Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii and Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto both picked up wins tonight at Bellator 31 to advance to the finals of the Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament. However, they did so in very different fashions. Fujii submitted Lisa Ward in just 99 seconds, while Frausto escaped with a controversial decision win over Jessica “Jag” Aguilar.
Despite circling away throughout the fight and being soundly dominated in the final round, two judges inexplicably gave all three rounds to Frausto, who was battered, bloodied and outstruck by the American Top Team standout.
Frausto (9-1-0), who is no stranger to being on the winning side of contentious Split Decisions, was tentative throughout the fight with Aguilar (9-4-0) and it was Aguilar who repeatedly found a home for her right cross as Frausto backpedalled. Aguilar’s aggression and effective punches evidently weren’t enough, however, as she was arguably robbed of a well-earned decision win.
Aguilar was the aggressor and landed a combination early in the first round, then followed with a nice right hand that sent Frausto off-balance. Jabs were exchanged and both fighters landed right hooks in close. Aguilar clinched against the cage and tried for a takedown, then switched to knees to the body as Frausto defended but offered little offence in return. Frausto eventually broke free of the clinch and landed a leg kick, but Aguilar countered with a right cross. Frausto missed with a pair of flurries and Aguilar landed another leg kick before the bell. A close round, but narrowly 10-9 for Aguilar.
Round two was more of the same and the fighters traded cautious jabs early on. Frausto landed a lead left hook and Aguilar replied with a left hand of her own. Frausto resumed jabbing and kept her distance, despite being thought of by some as the far superior striker. Both missed with punches and Aguilar backed Frausto up with a right cross. She countered a Frausto leg kick with another right cross, but Frausto finally began to open up with kicks to the legs and head. Aguilar remained the aggressor and landed an overhand right and a leg kick. Frausto answered with punch-kick combos and Aguilar scored with a hard right hand. Another close round. 10-9 Frausto, barely.
The final round was all Aguilar right from the start, as she followed up on jabs with a pair of solid right crosses that forced Frausto to backpedal. Aguilar sidestepped a one-two and blocked a head kick, then scored with a leg kick and a pair of crisp punches. A big left hook landed for Aguilar and she countered a front kick with an outside leg kick. Aguilar landed a right cross and another leg kick as Frausto began to bleed from a rapidly swelling lip. Aguilar landed two jabs and another leg kick, then blocked a head kick. Frausto tried for a takedown and was easily stuffed. Aguilar landed a combination and countered a second takedown attempt with a guillotine choke at the bell. 10-9 Aguilar.
Following a lengthy deliberation, the judges’ score totals were read and two somehow gave Frausto the final round in what was clearly a dominant 10-9 performance for Aguilar. Though the first two rounds were close, Aguilar definitely appeared to have done enough to win, while Frausto landed very little throughout the entire fight.
Winner: Zoila Frausto by Split Decision (30-27, 30-27, 27-30) after three rounds. She improves to 9-1-0 and advances to the finals of the Bellator 115-Pound Women’s Tournament.
While their first bout ended in a somewhat controversial fashion, the rematch between Fujii (22-0-0) and Ward (14-6-0) left no doubt in the minds of anyone watching. Showcasing her improved striking skills and impressive ground control, Fujii made short work of Ward with another first-round armbar.
The fighters traded punches early on and both missed the mark, but Fujii connected with a pair of lead right hooks. Ward answered with leg kicks. A third right hook scored for Fujii and Ward backed her up to the cage. Fujii reversed and took Ward down, then moved straight to mount. She landed some big punches from the top and Ward tried to scramble out. Fujii latched onto her arm and transitioned into an armbar, forcing Ward to hastily submit. A very impressive win for Fujii, who becomes only the second mixed martial artist – male or female – to ever begin a pro career with 22 consecutive victories.
Winner: Megumi Fujii by Submission (Armbar) at 1:39 of round one. She improves to 22-0-0 and advances to the finals of the Bellator 115-Pound Women’s Tournament.
Bellator has hyped the possibility of a Fujii vs Frausto final for weeks and it now appears as if they will get their wish. Despite the controversy tonight, Frausto will advance on to face Fujii in the finals of the tournament at Bellator 34 on October 28th in Hollywood, Florida. The winner will become the first Bellator 115-Pound Women’s Champion.
Note: This article was updated to clarify that Fujii is the second fighter to attain 22 straight victories to begin a pro career. Iowa native John Strawn won 30 straight fights against a limited number of fighters in small Iowa events before going 9-12-0, 1 NC in his next 22 fights.