The inaugural Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament kicked off tonight at Bellator 24 in Hollywood, Florida and the first two semi-finalists are now known. Women’s pound-for-pound queen Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii submitted late replacement Carla Esparza, while Jessica “Jag” Aguilar defeated Lynn “Lights Out” Alvarez.
Esparza showed off impressive wrestling skills in her bout with Fujii, but ultimately succumbed to an armbar in round two. Alvarez gamely fought off a series of submissions from Aguilar, but fell victim to an arm-triangle choke.
Fujii (21-0-0) landed body kicks early on against Esparza (3-1-0), who took the fight on just four days’ notice, and both fighters connected with punches in an exchange. Fujii attempted two takedowns and Esparza impressively stuffed both. More punches were exchanged and Fujii clinched, but Esparza quickly broke free. Fujii clinched again and dropped down for a heel hook. She transitioned into a toe hold, but Esparza escaped. Fujii threw knees from the top until the fighters were stood up. She countered a takedown with a beautiful rolling Kimura just before the bell. 10-9 Fujii.
Esparza connected with a one-two to begin the second round and Fujii clinched against the cage. She rolled for a kneebar and Esparza escaped. Effortlessly, Fujii transitioned into a far-side armbar and Esparza had nowhere to go. She quickly tapped out, giving Fujii a very impressive victory.
Winner: Megumi Fujii by Submission (Armbar) at 0:57 of round two. She improves to 21-0-0 and advances on in the Bellator 115-Pound Women’s Tournament.
Alvarez (5-2-0) landed punching combinations and quick jabs early on, but Aguilar (9-3-0) scored a trip takedown. She moved to half-guard and then side-control, and tried for an arm-triangle choke. Alvarez defended and regained guard in a scramble. Aguilar secured a second arm-triangle choke and moved to side-control, but Alvarez spun free. She attempted a triangle choke from her back, but Aguilar used the opportunity to pass guard. She locked on a third arm-triangle choke and moved to side-control once more. This time, Alvarez could not escape and was forced to submit.
Winner: Jessica Aguilar by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 4:01 of round one. She improves to 9-3-0 and advances on in the Bellator 115-Pound Women’s Tournament.
With the victories, Fujii and Aguilar both move on to the second round of the tournament. Aguilar will face the winner of next week’s Bellator 25 fight between Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto and Jessica Pene. Fujii will take on the victor of the Bellator 26 bout between Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly and Lisa Ward.