- Molly McCann was victorious against Diana Belbita in her strawweight debut
- Liverpudlian recorded her first-ever submission win with a first-round armbar
- The 33-year-old insisted her goal is to work towards a UFC title shot at 115lbs
At a crucial juncture for her UFC career Molly McCann responded in emphatic fashion with a first-round victory over Diana Belbita on Saturday night.
After suffering back-to-back submission defeats in the UFC, McCann debuted in the 115lbs weight class and had a point to prove in the Octagon.
From the opening bell McCann looked energised and immediately forced her opponent on to the back foot with a series of punches.
Striking has always been Meatball’s bread and butter inside the cage, and she looked comfortable closing the distance at her new weight class, despite still giving up several inches in reach.
Though her skills on the feet have never been in doubt McCann has long faced criticism for lacking commensurate grappling skills, with her last two visits to the Octagon ending in defeat after she was forced to tap out.
Molly McCann snapped her UFC losing streak with victory over Diana Belbita on Saturday
Scouse striker piled the pressure on her opponent from the outset of her strawweight debut
Having worked diligently on rounding out her skillset in the eight months since her last outing, McCann appeared eager to demonstrate her improved grappling and secured an early takedown before Belbita managed to return to her feet.
By this stage, however, the momentum was firmly in the Liverpudlian’s favour, and she came within inches of landing a spinning back elbow reminiscent of the one she famously defeated Luana Carolina with in front of a baying UK crowd back in 2022.
In the final minute of the round, McCann again took her opponent down this time quickly establishing a dominant position.
From there she rained down strikes on Belbita from the mount, landing a series of short elbows on the Romanian.
McCann then transitioned to an armbar, locking the submission tightly with Belbita’s arm appearing to break as she tapped out with just one second remaining of the opening round.
Speaking following the first submission win of her MMA career, McCann apologised for having not moved to her natural weight class sooner.
‘I’d really like to take this time to apologise to the UFC, to my fans and to myself for not being at the right weight for all my other fights and for my last two performances.
McCann secured an armbar at the end of the round, and appeared to break Belbita’s arm in the submission win
After getting her hand raised McCann insisted her aim is to work towards a UFC title shot
‘But today, I forgive myself so we can move forward.’
The 33-year-old added that her plan is still to attempt to challenge for UFC gold.
‘Say less do more, say less do more,’ she continued.
‘The plan was to be a world champion, that didn’t work out at 125lbs. You know when the plan doesn’t work, you don’t change the goal. You change the plan.
‘Adversity, I’ve pushed through. My coach Paul [Rimmer] promised me this would happen and I’ve listened.’