Bellator 271: Cyborg vs. Kavanagh Preview

Cris Cyborg and Sinead Kavanagh pose at the Bellator 271 ceremonial weigh-ins.
Cris Cyborg and Sinead Kavanagh will headline Bellator 271 on Friday night (Lucas Noonan / Bellator)

Cris Cyborg has the chance to continue her dominant run as Bellator Featherweight Champion on Friday night when facing Sinead Kavanagh. Their five-round title bout will headline Bellator 271, which is set to happen at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, USA.

Here’s a full preview of the evening.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (7:00PM EST) (Youtube)

Bout 1: Mahmoud Sebie (2-0) vs. Ethan Hughes (2-0) (Welterweight)

Undefeated welterweights Mahmoud Sebie and Ethan Hughes will kick off the prelims.

Sebie has been a highly touted prospect since his debut early this year. He has earned a first-round stoppage win in both of his pro appearances and scored a fast win in rare bare-knuckle MMA.

Hughes is also still in his rookie year as a pro. He last fought in May, submitting Cris Mims within a round via rear naked choke.

Bout 2: Waldo Cortes-Acosta (3-0) vs. Mo DeReese (9-4) (Heavyweight)

Undefeated heavyweight prospect Waldo Cortes-Acosta will get his Bellator debut on the prelims, being paired against PFL alum Mo DeReese.

Cortes-Acosta currently has three wins as a pro. Two of those victories were recently on RUF events over the summer.

Along with his three MMA bouts, Cortes-Acosta has a 10-fight pro boxing record that includes six victories.

DeReese will be making his first appearance outside of the PFL since his participation in Season 23 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

DeReese competed in three seasons of PFL, posting a record of four wins and four losses through those years. He struck out this season, losing in both of his regular-season bouts. However, he enters Friday with the momentum of a win he scored over Carl Seumanutafa in a non-tournament bout from August.

Bout 3: Valerie Loureda (3-1) vs. Taylor Turner (5-7) (Catchweight 128 lbs)

Valerie Loureda will attempt to bounce back from her sole pro loss when facing Taylor Turner on Friday.

Loureda was one of Bellator’s rising prospects in 2019 and 2020, attaining three wins for the promotion in those years. That momentum was halted in May, as Hannah Guy fought to a decision victory against Loureda.

Loureda’s upcoming opponent, Turner, has a negative pro record of five wins and seven losses. She has appeared in Bellator before, fighting twice for them in 2019. She is coming off a win in her last fight, securing a 20-second submission win in September.

Bout 4: Cody Law (4-0) vs. Colton Hamm (4-3) (Featherweight)

Rising Bellator featherweight Cody Law will aim for his fifth pro win on Friday, fighting Colton Hamm.

Law is coming off an incredibly successful rookie year as a pro. He made his pro debut in October 2020, then went on to pick up three stoppage victories through four wins in total. His last fight was in July, where he stopped Theodore Macuka in the second minute of action with punches.

Hamm is fighting in Bellator for the first time in his career. His appearance Friday is part of an already busy year for him, as he has earned two wins and one loss since March.

Bout 5: Roman Faraldo (5-0) vs. Robert Turnquest (11-7) (Welterweight)

Welterweight finisher Roman Faraldo will search for his third Bellator win on the prelims, fighting experienced Robert Turnquest.

Faraldo has picked up two explosive wins since joining Bellator last year. His promotional debut saw him score a flying knee to finish Pat Casey in the second round.

Faraldo’s last appearance was in April, where he finished Trevor Gudde within a round with punches.

Turnquest has fought 18 times since turning pro in 2014. His appearance Friday is coming after a slight layoff, having last competed in September 2019.

Turnquest missed weight by a large amount on Thursday, coming in nearly seven pounds over the non-championship limit for welterweight.

Bout 6: Bruna Ellen (5-3) vs. Desiree Yanez (5-3) (Flyweight)

Flyweights Bruna Ellen and Desiree Yanez will meet on Friday’s prelims.

