Bellator 262 results, highlights: Juliana Velasquez retains title in close fight with Denise Kielholtz

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Bellator MMA

Fighting almost complete on the feet with Denise Kielholtz may not have been the recommended strategy for Juliana Velasquez heading into their Bellator 262 main event on Friday night, but the gameplan ultimately paid off with Velasquez scoring a split decision victory to retain her women's flyweight championship.

Kielholtz got off to a fast start in the opening round, using speed and hard-charging combinations to force the champion into long periods of inactivity as Velasquez attempted to figure out the appropriate timing for counter strikes. As Velasquez seemed initially befuddled, Kielholtz got off to an early lead on the scorecards through sheer activity.

By the second round, however, Velasquez found the tool that would ultimately tip the fight her way, working a stiff jab through Kielholtz's guard. The weapon's effectiveness was aided by a massive size advantage for Velasquez, who towered over the challenger.

"I believe I had a lot of success with my jab but a hard time with my straight right," Velasquez said after the fight. "It wasn't exactly like I wanted, but I'm very happy with how I performed and the result of the fight."

The jab slowed Kielholtz's ability to charge in with her powerful flurries and left the challenger with swelling around her eyes by the end of the third round. As Kielholtz was slower to charge in, Velasquez was able to better time the flurries and slide out of the way while taking far less damage than in the opening frame.

The fight would continue to hinge on Velasquez's jab until Kielholtz was able to land some heavy combinations while also avoiding a takedown attempt from Velasquez. In fact, Velasquez was only successful with a single takedown over the 25 minutes of the fight, something she seemed disappointed with despite scoring the win.

"I was actually thinking about working my takedowns but I wasn't finding the timing to do it," Velasquez said. "Most of my fights I do the pressuring but I showed that I can fight on the outside as well as withstand the pressure and that's also what makes a champion."

In the end, two of the three official judges saw Velasquez doing enough over the middle rounds to edge out the win, with the cards reading 48-47, 47-48 and 48-47.

The win was the first defense of the title Velasquez won from Ilima-Lei Macfarlane this past December and improved the champion's record to a perfect 12-0 as a professional.

CBS Sports was with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut with our live blog below. Stay tuned for updates all night long.

Bellator 262 card, results

  • Juliana Velasquez (c) def. Denise Kielholtz via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
  • Tyrell Fortune def. Matt Mitrione via first-round submission (strikes)
  • Matheus Mattos def. Cee Jay Hamilton via second-round TKO (punches)
  • Arlene Blencowe def. Dayana Silva via third-round TKO (punches)
  • Johnny Eblen def. Travis Davis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Said Sowma def. Ronny Markes via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Cody Law def. Theodore Macuka via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Diana Avsaragova def. Gabriella Gulfin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Adil Benjilany def. Johnny Soto via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Charlie Campbell def. Nick Giulietti via second-round TKO (strikes)
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Official result: Juliana Velasquez def. Denise Kielholtz via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)

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Juliana Velasquez (c) vs. Denise Kielholtz -- Round 5: Kielholtz landed a huge shot that wobbled Velasquez briefly just seconds into the round. Velasquez appeared to recover from being buzzed and the women exchanged leg kicks. Kielholtz landed another good right hand but ate a big right in return. Kielholtz kept chasing down Velasquez, landing good shots while Velasquez occasionally landed her own. Kielholtz stuffed another takedown attempt in the final minute. A good final round for the challenger and these scorecards could be all over the place. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Kielholtz (48-47 Velasquez)

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Juliana Velasquez (c) vs. Denise Kielholtz -- Round 4: Velasquez used long punches again to keep Kielholtz at distance. Kielholtz landed a straight right of her own but then ate an overhand from the champion in return. Velasquez landed a thudding overhand left to the face of the challenger. Kielholtz landed in a flurry but Velasquez continued to counter most of Kielholtz's wild charges by sliding to her right and out of the way of the incoming shots. Velasquez had a takedown stuffed but landed a left hand in the scramble before landing a couple crisp shots as the round ended. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Velasquez (39-37 Velasquez)

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Juliana Velasquez (c) vs. Denise Kielholtz -- Round 3: Kielholtz threw a right hand to the body before getting popped with a jab. Both women connected in an exchange, but the left hand of Velasquez looked to have more impact and she popped another jab behind it. Kielholtz landed a good left hook but ate a few more jabs. Velasquez landed a good combination on the inside Velasquez landed a hard knee to the chin of Kielholtz and then drove forward to score a takedown in the final seconds of the round. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Velasquez (29-28 Velasquez)

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July 17, 2021, 3:12 AM
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Juliana Velasquez (c) vs. Denise Kielholtz -- Round 2: Velasquez threw some early kicks, looking like she may try to be more active than in her flat opening round. Velasquez started firing off jabs and moving out of the way of any return fire. Velasquez had more success with conterpunching in the round, working to get more strikes off and counter Kielholtz's aggression. Both women landed in an exchange along the cage before Velasquez popped off a few more hard jabs. Velasquez shot for a takedown but Kielholtz stuffed it with ease. Much better round for Velasquez. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Velasquez (19-19)

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July 17, 2021, 3:05 AM
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Juliana Velasquez (c) vs. Denise Kielholtz -- Round 1: Kielholtz opened with some low leg kicks before charging in with a big flurry of punches that Velasquez was mostly able to avoid. Kielholtz went back to the leg kicks before throwing another wild flurry of punches. Velasquez landed a crisp jab that snapped Kielholtz' head back. Velasquez continued trying to set up counters, allowing Kielholtz to pick her spots without too much worry of incoming offense. Kielholtz landed a heavy flurry with about 30 seconds left in the round. Easy round to score there. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Kielhotlz

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