SAN JOSE, Calif. – DeAnna Bennett’s night at Bellator 266 couldn’t have gone any better.
The veteran fighter had a remarkable career moment with her dominant decision win over former title challenger Alejandra Lara at Saturday’s Bellator 266 event at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
Bennett (11-7-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) entered the bout on a three-fight losing skid and in a rough patch that had her with only two wins in her previous 10 fights. She was also competing for the first time at SAP Center in the Bay Area, where she was born and raised.
The venue was important for her being a local, but also because her father, who died of cancer in 2016, was a San Jose police officer who many times worked as part of the security team of at venue for NHL games, concerts and MMA events.
“It’s been such a great night,” Bennett told reporters following her win. “I’ve had a lot of people be like, ‘Oh you’re still doing this? Oh you’re still fighting?’ Honestly, a few hiccups aside, I feel like I’m in my prime.
“Since finding my coach in New Jersey and finding the Killer Bee team and Dante Rivera, since going there, I’m a different fighter. They motivate me to be a better fighter and they push me every day. I have what it takes to be at the top, and that’s what I take away from today. I came in here against the No. 5-ranked girl and I got my hand raised. I’m ready to do it again. I want to get to the top – for me, for my team, and for my dad.
“His last words to me – and he couldn’t string a sentence because of the brain tumor – but the words that he chose to me was, ‘Fight.’ He’d throw his hands up and say, ‘Fight.’ He knew that’s what I wanted to do and what I was meant to do. I want to fulfill that and make my way to the top.”
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Bennett didn’t lose a round against Lara. She thinks she’s very much in form to compete against the best in Bellator despite being 36.
Bennett is gunning for the Bellator women’s flyweight title and wants to work toward that. She’d like a rematch with Liz Carmouche, whom she lost to in her Bellator debut last year, but knows that will likely not come next.
“I definitely, definitely see a rematch with Liz Carmouche in the future,” Bennett said. “Not necessarily the next one. She’s had a couple of wins and I believe she’s rightfully the next in line for the title shot. I believe she deserves it for everything she’s done and she’s an excellent competitor. Alejandra is No. 5. There’s (No.) 4, 3, 2, 1. There’s some stuff I need to take care of before I can get back into the cage.”
Bellator 266: Best photos from San Jose
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