Yanez is currently on a two-fight losing streak. She lost her Bellator debut in April, dropping a majority decision to Veta Arteaga.

Ellen will be making her return in Friday’s bout. She has fought in Bellator six times before, although she has been out of the cage since late 2019. Her last bout was against Juliana Velasquez, who beat her via unanimous decision.

Bout 7: Steve Mowry (9-0) vs. Rakim Cleveland (22-13-1) (Heavyweight)

Undefeated heavyweight Steve Mowry will get a big test on Friday, facing veteran Rakim Cleveland in the feature prelim bout of the card.

Mowry has an impressive record of nine wins – all of which came within the distance. He has been on the Bellator roster since 2018, and five of those wins have come in their cage.

His last fight lasted less than a minute, as he stopped Shaun Asher with strikes in April.

Cleveland is a big step-up in competition for Mowry. Cleveland has 36 fights as a pro – that’s just two more than the combined record of all previous opponents Mowry has fought in Bellator.

The former PFL fighter has torn up the regional scene this year, scoring three stoppage wins since March.

Main Card (10:00PM EST) (Showtime)

Bout 8: Arlene Blencowe (14-8) vs. Pam Sorenson (9-3) (Featherweight)

Before the featherweight title bout ends the evening, 145-pound veterans Arlene Blencowe and Pam Sorenson will open the main card.

Blencowe challenged Cris Cyborg in October, losing via second-round submission. She bounced back from that defeat in July, stopping Dayana Silva in the third round of a bout.

Sorenson won her Bellator debut in August, defeating Roberta Paim via split decision at Bellator 264. She had claimed a belt on the regional scene before then, defeating Kaitlin Young to become the Invicta FC Featherweight Champion in 2019.

Bout 9: Aaron Pico (8-3) vs. Justin Gonzales (12-0) (Featherweight)

Bellator veteran Aaron Pico will attempt to continue his successful run in the promotion when facing undefeated fighter Justin Gonzales on Friday’s main card.

Pico has spent his entire pro career in Bellator. His run as a pro has seen him score big stoppage wins throughout. Now nearly a dozen fights into his career, Pico has yet to go the distance in a fight. He is currently on a strong four-fight winning streak.

He last fought in June, submitting Aiden Lee with an anaconda choke.

Gonzales picked up his first Bellator victory in June, defeating Tywan Claxton via split decision. Before then, Gonzales fought to become an LFA Featherweight Champion and scored a win on UFC TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Bout 10: Tyrell Fortune (11-1) vs. Linton Vassell (21-8) (Heavyweight)

Tyrell Fortune will go up against another veteran in Friday’s co-main event, fighting Linton Vassell at heavyweight.

Fortune has developed in Bellator since his 2016 debut. He has won his past three bouts, with two of those victories being first-round stoppages. He defeated a big name in his last outing, stopping Matt Mitrione with strikes in July.

Vassell is an experienced fighter that has been on the Bellator roster since 2013. He has spent most of his time as a pro at light heavyweight, although he made the move up to heavyweight in 2019.

After losing his heavyweight debut to Valentin Moldavsky, Vassell has scored a win over Sergei Kharitonov and Ronny Markes.

Bout 11: Cris Cyborg (24-2) vs. Sinead Kavanagh (7-4) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)

Cris Cyborg will look to defend her Bellator Featherweight Championship for the third time when fighting Sinead Kavanagh in Saturday’s main event.

Cyborg, a former UFC Champion, won the Bellator Featherweight Championship in her early 2020 promotional debut. After dethroning former long-time champ Julia Budd, Cyborg has since finished Arlene Blencowe and Leslie Smith in title fights.

Kavanagh is an eight-fight Bellator vet. Her promotional record is currently an even four wins and four losses. She enters Friday on a two-fight winning streak, with her last fight being an October 2020 win over Katharina Lehner.

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