Cris Cyborg will attempt to continue her dominant run as Bellator Featherweight Champion when she faces Sinead Kavanagh on Friday night. Their five-round bout is set to headline Bellator 271, which will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (7:00PM EST) (Youtube)
Main Card (10:00PM EST) (Showtime)
Bout 11: Cris Cyborg (24-2) vs. Sinead Kavanagh (7-4) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)
Cyborg Stops Kavanagh In Second Minute To Defend Bellator Belt For Third Time
Cris Cyborg’s dominant run as Bellator Featherweight Champion continued on Friday night, as she stopped Sinead Kavanagh in the first round due to strikes.
Cyborg dropped Kavanagh with a right hook during a wild exchange of punches between the featherweights in the opening round. She followed up with a couple of hammerfist strikes on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
Cyborg has now defended her featherweight belt three times since earning the belt in early 2020. Her previous fight was a much longer bout, going into the fifth round against Leslie Smith before picking up a finish.
The idea was thrown out afterward that PFL Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison, who is currently a free agent, could be next in line to fight Cyborg.
Cyborg was open to the idea of the fight if it could be made.
“If you want to fight me one day, it [would be] a great fight. But you need to talk to the promotion to make this happen,” said Cyborg when addressing Harrison, who was in attendance for the event.
Kavanagh, a Bellator veteran of nine fights, was given a title fight after two consecutive victories. She had been out of the cage for over a year, as her prior fight was a unanimous decision win over Katharina Lehner in October 2020.
Bout 10: Tyrell Fortune (11-1) vs. Linton Vassell (21-8) (Heavyweight)
Veteran Vassell Ends Winning Streak of Fortune
Veteran Linton Vassell picked up a win in the co-main event, gutting out a split decision victory over Tyrell Fortune (29-28 Fortune, 29-28 Vassell & 29-28 Vassell).
The close fight saw Vassell succeed on the ground. While often giving up takedowns, Vassell was quick to take dominant positions on the ground and work from those spots.
Vassell caused trouble for Fortune after scoring a takedown in the first round. He was able to take the back of Fortune on the ground, landing punches from that position and attempting a rear naked choke.
Fortune controlled the striking in the second round. He also secured two takedowns but eventually lost the position in both instances.
Fortune lost a position on the ground again in the final round, forcing him to fight off a rear naked choke attempt from Vassell.
The fight included two long pauses, as both heavyweights suffered a groin strike during the bout. Vassell consumed an especially bad shot in the third round, needing numerous minutes to recover after.
Vassell has now won three consecutive fights. Previous victories in his current run include stoppages over Sergei Kharitonov and Ronny Markes.
The fight on Friday was just Fortune’s second pro loss. His previous fight also came against a veteran, having lost to Timothy Johnson in February.
Fortune entered the weekend on a three-fight winning streak.
Bout 9: Aaron Pico (8-3) vs. Justin Gonzales (12-0) (Featherweight)
Pico Goes The Distance For The First Time, Hands Gonzales First Pro Loss
Aaron Pico went the distance for the first time in his pro career Friday, getting a unanimous decision win over former LFA Featherweight Champion Justin Gonzales (30-27, 30-27 & 30-26).
The fight saw Pico open with strikes then focus on wrestling for the latter half of the bout.
Pico had the better shots in a hectic opening round on the feet. He rocked Gonzales for a moment during the frame, connecting cleanly with a hook to the body at one point.
Most of the second and third rounds were on the ground, as Pico scored numerous takedowns and remained in controlling positions after.
Pico’s 11 previous pro bouts had all finished within the distance. He is now on a five-fight winning streak, including a submission win he earned over Aiden Lee in June.
Gonzales entered Friday with an impressive 12-fight undefeated record. His previous fight was his Bellator debut in June, where he beat Tywan Claxton via split decision.
Bout 8: Arlene Blencowe (14-8) vs. Pam Sorenson (9-3) (Featherweight)
Former Title Challenger Blencowe Takes Decision Win Over Sorenson
Former title challenger Arlene Blencowe picked up a decision win to open the main card, out-landing former Invicta FC Champion Pam Sorenson for a unanimous decision win (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
The fight, which was mostly on the feet, saw Blencowe connect with the sharper strikes through all three rounds.
Sorenson won her Bellator debut earlier this year, defeating Robert Paim Samad via split decision three months back.
Bout 7: Steve Mowry (9-0) vs. Rakim Cleveland (22-13-1) (Heavyweight)
Mowry Scores 10th Pro Win, Defeats Veteran Cleveland With Kimura
Steve Mowry moved his undefeated record to double digits on Friday, defeating veteran Rakim Cleveland in the first round with a kimura submission.
Mowry took Cleveland down in the second minute, landing in half guard. He advanced to side control by the fourth minute, giving him a position to secure the kimura submission.
Mowry now has 10 wins in the Bellator cage, all of which have come via stoppage. His previous bout was in April, where he put Shaun Asher away within a minute with strikes.
Mowry called out former UFC fighter Marcelo Golm in his post-fight interview. The heavyweights were first set to fight in August, although that bout did not happen.
Cleveland, a vet of over 30 pro bouts, was fighting in PFL after attaining a strong three-fight winning streak on the regional scene earlier this year.
Bout 6: Bruna Ellen (5-3) vs. Desiree Yanez (5-3) (Flyweight)
Ellen Picks Up Win In Return
Bellator veteran Bruna Ellen won in her return to the cage, defeating Desiree Yanez in a split decision outcome (29-28 Ellen, 29-28 Yanez & 29-28 Ellen).
The fight, which mainly took place in a stand-up position, was a close battle between the flyweights. Ellen had a good start to the fight, but the bout became much closer once Yanez settled into the battle.
