Leah McCourt entered Bellator 285 in Dublin, Ireland on Friday looking to shake off the second loss of her pro career.
Paired up with Dayana Silva, McCourt would go the distance, looking sharp in the first, but encountering considerably more resistance later in the bout.
A low kick from McCourt was thrown early, but it was a high kick moments later, just grazing Dayana Silva, that caught her attention. Through the opening minute, McCourt’s kicks and movements were key, keeping Silva outside. When they came together in a clinch, McCourt hit the mark with a combination; Silva was stymied on a takedown attempt, and instead found McCourt closing the distance on her about two minutes in.
The second half of the stanza was heavy on clinch work — but McCourt would put her stamp on the round with a takedown in the final ten seconds.
More smart footwork and in-and-out movement from McCourt were in evidence early in the second. Her right hand was there for her, as was a left hook that caught Silva on the side of the head. Silva would attempt to catch a kick, to no avail. A level change didn’t help her out either, and on the feet, McCourt appeared just too mobile for her. That said, a couple of left hands did get through for Silva in the second, and McCourt was soon showing some damage by one eye and backpedaling in the second half of the frame.
All in all, round two was a much closer contest, making things rather interesting heading to the third.
Round three found McCourt leaking blood by one eye, and sporting swelling along the other. Silva appeared reinvigorated, going on the attack and firing a high kick. She was still unable to get McCourt down, instead firing a wild left hook then fighting off a McCourt takedown attempt. Again Silva looked to change levels, again McCourt easily shook her off. Silva then fired a kick to the inside leg, with McCourt then pressing forward. Silva attempted another caught kick, only for McCourt to stay upright and shoot in herself. Silva defended that, and the wrestling appeared to be at a stalemate.
With 90 seconds left in the fight, McCourt went on the attack, landing a jab, firing a knee in the clinch, and fending off a takedown. McCourt added another knee with her back to the fence, shot a takedown that was stuffed, and followed it up with a knee to the body once more. Both women would have been well-served to ditch the takedown attempts, which had gone nowhere since the opening round. But Silva tried one last time regardless, eating a few clubbing blows from McCourt for her efforts.
Official Result: Leah McCourt def. Dayana Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)