Mads Burnell and Adam Borics knew exactly what was on the line when they faced off at Bellator 276: a featherweight title shot.
Not the next one; that was promised to Patricio Pitbull, who was set to run it back with A.J. McKee shortly. But a future shot, and all the possibilities that came with it.
The pair fought as if they were keenly aware of what hung in the balance come Saturday. Early, they traded low kicks. Borics, not surprisingly, fired off a jump knee. Burnell’s body work was superb, his boxing shining through. He used that, a left hand to the body followed by a shot upstairs, to create an opening for his wrestling, but Borics was able to stuff the attempt.
Borics also opted to work the body, as the stand-up battle continued. A leg kick hit home for Borics, and a knee. He was turning up the heat, mixing up his attacks and forcing Burnell to keep his guard tight and high. A right hand landed for Burnell, however, and he began pressing forward in what was an action-packed, back-and-forth round.
In the second, a leg sweep by Borics got the fight to the ground. But it wouldn’t stay there for long. On the feet, again, Burnell’s boxing looked slick, but Borics arguably had more tricks up his sleeve. His Muay Thai helped find openings, and he’d go back to his patented jumping knee more than once. Burnell continued to work a hook to the body, but a spinning attack caught him — only for the Danish fighter to eat the back fist without issue. A right hand late in the round was a different story, as it knocked down Burnell just seconds before the buzzer.
Burnell had at least recovered enough between rounds to keep going in the third. Borics continued to utilize his Muay Thai, clinching and firing knees. Burnell fired an uppercut, only to be countered with an elbow. Burnell was really digging the body yet again, but Borics seemed to weather it. He’d answer back with leg kicks and a knee, but was showing some swelling by one eye. For his part, Burnell would likely have a shiner the next day as well.
Heading into the championship rounds, Adam Borics appeared to have the edge, but Mads Burnell was still very much in the fight. There was an argument to be made that Burnell had won the third, making it 2-1 after three. In round four, Borics connected with a big knee, which Burnell ate. Another knee up the middle connected with Burnell’s chest. Borics seemed to have slowed a step, however. He nearly caught and dumped Burnell around the two minute mark, and while Burnell stayed upright, he absorbed an uppercut moments later. Elbows from Borics followed, with that varied arsenal a major factor in the fight. Case in point: the Hungarian finished the round with a takedown.
Round five would be another exciting, back and forth round. Borics had the edge at the end of the fight, with his Muay Thai keeping him more active, and his strikes being more accurate overall. Barely any wrestling in the fight as a whole, and a breakneck pace throughout the bulk of the fight. Borics would take the decision on the scorecards — and one can only hope that these two featherweights meet again down the road.
First up for Adam Borics, however, will be the winner of McKee vs. Pitbull 2.
Official Result: Adam Borics def. Mads Burnell by unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 49-46)