Cris Cyborg scores first career submission in Bellator 249 main event

Cris Cyborg Bellator 238 victorious

The Bellator MMA cage was at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Thursday for Bellator 249: Cyborg vs. Blencowe. Women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg put her title on the line against Arlene Blencowe in the fight card’s main event.

Cyborg captured the title by defeating former champion Julia Budd in January. On Thursday, she defended the belt for the first time in dominating fashion.

The decorated Brazilian champion targeted the legs of Blencowe with kicks and displayed her ground game. She took Blencowe down midway through the round and mounted the Australian. Cyborg delivered punches and elbows forcing Blencowe to roll over and give up her back. Cyborg connected with right hands as Blencowe battled to stand.

In the second frame, Cyborg went back to using leg kicks, but also mixed in head kicks. Blencowe blocked the kicks but was taken down again. On the ground, Cyborg advanced to the mount position, postured up and delivered heavy elbows. Blencowe gave up her back and Cyborg applied a rear-naked choke forcing Blencowe to tap out. It was Cyborg’s first career submission finish.

“This is amazing. I could hear my corner amazing. It was like a video game. I felt ready,” said Cyborg following the win.

Former lightweight title challenger Patricky “Pitbull” Freire was scheduled to face Jeleel Willis in the co-main event but was pulled from the fight card after being deemed unable to compete by the Mohegen Tribal Athletic Commission due to an undisclosed medical issue.

A catchweight bout between Ricky Bandejas and Loandro Higo was elevated to the co-main event. The fight was scheduled to take place in the bantamweight division but Higo missed weight.

Bandejas worked his jab and kicks to try and keep Higo on the outside. It worked temporarily but Higo was able to close the distance and take Bandejas down. From there, he dominated the action with short punches and advancing his position to the mount.

Higo secured a takedown early in the second frame and made the most of it. After taking Bandejas’ back, Higo sunk in a rear-naked choke that forced Bandejas to tap out.

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In heavyweight action, Steve Mowry remained unbeaten and added another finish to his record by taking bout Shawn Teed late in the opening round.

Mowry controled the pace of the fight using his jab and setting up combinations. In close quarters, Mowry would clinch and fired off knees up the middle. He caught Teed moving foward and timed a knee that staggered he 28-year old. Mowry connected with a right hand that sent Teed crashing to the canvas. The referee intervened after Mowry landed a few follow up shots.

“I’ve been telling my teammates for weeks, actually since my last fight in October, one of these knees is going to touch somebody’s chin.  I didn’t know if it would be a body thing or a knockout or what, but I knew if I put these knees on somebody they’re going down,” Mowry said following the win.

Lightweights Saad Awad and Mandel Nallo kicked off the main card and the bout ended in a No Contest due to an accidental knee to the groin. While the two worked for position along the cage, Nallo landed a hard knee to the groin that rendered Awad unable to continue.

Bellator 249: Cyborg vs. Blencowe Results:

  • Cris Cyborg def. Arlene Blencowe by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:36, R2
  • Leandro Higo def. Ricky Bandejas by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:32, R2
  • Steve Mowry def. Shawn Teed by TKO (knee and punches) at 4:22, R1
  • Saad Awad vs. Mandel Nallo is ruled a no-contest (accidental ground strike) at 1:44, R1
  • Andrew Kapel def. Joseph Creer (doctor stoppage, cut) at 5:00, R2
  • Kemran Lachinov def. Kyle Crutchmer by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Christian Edwards def. Hamza Salim by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:28, R2
  • Da’Mon Blackshear def. Mike Kimbel by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:14, R2
  • Aviv Gozali def. Logan Neal by sumbission (kimura) at 3:22, R1
  • Albert Gonzales def. Kastriot Xhema via TKO (retirement) at 5:00, R2