Cris Cyborg was already one of the greatest female fighters in MMA history before her switch to Bellator, but since moving across from the UFC to Scott Coker’s promotion she has continued to add to her growing legacy.
Cyborg dethroned long-reigning champion Julia Budd to claim the Bellator women’s featherweight title at the start of the year at Bellator 238 to become the only fighter to hold championships in four major promotions. Then, against Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 249, Cyborg (23-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) made the first successful defense of her Bellator featherweight title and notched the first submission victory of her career in the process.
It looked like Cyborg was well on her way to victory when she let fly with a furious salvo of strikes against the former WIBA world boxing champion in the first round. But, despite holding the upper hand in the striking exchanges, the fight was ultimately decided on the mat.
When Cyborg surprised Blencowe (13-8 MMA, 6-4 BMMA) with a takedown attempt and took the action to the canvas in Round 1, her attempt to go for a rear-naked choke was well defended by Blencowe. But, when the Brazilian repeated the trick in Round 2, she secured the submission finish she wanted.
It took a barrage of ground and pound to open up the opportunity, but when it did, Cyborg locked up the choke, applied the pressure, and claimed her maiden submission victory to cement her position as Bellator’s premier female featherweight fighter.
“I’ve really been working hard because I had (my) first submission in MMA,” Cyborg said after the win. “I never did that before since the beginning of my career. It is a dream come true, and I am so happy.”
Recap Cyborg’s finish of Blencowe via the video above.