Liz Carmouche finally claimed a world title, but the win was steeped in controversy.
Flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez was giving Carmouche all she could handle for the better part of twenty minutes at Bellator 278 in Honolulu on Friday night. Or at least, she was until late in the fourth round when Carmouche secured a takedown and advanced to the top crucifix position, where the UFC veteran began to drop short elbows on the champion’s face.
Though the blows did not appear to be seriously damaging, referee Mike Beltran jumped in once he deemed that Velasquez was unable to escape the position, stopping the bout at 4:47 of the fourth round.
Velasquez immediately protested the stoppage, and according to many in the MMA world, she had good reason to. See what Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull and others in the MMA world had to say about the controversial main event below.
Juliana Velasquez was up 30-27 on two scorecards before that Mike Beltran stoppage. #Bellator278 https://t.co/kviWgS56Sc— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) April 23, 2022
Crazy stoppage omg #Bellator278— Thiago Moisés (@ThiagoMoisesMMA) April 23, 2022
HORRIBLE STOPPAGE https://t.co/prb1yXQlwM— Georgi Karakhanyan (@georgimma) April 23, 2022
Mike Beltran should never be allowed to referee a fight again! First he took away my title and now he takes away Juliana's title. He should be held accountable! @BellatorMMA #Bellator278— Patricio Pitbull (@PatricioPitbull) April 23, 2022
Liz Carmouche @iamgirlrilla became the Bellator champ— Diana Belbiță (@DianaBelbita) April 23, 2022
Happy for @iamgirlrilla on becoming the new @BellatorMMA Flyweight World Champion.— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) April 23, 2022
Even sweeter she won the title during our Fight for the Troops event! #Bellator278 pic.twitter.com/TQLgr9rUT3
Not a great stoppage. Not a bad stoppage #Bellator278— José Youngs (@JoseYoungs) April 23, 2022
girl stoppage.— E. Casey Leydon (@ekc) April 23, 2022
I can't wait for the conspiracy theories about former Marine Mike Beltran stopping that fight early for former Marine Liz Carmouche, because it is coming.— Jed Meshew II (@JedKMeshew) April 23, 2022
This should not have been stopped. That being said, Velasquez did not do herself any favors by adopting the "This doesn't really hurt so I'm just gonna wait it out for 10 more seconds" strategy. https://t.co/Vc6lmp31Ez— Jed Meshew II (@JedKMeshew) April 23, 2022