Leah McCourt was left covered in blood during her encounter against Cat Zingano at Bellator 293.
McCourt was defeated on points, with the judges giving scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28 in favour of Zingano.
It was a closely-contested encounter between the pair, with many fans complaining on social media that the wrong fighter was given the victory.
McCourt’s eye was swollen in the opening round, but the Northern Ireland star appeared on top in the second round when she tried to pull off an arm triangle submission.
She delivered yet another impressive takedown in the third round, but Cingano hit back by cutting McCourt’s head open with her knee.
The bout subsequently had a gory ending, with McCourt’s face and the canvas soon covered in blood.
Video: Watch Cat Zingano cut Leah McCourt’s head open with knee
How did Cat Zingano react to her victory against Leah McCourt?
Zingano continued her undefeated streak in Bellator with fourth victory since September 2020.
The American previously competed in UFC, but all four of her career defeats from her 18 fights came while she was with the promotion company.
Zingano’s latest win means she remains the number one contender for Bellator’s featherweight title, which is currently held by MMA legend Cris Cyborg.
“She’s really tall and really strong, and I’m not used to that at this weight class,” Zingano said of McCourt.
“I knew it was going to be a tussle with her. It was going to be tough with her.
“What I do know is how to cause damage and I think the damage made up for some of the transitional periods.”
Who is Leah McCourt?
McCourt, nicknamed “The Curse”, is a former IMMAF amateur world champion and an International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation gold medallist.
The 30-year-old signed for Bellator in 2019, and has since won six times, including against Jessica Borga and Dayana Silva. Her two defeats have come against Zingano and Sinead Kavanagh.
McCourt currently trains at Liverpool’s Next Gen gym with calibre coaches Paul Rimmer and Ellis Hampson and alongside UFC pair Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann.
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