sergey Bilostenniy via DQ (illegal elbows) at 3:26 of Round 2
Cris Lencioni def. Blake Smith via Submission (Inverted Triangle) at 3:39 of Round 2
Sharaf Davlatmurodov def. Anthony Adams via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)