Julia Budd started slow, but by the third round was in the driver’s seat, and overwhelmed Talita Nogueira in a third round TKO in the Bellator 202 main event.
Bellator 202 marked the first of back-to-back events for Bellator MMA over the weekend. Going down in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the main event saw Canada’s Julia Budd defending her featherweight title against Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Talita Nogueira. Budd had won nine straight heading into the night, with her last loss coming to none other than now-UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey.
Challenger Nogueira, meanwhile, was perfect across seven professional fights. She opened the action with a front kick once they were underway, and followed with another. Budd stayed active on the outside, light on her feet. She finally connected with a couple of leg kicks near the midway point of the round, but to that point, there hadn’t been much offense from the champ. She then caught a kick from Nogueira, picked her up, and slammed her down. A big takedown for the champion, but she was wandering into Nogueira’s world. Budd launched elbows to the body, and trapped Nogueira’s arm, allowing her to score some damage as the round wore down. Budd would finish the round in control.
The second round opened with the first half playing out on the feet. Budd used her strength advantage to bully Nogueira, getting the better of the Brazilian in grappling exchanges. The round, outside of some early kicks, was all about control until the final minute, when Budd forced Nogueira down off a knee and began unleashing some nasty ground n’ pound, landing elbows and heavy punches.
Ooo that got to hurt. 😬
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) July 14, 2018
Nogueira launched a kick to the body with a little pep on it to start round three, with Budd answering back with a leg kick. She then drove the challenger into the cage, and landed a knee to the midsection. Nogueira then went down in a key error in a grappling exchange, either in a slip or failed throw. She wound up on her back, and while Budd was initially hesitant, she eventually followed to the ground, working to pass guard. Nogueira would reach for a leg, and Budd would pull free then wade back into the Brazilian’s guard. Budd again backed off, and Nogueira was allowed up by the ref. That put the fight right back in Julia Budd’s wheelhouse. Almost immediately, she went on the attack, and launched a right leg kick, then a big right overhand off the kick. That punch dropped Talita Nogueira, and Budd moved in, pinning Nogueira along the fence as she unloaded blow after blow. They were powerful shots, and Nogueira was done well before the ref waved it off.
Saying she “had to stay patient” early in the fight, Budd never doubted she’d score the finish. As for who’s next, the Canadian singled out Sinead Kavanagh as a fighter she’s interested in.
Julia Budd def. Talita Nogueira by TKO, Round 3, 4:07 – retains Bellator women’s featherweight world championship