Bellator 206 Results: Keri Melendez Edges By Newcomer Dakota Zimmerman

Keri Melendez
Keri Melendez Credit: Bellator MMA

What appeared to be a showcase for Keri Melendez’s talents at Bellator 206 turned out to be a much closer contest than expected, with newcomer Dakota Zimmerman putting in a valiant effort, though she’d eventually come up just short.

Women’s strawweight Keri Melendez was back in action at Bellator 206 in San Jose, taking on newcomer Dakota Zimmerman. Melendez, wife of former Strikeforce lightweight champ and UFC star Gilbert Melendez, was looking to improve to 3-0 with a win. Having won her first two fights under the Bellator banner, Melendez was still green, but had a ton of potential in a 115lb division that was underdeveloped in Bellator.

The action took place live at the SAP Center in San Jose, streaming on DAZN, Bellator’s first event as part of a multi-year agreement with the streaming service.

Melendez had her kicks going early, attacking the legs, then going high with a switch kick. She soon had Zimmerman, who was making her professional debut, to the ground, and moved to half-guard. Melendez hoisted her opponent up and slammed her down as Zimmerman held on, pretty much for dear life. Melendez seemed to be in full control, untll Zimmerman caught her in a triangle! Melendez couldn’t escape it, and wound up giving up her arm to break free, with Zimmerman wrenching on the limb as seconds wore down in the round.

Round two opened with Zimmerman throwing punches in order to force a clinch and possible takedown. She ate a knee from Melendez on the way in, however, and wound up stymied by the solid takedown defense of Keri Melendez. Zimmerman finally opted to pull guard, but couldn’t bring Melendez down. Melendez scored a heavy knee in the clinch, but Zimmerman was right back on her, grinding her into the fence. After a reversal, Melendez landed another big knee, but she was unable to create space, and Zimmerman then tried to pull guard once more with a minute remaining in the frame. Once again, it failed to have the desired result, and Melendez then landed eight or so standing knees in the clinch.

The third round saw Zimmerman put Keri Melendez on her back just ninety seconds or so into the round, but Melendez was able to reverse, and do some damage from the top, in a kneeling position. An elbow connected for Melendez, and soon she was back up, which forced Zimmerman up as well. Melendez got her hands going, but ultimately, most of the remainder of the round would be a clinching affair. Going to the scorecards, it was Melendez edging out the decision, just barely.

Keri Melendez def. Dakota Zimmerman by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)