Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bellator 31 recap: Megumi Fujii & Zoila Frausto win

In the first women's 115-pound tournament semifinal bout of the evening, Zoila Frausto squeaked out a controversial split-decision victory over Jessica Aguilar to advance to the finals.

Early concerns about Frausto's tough weight cut proved unneeded as the Team Jorge Gurgel product stayed light on her feet and, in fact, almost entirely on her bicycle. (Frausto missed weight by four-tenths of a pound on her first attempt and came in at an acceptable 116 pounds on the second try.)

Aguilar spent the majority of the fight chasing down her opponent, though she bucked expectations that she would use her grappling abilities to take the fight where she had a paper advantage. Instead, she jammed in on Frausto and played the striking game.

What transpired largely was a point sparring affair, with no more than three strikes thrown per exchange. It appeared, though, that Aguilar landed a greater number of clean punches while avoiding Frausto's bombs.

As the fight wore on, Aguilar began to time Frausto's constant circling and sneak through a straight right hand that scored consistently. Frausto, meanwhile, played the hit-and-run attack and landed several stinging leg kicks, though she never managed to rock the American Top Team fighter with punches.

In the fight's final frame, Aguilar turned up the pace and chased an increasingly tired Frausto with strikes. A right-hand left-hook combination caused the most damage to Frausto, who began to bleed out of her nose. Running low on options, Frausto dove twice for takedowns and nearly walked into a picture-perfect guillotine as the fight came to a close.

It appeared to be a clear-cut victory for Aguilar, who earned her semifinal berth with a submission victory over Lynn Alvarez. But in a bizarre tally, two judges gave the contest to Frausto (8-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) with 30-27 scores. The other dissented completely and awarded Aguilar a 30-27 mark. Aguilar (9-4 MMA, 1-1 BFC) was stunned, and the audience vocalized its displeasure.

In the other women's semifinal, undefeated sensation Megumi Fujii left no doubt in Lisa Ward's mind that she is the superior submission fighter.

Ward claimed she never tapped to an armbar Fujii applied in their first meeting more than three years ago in the now-defunct BodogFIGHT promotion.

This time, she most certainly tapped. Fujii (22-0 MMA, 3-0 BFC) starched her with a flurry of punches, got the takedown, and gained mount within two minutes. A first armbar attempt was blocked by the cage, but the second gave Ward (14-6 MMA, 2-1 BFC) no choice but to submit.

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