Having picked up the first win of her UFC career last time out, Romanian strawweight Diana Belbita — fighting out of Ontario, Canada — looked to make it two in a row against Brazil’s Gloria de Paula.
A winner on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020, de Paula had gone 0-2 to start her UFC run, and had her back against the wall as she sought out her first win in the promotion.
The pair met in the middle off the opening bell, trading. Slowly but surely, Belbita’s volume had de Paula backing up. Belbita mixed things up, going to the body, then following up over the top. The Brazilian answered with her jab, but again, volume was the difference early, Belbita seemingly throwing three strikes for every one from de Paula. Which may have been a motivating factor in de Paula clinching, driving Belbita into the fence.
Despite a good long time spent in control, however, de Paula could not get the fight down. Instead, Belbita escaped out, and they went back to center, with de Paula working her jab, and Belbita working over the body more. To close out the round, de Paula chased another takedown in the clinch, but couldn’t land it.
Belbita opened the second round landing a couple of leg kicks, working over the body further, and firing a few combos up top. de Paula answered back with her jab, and had more power behind her shots. She’d drive Belbita back to the fence again, but as was the case in the first, she struggled to get the fight down. Belbita reversed, and they’d turn, back and forth, until Belbita broke away, firing an elbow off the break.
Some trading in the pocket followed; Belbita added a push kick, and came over the top with a couple of right hands. The guard of de Paula was tight, however, and she took Belbita back to the cage again, where the pair traded knees. Lots of knees, in fact. This time, they’d nearly hit the floor, and de Paula would land a solid knee on the way up. The pair traded head kicks in the final minute, with both blocking them.
Diana Belbita showed a great sprawl early in the third round when de Paula shot for an early double leg. They went back to trading on the feet, but an accidental eye poke by Belbita halted the action. Back underway, they picked up the pace — impressive given the entire bout had been fairly brisk. A key takedown was landed by de Paula, but Belbita was right back up to her feet. She’d wind up stuck in the clinch with de Paula however, with the Brazilian earning some control time as they exchanged knees. In the final minute, they’d move back to center, throwing hands (and feet) to the final bell.
In the end, it came down to the grappling and head strikes for de Paula, versus the body work and volume of Belbita — with the Brazilian getting the win on the scorecards.
Official Result: Gloria de Paula def. Diana Belbita by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)