Bellator MMA crowned their inaugural women’s featherweight champion in the Bellator 174 main event in Thackerville, Oklahoma on Friday. Women’s fighting veteran Marloes Coenen took on Julia Budd in the title fight, and Budd walked away with the belt.
Coenen, a former Strikeforce bantamweight champion, was the smaller of the two athletes. Each round Budd took Coenen down early and maintained top control for the duration of the frame. In the opening round, Coenen threatened with a triangle-choke attempt, but couldn’t finish the submission.
As the fight played out, Budd’s ground game became more and more aggressive. In the opening frame, she wasn’t able to inflict much damage. At the end of the second round, her corner was telling her that she could finish the fight at any moment. That moment came midway through the fourth round.
Budd secured an takedown from the clinch position and landed in side control. This time, Coenen couldn’t work back to full guard. Budd advanced to the mount and reigned down punches and elbows until referee “Big” John McCarthy was forced to step in and stop the action.
“I don’t think anything has felt as good as this,” said Budd following the title win. “I got the finish. I really wanted to finish her. I said I was going to do it, and I made a point to do it.”
The loss was the first time in Coenen’s 17 year career that she suffered back-to-back losses. Following the fight, she announced her retirement.
“I would like to announce that this was my last fight. I retire,” she said. “I would like to thank Scott Coker. You were the first promoter that recognized that women are a force to be reckoned with.”
Bellator 174: Coenen vs. Budd Full Results:
Julia Budd def. Marloes Coenen by TKO (punches) at 2:42, R4
Fernando Gonzalez def. Brandon Girtz by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-26)
Justin Wren def. Roman Pizzolato by submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:35, R1
Rafael Lovato Jr. def. Charles Hackmann by TKO (knees and punches) at 0:13, R1
Emmanuel Rivera def. Treston Thomison by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Cody Pfister def. Jonathan Gary by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:04, R1
Emily Ducote def. Katy Collins by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:53, R1
Gabrielle Holloway def. Alexis Dufresne by TKO (punches) at 2:53, R2
Justin Patterson def. Jason Witt by by TKO (punches) at 0:13, R3