Perhaps the biggest surprise in Juliana Velasquez vs. Alejandra Lara at Bellator 212 came on the scorecards.
Former title challenger Alejandra Lara was back in action Friday night at Bellator 212 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Lara made a big splash against Ilima-Lei Macfarlane earlier this year, but ultimately came up short in her title bid. Now, she was looking to bounce back against the undefeated Juliana Velasquez.
No easy feat.
Velasquez held center early, with Lara on the outside, circling. It was Lara who closed the distance, looking to clinch and get the fight to the ground, but Velasquez fought that off. Lara would attack with leg kicks, but Velasquez would answer with a right hand that caught the former title challenger and forced her to shoot for a takedown. The Colombian appeared to be at a disadvantage in terms of power on the feet; getting the battle to the ground would be key. That wouldn’t come until the end of the round, however, and then only for a moment.
Round two saw Velasquez land on top off a takedown, only for Lara to scramble free. She went back to using her lateral movement along the fence, circling, only to wind up with a kick caught, and eating a solid punch from Velasquez. Lara struggled to find her range, while Juliana Velasquez seemed to connect with ease. A single leg attempt by Lara was then stuffed, with Velasquez instead pushing Lara onto her back. Working from guard, Velasquez looked to score some damage though she would eventually back out of the position, forcing Lara to get back to her feet. Velasquez’s jab was landing, and her left hook was hitting home again and again by the end of the second.
The third played out in similar fashion, with Juliana Velasquez dictating where the fight went. Lara’s only hope seemed to be a submission finish, if she could both get the fight to the ground and take control there. Yet Velasquez had controlled the action, and even on the ground, she seemed dominant. Lara would look for a heel hook in the final two minutes, holding onto the attempt out of sheer desperation. That opened her up to a number of punches to the face from Velasquez.
Ultimately, they’d go the distance — with the biggest surprise being that one judge saw it for Lara.
Juliana Velasquez def. Alejandra Lara by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)