UFC Boston: Molly McCann claims third straight win with dominant victory over Diana Belbita

By Simon HeadMMA writer
Molly McCann dominated Diana Belbita
McCann claimed a unanimous decision over UFC debutant Belbita

England's 'Meatball' Molly McCann produced dominant performance to claim a landslide decision win over Romania's Diana Belbita at UFC Fight Night in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 29-year-old from Liverpool completed a hat-trick of successive wins in 2019 with a comprehensive all-round performance.

She mixed up her striking with an ever-improving ground game to claim scores of 30-26 on all three of the judges' scorecards at the TD Garden.

UFC debutant Belbita headed into the contest riding a four-fight win streak, and appeared to start the better of the two and quickly settled into her striking rhythm, but by the end of the opening round McCann was well on top.

A big takedown at the end of the first round gave a glimpse of things to come in the second as McCann switched her attack from striking to wrestling and dominated the Romanian, whose desperation to prevent another big takedown saw her deducted a point for repeated fence grabs.

When the action resumed McCann took Belbita to the mat, mounted her opponent and and unloaded a barrage of ground strikes that came close to earning the Liverpudlian a second-round finish.

To her credit, Belbita survived the round, but had little left to give in the third and final frame as McCann dominated with her boxing to secure all three rounds on the scorecards to claim the 10th win of her professional mixed martial arts career.

McCann's first octagon appearance saw her lose out to Canadian grappler Gillian Robertson in her hometown at UFC Liverpool in May 2018, but the former Cage Warriors women's flyweight champion bounced back superbly to claim unanimous decision victories over Priscila Cachoeira and former KSW champion Ariane Lipski in March and June respectively.

And McCann's victory in Boston completed a hat-trick of successive wins inside the octagon as the proud Evertonian improved her record to 10-2 and showed her continual improvement as she looks to climb the ladder in the UFC women's flyweight division.

Despite her impressive performance, McCann revealed after the fight that she was feeling ill during the contest, saying: "I felt like I was going to be sick.

"I'll be happy when I look back, but I'm devastated right now.

"I want to get back in there and do another three rounds to fix it. If they give me another chance before the end of the year, I'll jump all over it.

"At least on my worst day, I still produced a performance that got me a win."

Molly McCann is declared the victor in Boston
McCann is declared the victor after 30-26 scores on all three judges' cards

Stewart sends Winn to first defeat

In the night's main card opener, English middleweight Darren 'The Dentist' Stewart showcased his improved gas tank as he endured multiple takedowns from former US national team wrestler Deron Winn before using his striking to earn the victory via split decision and hand the American his first career loss.

Winn held the clear advantage in the wrestling aspect of the contest, but Stewart, 28, repeatedly battled his way back to his feet before scoring with effective strikes in the stand-up.

As the bout went past the half-way point, Stewart's cardio began to tilt the contest in his favour as started to evade Winn's takedowns and punish the American with slick boxing. It gave the Brit the edge in the final reckoning as he took the win on the scorecards with scores of 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 to secure the 11th win of his career and his fourth victory in his last five outings in the UFC.

After his victory, Stewart said he'd love nothing more than to make his next appearance when the UFC returns to London early next year.

"I'd love to fight in London again," he said.

"Let me fight in my hometown, give me a chance to show how much I've improved since the last time and put on a show for my fans."