Mackenzie Stiller didn’t blink in her pro debut.
The 23-year-old strawweight opened Friday’s Bellator 293 card in impressive fashion with a dominant performance over Maria Henderson — the wife of MMA legend Benson Henderson — that was capped off by a textbook armbar submission.
Watch highlights of Stiller’s impressive pro start here.
Big start from @mack_judo against Maria Henderson.#Bellator293 | @MonsterEnergy Prelims fueled by REBEL. pic.twitter.com/x8wwcl1Seq— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) March 31, 2023
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) March 31, 2023
An impressive professional MMA debut for @mack_judo, defeating Maria Henderson!#Bellator293 | @MonsterEnergy Prelims fueled by REBEL. pic.twitter.com/EZ0vNOAeg5
It didn’t take long for Stiller to assert herself on the ground in Round 1 as she deftly avoided Henderson submission attempts while scoring with well-timed ground-and-pound. Henderson quickly found herself on the defensive with Stiller attacking from mount and from back mount.
With Stiller firing in hard punches, Henderson attempted to roll out of trouble, but Stiller stayed on target and shifted her focus to Henderson’s arm. Soon enough, Stiller had the limb straightened, forcing Henderson to tap.
The official time of the stoppage was 3:17 of Round 1.
This was Henderson’s first pro fight for Bellator. She falls to 1-1 as a pro after winning by first-round submission at a Legacy Fighting Alliance event last July.