While she did not get the knockout victory that she was looking for, Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto advanced to the semi-finals of the Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament with a convincing decision win tonight. She defeated Jessica Pene at Bellator 25 in a first-round tournament bout.
Frausto was successful in keeping the fight standing for nearly the entire duration and her size and strength advantages were evident. Having cut weight to compete at 135 pounds in the past, tonight’s fight was Frausto’s debut in the 115-pound division. She will compete again in September.
Frausto (8-1-0) scored with quick punches and a kick early on before Pene clinched. She backed Frausto up to the cage and landed knees, but it was Frausto who attempted a trip takedown. Pene defended and more short knee strikes were exchanged. Frausto reversed the clinch and the fighters separated. Frausto landed a leg kick and Pene tried unsuccessfully for a takedown. A brief clinch followed and Frausto just missed with a wild overhand right. More kicks landed for Frausto and she continued to control the striking exchanges. Pene tried for another takedown and pulled guard, then attempted a heel hook late in the round. Frausto escaped before the bell. 10-9 Frausto.
Frausto pushed forward with a punching combination in round two, but missed. She did not miss with a hard leg kick and a left hook, however, but Pene countered well with a body kick. Pene scored with a left hook and shot in for a takedown. Frausto stayed on her feet and the fighters battled for position against the cage. Short strikes were exchanged and Frausto backed away. She threw a one-two and Pene clinched again. The fighters separated briefly, but Pene landed a combination and clinched for a third time. She pulled guard, but Frausto used the opportunity to tee off with punches from the top, taking the round in the process. 10-9 Frausto.
The final round began with jabs from Frausto and both fighters landed kicks, though Frausto’s seemed to be much more powerful. Pene punched her way into a clinch and Frausto reversed against the cage. Pene tried for a double-leg takedown and met with no success. The fighters separated and Pene began to get more aggressive as she walked Frausto down. Pene landed a quick combination and attempted a head kick, but Frausto blocked it. Pene clinched and landed knees, and the fighters exchanged knees to the thigh. Pene tried for a takedown and Frausto stuffed it. The fighters traded kicks and Frausto shrugged off a takedown late in the round. 10-9 Frausto.
Winner: Zoila Frausto by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. She improves to 8-1-0 and advances on in the Bellator 115-Pound Women’s Tournament.
While all three rounds were competitive – particularly the final round – Frausto was a step ahead of Pene throughout and used her size and strength advantage to easily defend takedown attempts. She commented after the fight that she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her performance and that the cut down to 115 had been difficult. Frausto previously cut over ten pounds to make 135 for fights as recently as this March. She will face Jessica “Jag” Aguilar in the tournament semi-finals, which are expected to take place at Bellator 29 on September 16th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Photo Credit: Casper Munoz)