This past weekend at Bellator 271, one of the greatest female fighters of all time returned to defend her featherweight crown. Cris Cyborg (25-2) headlined the event when she took on Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh (7-5).
Of course, Cyborg was a massive betting favorite and nobody really gave Kavanagh a shot at Bellator 271. In fact, the biggest storyline of the main event was more about who was sitting front and center to watch the event.
Kayla Harrison (12-0) is the hottest free agent in the sport right now. The two-time PFL champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist was there to watch Cyborg as Harrison is currently trying to figure out where she wants to go next.
Cyborg’s job was to make Harrison interested in fighting her. Harrison is someone who always wants to take on the best and maybe that fueled Cyborg. In her last few Bellator appearances, Cyborg has been much more calculated and measured than we’ve seen her in the past.
However, all of that went out the window at Bellator 271. Cyborg ran through Sinead Kavanagh and threw caution to the wind. The champion was able to land a clean right hand just over a minute in that knocked Kavanagh out.
Harrison to Bellator?
Kayla Harrison got the free agent treatment at Bellator 271. She was shown at the broadcast and Big John McCarthy asked Cyborg about Harrison in her post-fight interview. During the question, the camera panned to the two-time PFL champion who had a big smile on her face.
To me, the race for Harrison is going to come down to PFL and Bellator. I don’t see the UFC getting involved at a high level due to the fact that there’s only one real top fight for Harrison right now. That fight would be with Amanda Nunes who is her teammate and close friend.
With that, I think Harrison is zeroing in on PFL and Bellator. PFL has made her a star and they are going to do everything they can to keep her. However, the competitor in her might want to jump over to Bellator to take on the likes of Cris Cyborg.
From the beginning, I’ve favored Bellator in her free agency. I think they can pay her a very good wage and I think the competition is there. However, this is something that is extremely fluid and until Harrison signs, I wouldn’t be shocked by anything.