Mix retains Bellator title in split decision win over Magomedov

Patchy Mix recorded the first defense of his Bellator MMA bantamweight championship Friday in a much tougher fight than most anticipated.

Mix (20-1) defeated Magomed Magomedov (20-4) via split decision in the main event of Bellator Champions Series. Two judges scored the five-round bout 48-47 for Mix. A third judge saw it much differently, awarding Magomedov a score of 49-46.

The 135-pound title fight took place in Accor Arena in Paris.

The discrepancy in judges' scores was not surprising, as every round was extremely close. Mix was a heavy betting favorite going in.

"He had a different game plan than I thought," Mix said. "I thought he would wrestle, and he came out and struck. I had a good weight cut, good camp. He just came prepared. It was a high-level, highly contested fight."

Mix, who extended his win streak to seven in a row, threatened Magomedov with guillotine chokes in the second and third rounds. He holds a guillotine submission victory over Magomedov from 2022. That remains the only time Magomedov has been finished in his 13-year career.

Magomedov managed to escape both chokes, however, and did surprisingly well on his feet. He hurt Mix with a left hand in the third round and bloodied his nose with a right. He hurt him again with winging right hands in the fourth, to the point Mix aggressively sought a takedown of his own in the fifth.

Overall, the judges favored Mix's activity. Although he was outlanded by Magomedov in total strikes 86-79, Mix threw far more strikes and varied his attack a little more.

He will likely face Leandro Higo (23-6) next. Higo is coming off a unanimous decision win over James Gallagher in March and weighed in this week as a backup to the title fight.

In the co-main event, French superstar Cedric Doumbé (6-1) bounced back from an odd loss in March, when he essentially forfeited to Baysangur Chamsoudinov in the third round after complaining of a splinter in his toe.

The former kickboxing champion looked outstanding in a first-round TKO of a very game Jaleel Willis (16-6).

Doumbé dropped Willis multiple times with the right hand and eventually finished the 175-pound catchweight bout with left hands along the fence.

The win likely sets him up for a future fight against former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who was in attendance and squared off with Doumbé afterward.