UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Juan Archuleta felt confident all the way through his title fight Saturday night, despite dropping the first two rounds of the contest.
Archuleta (25-2 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) defeated Patchy Mix in a unanimous decision to capture Bellator’s vacant 135-pound title in the main event of Bellator 246.
“The reconquista is back, the fighting Spaniards are here,” Archuleta said in the post-fight press conference. “We’re known to conquer. I was in there with Patrick Mix, a valiant opponent. He gave me all I could handle and I gave him a lot more than he could handle. I’m here to stay (and) I’m here to conquer the 135-pound division, no matter who it is.”
Archuleta and Mix contested a closely fought, back and forth contest before 33-year-old Archuleta eventually took over. Archuleta fell back in the first couple of rounds as Mix dominated the grappling exchanges and pushed the pace, but “The Spaniard” kept his cool and turned the tables on the previously undefeated contender in the later rounds. After the fight, Archuleta told reporters, including MMA Junkie, that he had expected to weather an early storm, but knew he’d come through victorious in the end.
“We knew he was going to go out there and blow his wad,” Archuleta said. “We knew to stay composed, keep calm, keep cool, keep collected. I’m the veteran. I’ve been here before and this time I made sure I wasn’t going to go home without it.”
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After claiming the vacant title, Archuleta name-dropped the man whose decision to vacate the title due to injury had opened up the opportunity to fight for the the title – former Bellator and RIZIN FF bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi.
“Horiguchi, I’m still coming for you, baby,” Archuleta said. “Where you at? I hope you’re ready. I want that fight. I want that RIZIN belt, let’s go.”
Horiguchi was forced to vacate both Bellator and Rizin titles after suffering a knee injury that put him on the sidelines. The timetable for Horiguchi’s return is unknown.
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