UFC Fortaleza Results: Mara Romero Borella Earns Split Decision Over Talia Santos

Mara Romero Borella UFC 240
Mara Romero Borella Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

After two grinding rounds to open their flyweight battle, the third round opened up, and Mara Romero Borella took home a split decision against Brazil’s Talia Santos.

Despite a mind-boggling suspension by an Italian anti-doping body, Mara Romero Borella was back in action at UFC Fortaleza on Saturday night. The 26-year suspension had her banned until 2044, after a drug trafficking investigation landed 31 suspects, many who took plea deals including jail time. However, with the suspension not carrying across to the UFC or athletic commissions outside Italy, Borella remains eligible to continue her MMA career internationally.

That saw her go up against Taila Santos in Fortaleza, Brazil. The pair went right to work in their flyweight preliminary card battle. A clinch against the fence saw Santos in control and landing knees briefly. The takedown came shortly after, and though flirting with mount she instead took the back. Borella climbed back up with Santos hanging off her, and the Brazilian slipped an arm under the chin. However, she couldn’t stay on the back of Borella, who created enough space to escape. Top control for Borella would come later in the round, as she worked from her opponent’s half guard. Once there, she threw in a couple of elbows from the top.

Santos, however, moved back to guard, and threatened with a potential triangle or arm-bar, forcing Borella to back off.

The grappling game was in play once again early in round two. This time, it was Borella driving her opponent into the fence early, as Santos answered with short punches to the body. Santos would eventually reverse, but the bulk of the first three minutes of the second was spent there. In the final minute, with a bit of space between them in the open, Santos would land a kick to the body, but soon enough, Borella pushed her into the cage again.

Round three saw a little more action in the open, with Borella and Santos finding enough space to finally get to work on the feet. Santos was the busier fighter, putting together combinations and backing Borella up. Borella was firing the odd counter and circling away as they hit the midway point of the final frame. The remainder of the bout played out that way, and while one judge saw it for Santos, Borella’s early control allowed her to walk away with the win.

Mara Romero Borella def. Talia Santos by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)