Ellen was fighting for the first time since late 2019, when she lost a decision against now-champion Juliana Velasquez.
Yanez is now on a three-fight losing streak. She lost her promotional debut earlier this year, dropping a majority decision to Veta Arteaga.
Bout 5: Roman Faraldo (5-0) vs. Robert Turnquest (11-7) (Welterweight)
Faraldo Scores Walk-Off Flying Knee KO, Adds To Finish Streak
Roman Faraldo scored a walk-off knockout on Friday’s prelims, stopping Robert Turnquest in the first round with a flying switch knee.
Faraldo first hurt Turnquest with a left hook. A visibly wobbled Turnquest backed up, allowing Faraldo to have a running start to a flying knee knockout.
The finish was quite similar to Faraldo’s Bellator debut last year, where he stopped Pat Casey with a second-round flying knee.
“We work on this every day,” said Faraldo, discussing the finishing sequence in the post-fight interview.
Faraldo called for a fight against ranked welterweight Jason Jackson after his win.
Faraldo now has free wins via stoppage in Bellator. His previous fight was in April, stopping Trevor Gudde in the first round with punches.
Turnquest was competing for the first time since 2019. He missed weight by a large amount on Thursday, coming in nearly seven pounds over the non-championship welterweight limit.
Bout 4: Cody Law (4-0) vs. Colton Hamm (4-3) (Featherweight)
Law Stops Hamm Within Round, Extends Undefeated Record To Five Consecutive
Cody Law’s dominant featherweight run continued on Friday, as he stopped Colton Hamm in the first round with hard ground and pound strikes.
Law dropped Hamm late in the round with an uppercut. He then took full guard on top, where he knocked Hamm out with an elbow to the ground as part of a series of strikes.
Law now has five wins since making his pro debut in October 2020. His previous fight was in July, where he stopped Theodore Macuka in the second minute with strikes.
Hamm had fought three times earlier this year, picking up two wins and one loss since March. The bout on Friday was his Bellator debut.
Bout 3: Valerie Loureda (3-1) vs. Taylor Turner (5-7) (Catchweight 128 lbs)
Loureda Takes Close Split Decision, Bounces Back From First Loss
Valerie Loureda bounced back from her sole pro loss on Friday, squeezing by with a split decision victory against Taylor Turner (29-28 Loureda, 29-28 Turner & 30-27 Loureda).
The victory for Loureda came after a close three-round stand-up battle that showed two very different game plans.
Turner stalked Loureda throughout the fight, constantly advancing in the cage while Loureda backed up or circled off to the side. Loureda played a counter-striker role, allowing Turner to initiate many of the exchanges.
Turned utilized her reach advantage, often keeping the fight at a range where she could land kicks and jabs. Loureda came into closer range to unload with combinations, often connecting with hooks to Turner.
Loureda took her first pro loss in May, losing a unanimous decision to Hannah Guy.
Turner now has a negative pro record of five wins and eight losses. She entered the weekend riding the momentum of a victory she scored on the regional scene in September.
Bout 2: Waldo Cortes-Acosta (3-0) vs. Mo DeReese (9-4) (Heavyweight)
Undefeated Heavyweight Cortes-Acosta Scores Win Over PFL Vet DeReese
Undefeated heavyweight Waldo Cortes-Acota scored a big win in his Bellator debut, going three rounds against veteran Mo DeReese for a unanimous decision win (30-27. 30-27 & 30-27).
The performance was a dominant one in general for Cortes-Acosta. He was able to hurt DeReese with strikes in every round, although he was never able to do enough to close out the fight.
DeReese was in trouble in the opening round, as a sharp overhand right stunned him on the feet. Cortes-Acosta was able to follow-up with numerous shots afterward, although his flurry eventually slowed down.
DeReese was hurt again by punches in the second round, but he was able to remain in the fight again.
A large portion of the final round was in a body lock position against the cage, where Cortes-Acosta periodically landed punches to the head of DeReese.
Cortes-Acosta has now earned three wins since returning to MMA this year.
DeReese was appearing for the first time following an eight-fight run in major promotion PFL. While he lost both of his fights in the promotion’s 2021 regular season, he entered the weekend with the momentum of a non-tournament PFL win over Carl Seumanutafa.
Bout 1: Mahmoud Sebie (2-0) vs. Ethan Hughes (2-0) (Welterweight)
Underdog Hughes Wins Bellator Debut, Hands Sebie First Pro Loss
Ethan Hughes scored a big upset win in his Bellator debut, scoring Mahmoud Sebie in the third round with ground and pound shots.
Hughes finished the fight late from a full mount position. Sebie had scored a takedown to start the round minutes before, but Hughes eventually took a controlling position and worked towards a finish.
The fight was going shifting in Hughes’ favor before the closing sequence.
Sebie’s sharp striking was on display in the opening round. He scored some solid shots to start the fight, doing slightly visible damage to Hughes’ face. Hughes caused trouble on the ground for Sebie, threatening with an armbar attempt at one point.
Hughes started to succeed with his striking much more in the second round, out-landing Sebie and connecting with the better shots. He connected clean numerous times in the frame with uppercuts that hurt Sebie.
The fight was a clash between two rookies who had yet to lose before Friday.
Hughes now has three pro wins since his debut in February. He was a big underdog heading into Friday, with sportsbooks listing him as a +700 underdog.
Sebie scored two wins on the regional scene earlier this year, stopping both opponents within two minutes. He also competed in a bare-knuckle MMA fight, which he won within a round as well.
Sebie also entered the fight with notoriety, including an Instagram page with over 1,000,000 followers.