Bellator Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg is set to put her belt on the line on Thursday night, fighting Arlene Blencowe in the main event of Bellator 249.
Follow this article throughout the evening for live results of the main event and the other fights happening at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Preliminary Card (7:15PM EDT) (Youtube)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / CBS Sports Network)
Bout 10: Cris Cyborg (22-2) vs. Arlene Blencowe (13-7) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)
Cyborg Defends Belt, Earns First Career Submission Victory
Cris Cyborg defended her Bellator Featherweight Championship for the first time on Thursday, tapping out Arlene Blencowe in the second round with a rear naked choke.
Cyborg was dominant earlier in the second round, scoring a takedown after a fast flurry of punches caused Blencowe to bleed.
The win for Cyborg was her first via submission in her storied career.
The fight handed Blencowe her first loss since 2017, where she lost a title shot to Julia Budd.
Cyborg was enthusiastic about competing behind closed doors for the fight.
“This is amazing. I can hear my corner,” said Cyborg in her post-fight interview.
Cyborg has previously held championships in the UFC, Invicta FC and Strikeforce.
Bout 9: Ricky Bandejas (13-4) vs. Leandro Higo (19-5) (Bantamweight)
Higo Catches Bandejas With Choke To Win
Leandro Higo won in his return to the cage Thursday night, stopping Ricky Bandejas in the second round with a rear naked choke. The submission came after Higo out-grappled Bandejas in the previous round.
Higo missed weight for the bantamweight fight, coming in three pounds over the non-championship limit.
Higo’s previous fight was in September of 2019, defeating Shawn Bunch via submission.
The fight was the second-straight loss for Bandejas. He lost last July, dropping a decision to Sergio Pettis in the main event of Bellator 242.
Bout 8: Shawn Teed (6-2-1) vs. Steve Mowry (7-0) (Heavyweight)
Mowry Lands A Knee To Finish Fight
Steve Mowry picked up his eighth Bellator win on the main card, dropping Shawn Teed with a knee to the head late in the first round.
The knockdown was the last of many knees that Mowry connected with throughout the round.
“I knew if I put these knees on somebodies dome they’re done,” said Mowry in his post-fight interview.
Still undefeated, Mowry picked up his fourth Bellator victory. All eight of his fights as a pro have been finished before scorecards were needed.
Mowry was first scheduled to fight in July against Rudy Schaffroth, although plans changed after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Teed, a former CFFC Heavyweight Champion, made his Bellator debut in the fight.
The fight was originally scheduled for the prelims, although it was bumped up to the main card after a bout between Patricky Pitbull and Jaleel Willis was taken out of the lineup.
Bout 7: Saad Awad (23-13) vs. Mandel Nallo (7-1) (Lightweight)
Groin Strike Takes Awad Out of Bout Against Nallo
The main card started with a no contest, as a groin strike to Saad Awad took him out of his fight against Mandel Nallo in the first round. The fight-ending strike happened in a clinch, with a knee hitting Awad in the groin and knocking him down.
Awad was on the ground for a few minutes before the fight was officially called off.
Awad was looking to snap a four-fight skid with the fight. He had previously lost to big names in Bellator like Benson Henderson and Paul Daley.
The fight was Nallo’s first since 2019, where he was stopped in the third round by Killys Mota.
Pitbull Versus Willis Taken Off of Main Card
Only hours before the fight between Patricky Pitbull and Jaleel Willis was set to happen on the main card, the fight was taken out of the lineup. News of the change was first reported by Nolan King of MMA Junkie.
Per the report from King, the athletic commission did not medically clear Pitbull for his fight.
A heavyweight bout between Shawn Teed and Steve Mowry has been moved up from the preliminary card to the main card due to the change.
Bout 6: Joseph Creer (7-1-1) vs. Andrew Kapel (15-7) (Middleweight)
Cut Stops Fight, Gives Kapel Win
Andrew Kapel came back from his loss earlier in the year by defeating Joseph Creer due to a doctor stoppage on the prelims.
Kapel’s win came from a cut he opened on Creer in the second round that caused the fight to be called before the final round.
The stoppage was similar to Creer’s previous sole loss as a pro, which came against Austin Vanderford in 2019.
Kapel’s previous fight was a loss to John Salter in August.
Bout 5: Kyle Crutchmer (6-0) vs. Kemran Lachinov (9-2) (Welterweight)
Lachinov Ends Undefeated Record of Crutchmer
Kemran Lachinov ended the six-fight undefeated record of Kyle Crutchmer on the prelims, winning via decision after three rounds. The fight was mostly contested on the feet, with the fight holding a slow pace in the striking department.
An unusual moment happened in the third round, as Lachinov enthusiastically egged Crutchmer on and subsequently consumed a two-punch combination to the head.
The with was Lachinov’s seventh-straight, with two previous wins in the streak also taking place in Bellator.
Two of Crutchmer’s previous wins were in Bellator.
Bout 4: Christian Edwards (3-0) vs. Hamza Salim (5-3) (Light Heavyweight)
Edwards Earns Fourth Bellator Win, Stopping Salim With Rear Naked Choke
Christian Edwards became the first fighter to finish Hamza Salim, catching him in the second round with a rear naked choke. The finish came early in the second round.
Edwards looked for the choke in the round before, also landing ground and pound while dictating the fight on the floor.
Still undefeated, Edwards has won all four of his pro fights in Bellator.
The fight is Salim’s second-straight loss in Bellator. His previous fight was in August, dropping a decision to Grant Neal.
Bout 3: Da’Mon Blackshear (7-3) vs. Mike Kimbel (3-2) (Catchweight 140 lbs)
Blackshear Wins Bellator Debut, Stops Kimbel With Choke
A close striking battle came to an end in the second round, as Da’Mon Blackshear took his fight to the ground and put in a rear naked choke to defeat Mike Kimbel.
The previous rounds in the fight saw Blackshear and Kimbel both have their moments with striking.
The win was Blackshear’s Bellator debut after 10 previous fights on the regional MMA scene.
Now with two straight losses, Kimbel’s MMA record is even with three wins and three losses. His entire career has taken place within Bellator.
Bout 2: Aviv Gozali (4-0) vs. Logan Neal (1-0) (Welterweight)
Gozali Earns Fifth First-Round Submission
Aviv Gozali continued his trend of first-round victories by stopping Logan Neal with a kimura early on Thursday’s prelims. Gozali found the submission after holding a reverse triangle choke from the back of Neal.
Gozali was controlling on the ground prior to the finish, attempting numerous submissions before finding the kimura.
“I’m the best grappler in Bellator,” claimed Gozali in his post-fight interview.
The win was Gozali’s fifth in Bellator. All previous wins came via submission as well.
Bout 1: Albert Gonzales (1-2) vs. Kastriot Xhema (3-4) (Welterweight)
Xhema Loses Dominating Performance, Quits Due To Fatigue
Despite having two dominant rounds, fatigue caused Kastriot Xhema to verbally tap out of his fight against Albert Gonzales. The win for Gonzales showed his toughness and evened his pro record through four fights.
Xhema controlled the first round with numerous takedowns and passes into full mount.
Gonzales found himself in trouble late in the second round, being caught in an armbar until the round ran out of time.
Fatigued was clearly an issue for both fighters after the first round.
Gonzales lost his Bellator debut in 2019, being taken out of the fight in the second minute after breaking a leg.
The fight was Xhema’s second-straight loss.