Long considered to be among the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, Fujii was defeated by relative unknown Zoila Frausto at Bellator 34 Thursday night, putting an end to the Japanese submission specialist's undefeated record.
Frausto earned a split decision over Fujii to win the promotion's inaugural women's 115-pound title. In the evening's main event, middleweight champion Hector Lombard retained his belt, defeating Alexander Shlemenko by unanimous decision at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Frausto’s win comes on the heels of an underwhelming performance against Jessica Aguilar at Bellator 31, as Frausto advanced to Thursday's tournament final with a contentious split decision victory. “The Warrior Princess” has tasted defeat only once, losing to Miesha Tate earlier this year. Fujii, who advanced to the final by submitting Lisa Ward, was intent on standing with Frausto, a strategy that backfired.
In the first round, both fighters circled the cage to test each other. The heavy favorite to win, Fujii, who is trained by former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett, took the initiative in the early going and connecting with a head kick. However, Frausto’s impressive striking kept earning her points. At one point, both females swung with hard punches, connecting simultaneously. With less than a minute left in the bout, Frausto connected with a strong right kick that shook “Mega Megu,” taking her into the cage. The Japanese fighter was game, however, and attempted an unsuccessful takedown as the bell rang.
After several exchanges in the middle rounds, both ladies entered the cage bruised and battered in the final frame. Fujii, always a submission threat, stuck to her roots and went for takedowns. In the clinch, Fujii landed several knees that damaged Frausto’s face. But it wasn’t enough, as Frausto continued to swing hard and eventually captured the title.
As for the main event, it bore no resemblance to the champion's last two fights, in which he ran through Jay Silva and Herbert Goodman in six and 38 seconds, respectively. The Cuban native competed till the last round against Shlemenko to retain his middleweight championship belt.
Shlemenko won Bellator’s season two middleweight tournament to become the number one contender for Lombard’s title. The Russian had enjoyed a winning streak similar to Lombard's, having won 15 of his last 16 contests.
In the first period, Lombard, who defeated Jared Hess last year to become champion, opened up the fight with fierce combinations, rocking his foe. However, Lombard’s victory did not come easily, as the Russian countered with a spinning back fist.
A knock out specialist, Shlemenko refused to quit despite taking heavy hits from Lombard. Promising to win by submission, Lombard sought a rear naked choke in the fourth round, but he couldn't seal the deal. Throughout the match, the Cuban was successful with his takedowns.
Lombard, who seemed gassed, opened the fifth round with a vicious right that rocked Shlemenko, but the Russian fought back with one of many spinning back kicks. With less than a minute left in the fight, both men stood in the clinch with little action. Eventually the referee separated them, and the judges awarded the victory to Lombard.
JP Reese def. Bounmy Somchay -- TKO (Ground-and-Pound) 3:32 R1
Raphael Davis def. Tony Lopez -- Unanimous Decision
Mike Bernhard def. Dragan Tesanovic -- Unanimous Decision
Dan Cramer def. Igor Almeida -- TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) 2:36 R1
Frank Carrillo def. Moyses Gabin -- Unanimous Decision
Ralph Acosta def. Tulio Quintanilla -- Split Decision
John Kelly def. William Kuhn -- Unanimous Decision