Julia Budd edges past Arlene Blencowe to retain featherweight title at Bellator 189

Aussie featherweight Arlene Blencowe went five rounds with Bellator champion Julia Budd today however came up short in the end losing a close split points decision to the Canadian standout in the Bellator 189 main event.

MMA Mania has play-by-play of the bout:

Round 1: We start with the tap as both women come to the center. Budd lands a leg kick. They tie up as we pass the one minute mark and Budd gets the thai plum to land some knees. Budd drops levels and Blencowe tries to fight off the takedown. Budd throws knees to soften up the right leg, stomps on the feet, and delivers a knee up the middle. Another knee to the head as Blencowe tries to side step. 2:30 gone. More knees. Herzog may reset this soon unless something happens. Budd clinches for knees but Blencowe tries to push her into the fence. Budd turns her around and returns to a familiar spot — trying to drop levels to put Blencowe down but punishing her either way. I can’t see Herzog letting five rounds go this way. Blencowe pops up and is pushed backward by Budd, who throws a hard elbow at her head. 10-9 Budd.

Round 2: Both women were moving toward the center before the bell even rang to officially start this round. Blencowe tries an overhand right. The tall, lean, muscular Budd responds in kind. Blencowe lands a clean left hook and Budd seems unfazed. Blencowe would definitely like to keep the fighter here and put her natural boxing skill to good use. Budd lands a body kick. Loud leg kick lands for Budd. Blencowe with a right. Budd throws out a left front kick. Blencowe with the right again. Body kick for Budd. Right hand again by Blencowe. Left jab by Blencowe. She’s out striking Budd this round. Budd gets a takedown with 10 seconds left but that should still be a 10-9 round for Blencowe.

Round 3: Leg kick lands for Blencowe. Leg kick connects for Budd. Body punch for Blencowe. They each throw hands at 1:11. Blencowe is landing combos and pressuring Budd toward the outer circle of the cage. Budd works the kicks and Blencowe works the hands. It’s perplexing to me that the champion isn’t being more aggressive. I’m sure Budd respects the power in Blencowe’s hands but she has to do better than a majority decision if she wants to retain her title. Blencowe stuffs the takedown attempt twice and finishes the second with a knee. This is another 10-9 round for “Angerfist” as we head to the championship rounds.

Round 4: The early part of this round looks like the last two until Budd finally clinches up with Blencowe 30 seconds in. Budd puts her against the fence throwing knees and drops levels. Blencowe gets out of harm’s way at 1:48. Blencowe dances in the center and Budd jabs and kicks her way toward her. Blencowe with a combo. Leg kick for Budd. Front left kick misses. Mauro Ranallo busts out his lexicon and calls this fight somnolescent. A largely patient crowd tonight has finally started to boo with a minute left in the fourth. Body shot by Blencowe. Blencowe tries to flurry at the clap of 10 seconds. It’s hard to call either woman the “winner” of that round.

Round 5: Ranallo just channeled PRIDE and called for the referee to hand out a yellow card. Jimmy Smith says you can be killed for a lack of shooting the bullets you have and Budd isn’t firing. They’re both right. The most telling thing about this fight is that Blencowe has held the center and Budd has had to circle on the outside. Budd’s takedown is stuffed at 2:36. Blencowe lands a leg kick. “It’s like a race car (that’s) in first gear” says Smith. Two minutes are left and the boos are getting pretty loud now. Body shots by Blencowe. I’m now fearing that we’ll get a decision like the first Carvalho vs. Manhoef fight. The feeling of it in the air is palpable. 30 seconds left. Leg kick for Blencowe. Budd is on her back foot this whole round. She finally comes forward with 10 seconds left, grabs the clinch, throws a couple of knees and the bell makes them break.

Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith scored it 49-46 to Blencowe but two of the judges saw it different with the official scorecards reading 49-46, 47-48 and 49-46.

The result ended a three-fight winning streak for the 34 year-old Aussie and drops her record to 10-7. Budd, meanwhile, extends her pro record to 11-2 with the victory and successfully defends the title for the first time after claiming it against Marloes Coenen in March.

Today’s clash was a rematch of the pair’s 2016 encounter where Budd took a majority decision from Blencowe.

Bellator 189 took place at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States.


  • Julia Budd def. Arlene Blencowe via Decision (Split) – Women’s Bellator featherweight title
  • Rafael Lovato Jr. def. Chris Honeycutt via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Chidi Njokuani def. Hisaki Kato via Decision (Unanimous)
  • David Rickels def. Adam Piccolotti via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Cris Williams def. Thomas Lopez via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 1, 1:39
  • Sam Sicilia def. Marcos Galvao via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Juliana Velasquez def. Na Liang via Submission (Armbar), Rd 2, 0:32
  • Brandon Phillips def. Jordan Howard via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Mandel Nallo def. Alec Williams via KO (Head-Kick), Rd 1, 0:18
  • Gaston Bolanos def. Rick Gutierrez via KO (Spinning Elbow), Rd 1, 1:13

Arlene Blencowe defeats Sinead Kavanagh in Bellator return