The final Bellator event of season 2 took place in Louisville, Kentucky. The venue was Fourth Street Live. It is an outdoor venue that looks much like a covered outdoor mall. The temperature is 84 degrees Fahrenheit with 50% humidity. The first fight on the televised portion of the card is the match between Zoila Frausto and Rosi Sexton. Zoila fights out of Fresno, California and weight 120. Rosi weighed in at 121 and fights out of Manchester, England.
Round one begins with both ladies circling testing for range. They shadow box. Rosi is the aggressor but gets caught twice in brief exchanges. Zoila attempts a leg kick that Rosi catches. Rosi is unable to take Zoila down. They exchange lefts. Zoila is backing and catches Rosi with a huge left knee. Rosi eats three rights before the referee jumps in to intervene. The end comes at 2 minutes even.
I was able to talk to Zoila after the fight. She was surprised that she was able to evade Rosi so easily. She hoped that her upset victory would get her into the tournament. Obviously as Bjorn Rebney alluded we might see her get in because of medical suspensions. She said her game plan was end the fight. “I figured to move, move, more and do what I do best”, said Zoila. She trained to be elusive and avoid the ground game that would have meant “a pretty long night” for her. She had talked about cutting being fairly easy to 120 via Facebook. She wouldn’t mind vindicating her sister’s loss to Lisa Ward if she does get into the 115 tournament. “Definitely”, she replied, “Yeah, who wouldn’t if it’s your brother or sister?” She didn’t feel pressure coming into the fight. She described it as a win-win. “Everybody is expecting me to lose. What do I have to lose I am going in there and having fun. That’s exactly what I did.” I questioned where she thought this would put her in the rankings. She hoped it would put her near number 1. She stated, “I figure if you beat the number 1 girl; that makes you number 1.”
I also got to talk to Rosi Sexton. She was visibly disappointed. She gave lots of credit to Zoila. “She fought well and implemented her game plan”, she said describing the outcome. “Obviously I would like to do that again if the fight came around”, she said and seemed unbroken. She is willing to fight anyone in the tournament and has no preference on who is in front of her. “Any fighter in the tournament will make a great match. They are all very talented and I think they are all exciting fighters in their own way.”
I was able to ask Bjorn if Tara LaRosa might get some fights against natural 125ers after the tournament. He called her a talented fighter but went on to describe another tournament for next season. The season 4 tournament’s focus will be to find the 115 challenger for the season 3 win. Lisa Marie Varon and Terri Blair were in the audience. I asked him about their presence. He neither confirmed nor denied any solid plans to sign either fighter. He went on to talk about not signing people because of their image. Instead Bellator wants to sign people who are going to deliver authentic challenges and “avoid putting people in for the wrong reasons.” He described the “women’s competition being at the elite level” and compared their elite ability to that of their male counterparts. He isn’t surprised at the attention received by female mixed martial arts. He hopes that the tournament will make more of the general public say “WHOA” and that they will see what people who recognize what the more hardcore MMA fan already sees.