Bellator 294: Liz Carmouche Submits Extremely Game DeAnna Bennett in Fourth Round

Liz Carmouche, Bellator 294 following win over DeAnna Bennett
Liz Carmouche, Bellator 294 Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA

In the final twenty-four hours leading up to Bellator 294’s main event rematch between Liz Carmouche and DeAnna Bennett, the storyline had changed significantly.

No longer was this simply a rematch between two fighters who had not lost since their first encounter in 2020. With Bennett missing weight on Friday, Carmouche’s women’s flyweight title was no longer on the line, not really. Only Carmouche could walk away with gold, otherwise, the championship would be left vacant.

Perhaps with the weight miss in mind, Carmouche came out hot as the fight kicked off. But it was Bennett who managed to catch a kick early in the opening round, a round that would show that DeAnna came to fight. Carmouche looked to trap the would-be challenger in a triangle, but Bennett weathered that storm, pulling free and sitting down in half-guard. She’d spend the rest of the round there, coming away with a clear lead following the opening five minutes.

Round two saw Carmouche and Bennett spent a little more time on the feet to start. While both ladies would get their licks in, Carmouche may have had a slight edge, especially with her overhand landing. But when the champ shot for a takedown, it was Bennett reversing, and making Carmouche pay. They’d spend some solid time there, then go back to the feet. Carmouche landed several times throughout the round, and mixed in a low sweep kick that drew a gasp from the audience, but it was Bennett chasing and landing another takedown towards the end of the round. A close frame, leading things either tied, or possibly 20-18 Bennett after two.

Bennett continued to stay active on her feet in the third, bouncing and moving in stark contrast to Carmouche’s more measured pace. 90 seconds in, Bennett drove in on the takedown, and after a bit of resistance from the champ, she landed it. Bennett sat on top in half guard, trying to move things away from the fence. Bennett would spend several minutes on top adding in short punches and elbows, likely claiming another frame.

Heading into the championship rounds, the key question was whether Bennett, who wasn’t even eligible to win the title, was pitching a shutout. At worst, she was ahead by two rounds. Early in the fourth, Bennett went in on a takedown, with Carmouche defending with a choke. Carmouche, however, wasn’t in position, and wound up squatting for part of the attempt, before adjusting her stance— only for Bennett to pull free. Carmouche defended the continued takedown attempt with elbows, but Bennett stayed on the single-leg attempt to no avail.

Carmouche, having her best moments grappling-wise in the fight to that point, tied things up, and managed to briefly trap Bennett’s arm. Bennett, however, remained determined, completed the takedown ever so briefly, then had to fend off a kimura. In a scramble, Carmouche then got on top! Bennett gave up her back, then rolled with Carmouche moving to mount. A minute still remained on the clock in round four, with Carmouche having her best moments of the fight. She then locked up an arm-triangle choke, and all of a sudden, the scorecards didn’t matter — Carmouche had the tap!

A much closer fight than anticipated with a game Bennett putting on the best performance of her career through the opening three rounds, but it was Liz Carmouche with her arm raised at the end of the night.

Official Result: Liz Carmouche def. DeAnna Bennett by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 4, 4:29