Bellator 274: DeAnna Bennett Spoils Debut of Justine Kish

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DeAnna Bennett and Justin Kish, Bellator 274
DeAnna Bennett and Justin Kish, Bellator 274 weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

UFC alum Justine Kish made her promotional debut at Bellator 274 on Saturday, going up against another octagon veteran: DeAnna Bennett.

Bennett, an Ultimate Fighter alum (not to mention Invicta FC), had picked up her first win in the promotion last year, winning a three-round decision against ex-title challenger Alejandra Lara. Kish was moving over from the UFC in hopes of snapping a two-fight skid.

The first round turned out to be a spirited affair. Kish and Bennett circled early, Kish mixing in some body shots and low kicks. Bennett focused more on her boxing; as the round progressed, Kish seemed to open up, mixing in a spinning back fist. Bennett finally got some kicks going around the midway mark of the round, then charged forward to close the distance. Along the fence, Kish reversed, and although Bennett would reverse again, the takedown wasn’t there for her. Instead, they moved back to center, where Kish continued to find success. She’d stuff a Bennett takedown, but DeAnna was not deterred, scooping Kish up and slamming her with authority.

From there, Bennett got to side control, leading to a scramble, but Bennett held top position. She’d finish the round looking to land few ground strikes.

Having finished the first round strong, DeAnna Bennett appeared to have a bit of pep in her step in the second. She continued to rely on her boxing, but added an oblique kick to her arsenal. Kish was showing a bit of damage as the round progressed; Bennett would look to tie things up in pursuit of a takedown about two minutes in, but Kish fended that attempt off.

With just under two minutes remaining in the round, Bennett would get the fight down. She wound up in Kish’s guard, with Kish busy off her back. But Bennett stacked her up, landing hammer fists and elbows as Kish sought an arm-bar that simply wasn’t there.

The third round saw Kish circling, looking to land a spinning back fist more than once. Instead, Bennett bullied her to the fence and dropped for a single leg. She’d get the fight down, and for the bulk of the time remaining, Bennett would be in the driver’s seat on top. She’d drop some ground n’ pound but couldn’t find the finish. On the scorecards, however, there was no question. Bennett played spoiler for Kish’s debut, and picked up the unanimous decision win.

Official Result: DeAnna Bennett def. Justine Kish by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

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