Velasquez (12-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) lost her flyweight title to Liz Carmouche at Bellator 278 when she was stopped in the fourth round of their main event bout in Honolulu in April.
Carmouche was able to get Velasquez down and move to the crucifix position and unloaded short punches to her head. Velasquez found herself stuck, and as a result, referee Mike Beltran jumped in and stopped the fight – a decision Velasquez and her team immediately protested. But Kielholtz thinks the referee made the right call and Velasquez just has to accept it.
“I think the referee is so experienced, and in that moment he feels like that,” Kielholtz told MMA Junkie on Wednesday at Bellator 281 media day. “And if I have to be honest, as a champion, you have to fight like a champion, act like a champion, and she showed that night that she is not a champion – and that’s why her belt is gone. The referee, he sees to protect us in the cage and at that moment he feels like that. So I think the referee did a good job, and after that you can’t complain and say it’s the referee’s fault – but the only fault that you lost is yourself.”
Kielholtz (6-3 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Velasquez. Although she thinks she won the fight, she put the blame on herself and vows to get back into the title picture after she meets Kana Watanabe (10-1-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) on Friday on the Bellator 281 main card at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
“It’s also the thing I saw for myself,” Kielholtz said. “The only thing I can blame is myself. (I have to) go back to work and come back stronger. So (I) wish her all the best, and for sure we will meet.”
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