March 1st, 2024

Canadian-based strawweight Diana Belbita submitted in first round of UFC card

By The Canadian Press on February 3, 2024.

Diana Belbita, fights Maria Oliveira during a UFC 289 women's strawweight bout, in Vancouver, on Saturday, June 10, 2023. England's (Meatball) Molly McCann, who lost her last two fights via first-round submissions, submitted Canadian-based strawweight Diana (Warrior Princess) Belbita in the first round on the undercard of a UFC Fight Night card Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

LAS VEGAS – (Meatball) Molly McCann of England, who lost her last two fights via first-round submissions, turned the tables Saturday when she submitted Canadian-based strawweight Diana (Warrior Princess) Belbita in the first round of the featured preliminary bout of a UFC Fight Night card.

McCann won a unanimous decision when the two first met in October 2019 in Belbita’s UFC debut.

McCann led the way Saturday, taking Belbita down late in the first round, dropping elbows from full mount before transitioning into a nasty armbar that forced Belbita to tap with one second remaining.

McCann (14-6-0) was fighting for the first time at 115 pounds, having moved down from flyweight (125 pounds).

Belbita (15-8-0) has now lost three of her last four in the UFC.

The main event at the UFC’s Apex production facility pitted Georgia’s Roman (The Caucasian) Dolidze, ranked eighth among middleweight contenders, against No. 11 Nassourdine (The Sniper) Imavov of Russia.

The card was the UFC’s first since UFC 297 on Jan. 20 in Toronto, where American Sean Strickland lost his middleweight title to South African Dricus (Stillknocks) Duplessis via split decision.

UFC 297 featured nine of the 19 Canadian/Canadian-based fighters on the UFC roster.

Originally from Romania, Belbita is now based in Stoney Creek, Ont., where she trains alongside fellow UFC fighters (Proper) Mike Malott and Kyle (The Monster) Nelson.

At five-foot-seven, Belbita had a three-inch edge in height and six-inch advantage in reach. But McCann took her down twice and won the striking battle.

The 27-year-old Belbita was coming off a decision loss to Poland’s Karolina Kowalkiewicz in October. Her record in the UFC, which includes a win over Brazil’s Maria (Spider Girl) Oliveira at UFC 289 in Vancouver in June, dropped to 3-5-0.

The 33-year-old McCann recorded her first submission win as a pro after being submitted by American Erin (Cold Blooded) Blanchfield (via kimura) and Lithuania’s Julija Stoliarenko (armbar) in her previous two outings.

McCann, who improved to 7-5-0 in the UFC, apologized after the Belbita win for not having been in the correct weight class before.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2024.

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