Canadian standout Julia “The Jewel” Budd made history when she scored her biggest career win tonight at Bellator 174 in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Budd stopped MMA pioneer Marloes “Rumina” Coenen in the main event to become the inaugural Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion.
Budd and Coenen were initially slated to meet in late 2014 after both signed with Bellator, but injuries repeatedly delayed plans for the much-anticipated showdown. Tonight, Budd dominated the action on the ground until she was able to finish Coenen with relentless ground and pound in round four.
Budd (10-2-0) closed the distance and took Coenen (23-8-0) down against the cage in the opening minute. She threw occasional strikes from the top and avoided a Coenen guillotine choke attempt, but Coenen switched to a triangle choke and Budd countered with short elbows. Coenen kept her trapped in a loose triangle until the bell and she appeared to edge out the close round from her back.
Early in round two, Budd took Coenen back down and she quickly moved to North-South position. Coenen tried to scramble up and Budd briefly trapped her in a Brabo choke. Coenen pulled her head out, but Budd kept her pinned down against the base of the cage and she was more active with hammerfists and elbows that in the first round.
The fight returned to the mat in round three after Budd took Coenen down, but little transpired and the fighters were eventually stood up by referee John McCarthy. Budd wasted no time in taking Coenen back down and this time she locked on an arm-triangle choke from side control. Coenen gave up her back in a scramble and Budd threw elbows to her temples. She postured up in the final ten seconds and landed a series of punches to Coenen’s body and head.
Budd immediately slammed Coenen down to the canvas in the fourth round and she moved straight to mount. Coenen covered up as Budd rained down punches and elbows from the top, but she offered no offence in return. Budd continued to drop punches and elbows as Coenen used her arms to block as many of the strikes as possible. After a final barrage of punches, the bout was finally stopped.
Tonight’s title victory was a big one for Budd, who has now won eight straight fights since her loss to “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey in late 2011. Budd also holds a key victory over current UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie. Following her defeat tonight, 16-year veteran Coenen announced her retirement from mixed martial arts.
Winner: Julia Budd by TKO (Punches) at 2:42 of round four. She improves to 10-2-0 and becomes the inaugural Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion.
(Photo Credit: Bellator)