There must be something that agrees with Julia Budd at the WinStar World Casino and Resort because every time she fights there she gets her hand raised.
On Friday night at Bellator 202 in Thackerville, Okla., Budd put her featherweight title on the line, against undefeated challenger, Talita Nogueira, and had one of the best performances of her career, dominating the former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion en route to a third-round TKO stoppage.
Budd (12-2) got the better of Nogueira (7-1) in every facet of the game, battering the BJJ player on the feet in each round before taking her down and pummeling Nogueira on the floor. “Treta” was never able to get anything going off of her back and eventually succumbed to the onslaught of punches. The win moved Budd to 6-0 inside the Bellator cage and cemented her position as one of the very best female featherweights on the planet.
In the co-main event of the evening, Michael McDonald, returning from a serious hand injury, showed out, knocking out Eduardo Dantas in under a minute with a short right hand and follow up punches.
But what should have been a moment of triumph for “Mayday” quickly went downhill as the bantamweight contender said in his post-fight interview that he broke his other hand during the fight and would have to consider hanging up the gloves as his body continues to break down on him. Things were even worse for Dantas (20-6) who appeared to either fracture or severely dislocate his ankle when he was dropped by McDonald (19-4) and collapsed on top of himself.
Elsewhere on the card, Chris Honeycutt rebounded from his loss to Rafael Lovato Jr. by taking on another BJJ world champion, Leo Leite. The two-time NCAA Division I All-American was able to avoid the judo and grappling prowess of Leite (10-2), dominating the standup and control the grappling exchanges but for a brief moment in the first round when Leite was able to take the back. In the end, Honeycutt (11-2) dominated, winning the bout 30-25 on all three judge’s scorecards and getting himself right back in the middleweight mix.
In the main card opener, Valentin Moldavsky (8-1) stopped Ernest James (1-1) to move to 2-0 inside the Bellator cage. In a lackluster affair, the Rizin veteran proved to be a better all around fighter than the former Edinboro wrestler, keeping the fight on the feet and bloodying James up before finally landing heavy shots in the second to put the fight away.
See the full Bellator 202 results here.