UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Canadian featherweight Julia (The Jewel) Budd and stepson (Fearless) Lance Gibson Jr., both emerged victorious Friday at Bellator 257.
Gibson, a 26-year-old lightweight from Port Moody, B.C., improved to 4-0-0 with a unanimous (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) decision over Marcus (The Blueprint) Surin.
But Budd, a former featherweight champion, needed a split decision to get past Brazil's Dayana Silva. The judges scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for the 37-year-old, also from Port Moody.
"I know how tough she was coming in," Budd said of the 30-year-old Silva, who started her pro career in December 2009. "No one's ever finished her and I knew she's been in the game for a long time.
"I prepared properly for her. It went the distance but I wish I got the finish there."
The main event pitted light-heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov against No. 2 contender Phil (Mr. Wonderful) Davis in the quarterfinals of Bellator's 205-pound Grand Prix.
The common denominator for Budd and Gibson is Lance Gibson Sr., who now serves as their trainer and tactician. Lance Sr., now 50, fought twice in the UFC in 2000, defeating Jermaine (Bam Bam) Andre at UFC 24 before losing to Evan Tanner at UFC 29. He retired with a 4-5-0 record.
Budd was a Muay Thai fighter when she started training at Lance Sr.'s gym in the early 2000s and the two later connected. A couple since 2009, they got married in 2013.
Lance Sr., trains fighters at Gibson MMA and has also worked as an actor and stuntman.
Friday marked the first time Budd and Lance Jr., had fought on the same card. They worked each other's corner with Lance Sr., in charge.
"This week was totally different with me and Junior both fighting," said Budd. "It was a lot. We didn't know what really to expect. We just knew we had to separate ourselves."
Budd lost her 145-pound title to Brazilian icon Cris Cyborg at Bellator 238 in January 2020, ending her 11-fight win streak. She bounced back last August at Bellator 244, earning a unanimous decision over American Jessy (The Widowmaker) Miele.
Budd (15-3-0) remains Bellator's No. 1 contender at 145 pounds.
"I want to get my belt back. Whatever it takes," she said.
Budd was the bigger fighter but Silva (9-6-0) showed some early power in her hands. Budd escaped most of the strikes, connecting herself with some low kicks in the first round.
It was more of the same the second round with Silva busier in the third.
Lance Jr., was the busier fighter in the first round Friday, lashing Surin with body kicks and strikes.
The 39-year-old Surin (6-3-0) took Gibson into new territory by lasting the first round. Gibson's first three fights ended in the first round, lasting six minutes 22 seconds in total.
The fight was stopped briefly in the second round when Gibson took an accidental eye-poke, prompting a visit from the ring doctor. Gibson, while initially acknowledging his vision in one eye was somewhat foggy, said he wanted to continue.
When the action resumed, Gibson lashed Surin with body kicks and chopped him down with a kick to the legs. Surin was on the back foot.
Surin ended the round on the ground with Gibson on his back.
"You're looking beautiful," Lance Sr., said between rounds.
Gibson took Surin down midway through the third round, eventually letting him get back up to resume the fight on the feet.
They both went to the ground with a minute remaining and Surin, on Gibson's back, looking for a submission. But Gibson fought it off.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021