BELLATOR 246: Juan Archuleta wins bantamweight title, Jon Fitch retires

Bellator crowned a new bantamweight champion as the vacant title was decided in the night’s main event between Juan Archuleta and Patchy Mix.

Photo courtesy: Bellator MMA

Bellator crowned a new bantamweight champion as the vacant title was decided in the night’s main event between Juan Archuleta and Patchy Mix.

Last year, the title was vacated by Kyoji Horiguchi due to injury and found its new holder at Bellator 246.

In the main event, Archuleta earned a unanimous decision victory over Mix with scores of 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47 for the new champion.

Archuleta, 33, has had an impressive run in Bellator as he improves his record to 24-2. During his time fighting for the promotion, he has gone 7-1 with the lone defeat coming by decision to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire when they fought in September 2019. The fighter bounced back in January with a decision nod against Henry Corrales before earning the right to fight for the vacant title on Saturday night.

In the co-feature bout, Neiman Gracie caught veteran Jon Fitch with a heel hook late in the second round as he secured the tenth win of his career. For Gracie, it was his first fight since losing to Rory MacDonald in June 2019 in the semi-finals of the Welterweight World Grand Prix.

The loss for Fitch also signaled the end of his career, informing John McCarthy in the post-fight interview that he was stepping away from the sport after competing for eighteen years.

The 42-year old Fitch had his first pro fight in July 2002 where he was submitted by Mike Pyle but went on a run over the next three years including a seven-fight win streak that included a one-fight tournament victory where he fought three times in December 2004.

He joined the UFC in 2005 and needed eight consecutive wins before earning a title fight against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87 in August 2008. Fitch lost the fight by unanimous decision and would never fight for UFC gold again. After the St-Pierre loss, he went 6-2-1 and was cut after a loss to Demian Maia in 2013 that drew criticism. The belief was that Fitch was not going to get another title fight but was still dangerous enough to knock off contenders and was let go.

He continued fighting for the World Series of Fighting from 2013 through 2017 before joining Bellator the following year. Prior to Saturday’s loss, he had a decision win against Paul Daley and fought Rory MacDonald to a draw last April in his Bellator bouts.

Fitch retires with a record of 32-8-2 with 1 no contest.

Saturday’s card also featured the promotional debut of Liz Carmouche, who submitted DeAnna Bennett in the third round of their catchweight fight. On Friday, Bennett missed the flyweight limit as she weighed 131.7 pounds.

Carmouche fought for two championships in the UFC including being one half of the first women’s fight in UFC history when she fought Ronda Rousey at UFC 157 in February 2013. Carmouche was submitted that night but remained a contender in the division before cutting to flyweight in 2017 and challenged 125-pound champion, Valentina Shevchenko, in July 2019 losing by unanimous decision.

Bellator 246 also marked the promotion’s final broadcast on the Paramount Network as it shifts to the CBS Sports Network beginning in October.

It will be the first time the network, which was previously branded as Spike TV, will not feature MMA on the station since it launched The Ultimate Fighter in January 2005.

Bellator 246 results:
*Juan Archuleta def. Patchy Mix by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) to become the new Bellator bantamweight champion
*Neiman Gracie def. Jon Fitch by heel hook at 4:47 of Round 2
*Liz Carmouche def. DeAnna Bennett by rear-naked choke at 3:17 of Round 3
*Keoni Diggs def. Derek Campos by rear-naked choke at 4:59 of Round 3
*Daniel Madrid def. Pat Casey by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
*Ty Gwerder def. George Tokkos by TKO at 1:05 of Round 3
*Davion Franklin def. Ras Hylton by technical decision (30-27 all)

About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.