Juan Archuleta is the new Bellator bantamweight champion.
Archuleta defeated Patchy Mix via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) in the main event of Bellator 246 on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Mix and Archuleta met for the belt after Kyoji Horiguchi vacated it late last year due to a knee injury.
Archuleta, who also competes in the featherweight division, was successful in his second bid for Bellator gold after losing to Patricio Freire in a 145-pound title bout in September 2019.
Mix - who entered the fight as one of the hottest prospects in MMA with a 13-0 pro record - started strong. He scored a takedown one minute into the contest and immediately established himself as the superior grappler. Mix dominated the jiu-jitsu exchanges in the first 10 minutes, taking Archuleta's back and hunting for rear-naked chokes.
Archuleta turned up the action in the third round and began to pick apart Mix with strikes from the outside. Mix pressured Archuleta on the feet and kept the fight competitive, but Archuleta - who was a slight underdog heading in - landed the more effective shots and connected at a higher rate.
Archuleta did more of the same in the fourth and fifth rounds, as Mix seemed to tire out and abandon his game plan of getting his opponent to the mat. Archuleta landed several huge body shots early in the final frame and also did good work in the clinch.
This was the first time Mix had competed in a fourth round, while Archuleta had gone 25 minutes three times previously in his MMA career, according to the Bellator broadcast. Archuleta's cardio, sharp striking, and takedown defense sealed the deal for "Spaniard" in the second half of the title bout.
With the victory, Archuleta extended his winning streak to two. It's unclear who he'll defend his belt against and whether he plans to eventually fight at 145 pounds again.
Mix fell short for the first time in his career and now holds a 2-1 record in Bellator.