Cris Cyborg a free agent after Bellator 279 title defense; Where will she end up?

This past Saturday night in the main event of Bellator 279, the women’s featherweight title was on the line. One of the greatest of all time Cris Cyborg (26-2) was defending her title for the second time against the very tough Arlene Blencowe (15-9).

The two had previously fought at Bellator 249 with Cyborg getting the second round submission. It looked like this fight was going to end in a stoppage as well, but Blencowe wasn’t going to go out easy.

In the first half of the fight, Cyborg brutally dropped Blencowe with a right hand. The fight looked close to being stopped but Blencowe held on. She was able to hold on and take all the punishment that Cyborg dished out.

Not only was she able to take it, she came back and won a round at Bellator 279. While it might not sound like much, winning a round was a big win for Blencowe overall in the grand scheme of things. That being said, it was a runaway win for Cyborg and another successful title defense.

What’s next after Bellator 279?

With her victory on Saturday at Bellator 279, Cyborg officially hits the free agent market. Her first deal with the promotion comes to a close and she went 5-0 during this run which included winning the featherweight title and defending the belt four times.

That being said, she’s going to be open to suitors and she made it clear that she wants the biggest fights for her fans. Let’s address the biggest promotion in the room and that’s the UFC. Cyborg was the UFC featherweight champion before getting knocked out by Amanda Nunes.

Her and Dana White don’t have the greatest relationship and it’s really hard to see Cyborg going back. However, the UFC has done difficult deals in the past and if they could resign Tito Ortiz a couple of times, a Cyborg deal could get done. However, the Bellator champion is unlikely to return.

In my opinion, this is a two-horse race. This is going to come down to Bellator and PFL. When PFL resigned Kayla Harrison, they made a promise to her that they would do everything they can to get her a massive fight for her legacy.

That massive fight would be a showdown with Cyborg. The potential fight with Cyborg is why she almost signed with Bellator in the first place. With the incentive to build that massive fight, I think PFL is going to come strong with a big offer.

However, Bellator won’t go easy and I see them making a huge offer to retain Cyborg. Cyborg is also very happy with Bellator and has a great relationship with Scott Coker. If I was to make a guess today, I would say she resigns and stays with Bellator. However, it’s going to be interesting to watch.

Bellator 279 Preview: Will Juan Archuleta or Raufeon Stots become interim bantamweight champion?

Juan Archuleta

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 279, the Bantamweight Grand Prix will officially kick off. In the co-main event the interim bantamweight championship is on the line as former bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (25-3) as he takes on Raufeon Stots (17-1).

Now, originally Stots was supposed to face off against teammate and reigning Bellator champion Sergio Pettis. However, Pettis tore his ACL which forced him to withdrawal from the fight and the Grand Prix. Thus, we have this interim title fight.

Now, Stots takes on the man who Pettis beat for the title. Stots has been sensational since joining Bellator back in 2019. He’s been perfect at 5-0 and overall he’s won nine fights in a row leading up to tomorrow night.

However, he’s facing his toughest test to date in Juan Archuleta. Like Stots, Juan Archuleta has been sensational since joining Bellator. After signing back in 2018, he’s gone 7-2 which included capturing the bantamweight title.

His two losses have come against Sergio Pettis and at featherweight against Patricio Pitbull. He’s one of the best in the promotion for a reason and he’s ready to get back to the Bellator title tomorrow night.

Bellator 279 Prediction

I love this matchup and I think the two bantamweight fights are the true headliners for tomorrow night’s Bellator card. Raufeon Stots might be the best bantamweight in the promotion.

His wrestling and overall skillset is something to watch. He’s truly sensational with the pace that he can put on guys and his combination of speed and technique is fun to watch. His lone loss was due to a spinning backfist where he got caught. Outside of getting caught that one time, he’s been dominant his whole career.

However, claiming the interim Bellator title is not going to be an easy task. Juan Archuleta has tremendous skills and he’s very good on the feet. He trains with one of the best in the world in TJ Dillashaw and he’s going to be prepared for tomorrow night.

One thing we know about Juan Archuleta is that he’s battle tested and can go five rounds. We haven’t had to see that from Stots in his Bellator career. That might play a factor tomorrow night just like it did when Archuleta fought Patchy Mix.

However, I think this fight goes down differently. I think that Stots bags the first three rounds before the final two get very competitive. In the end, this goes to the scorecards and Stots has his crowning moment becoming Bellator’s interim bantamweight champion.

Prediction: Raufeon Stots by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 279 Preview: Kyoji Horiguchi – Patchy Mix

Kyoji Horiguchi

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 279, the Bantamweight Grand Prix will kick off. One of the featured bouts pairs former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4) against former title challenger Patchy Mix (15-1).

Out of all the opening matchups of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix, this is the one I’m the most excited for. In one corner, you have the former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi.

Horiguchi won the Bellator title back in 2019 and then vacated the belt. He returned to Bellator in December to try and win it back against Sergio Pettis. Horiguchi was dominating Pettis through three rounds. However, he was caught with spinning back fist in the fourth round and lost by KO.

Now, he’s looking to get back on track. Standing in his way is the grappling phenom Patchy Mix. Last time we saw Mix was back at Bellator 270 when he submitted James Gallagher in the third round of their fight.

Mix has won back-to-back fights since losing in his title fight against Juan Archuleta. This is a really tough fight for Mix, but if he can win, he will prove that he’s going to be a very tough out in the Bellator Grand Prix.

Bellator 279 Prediction

To me, this is going to be one of those fights that’s decided based on where it takes place. Let me be clear, Kyoji Horiguchi is one of the best fighters in the world, not just in Bellator.

He was walking through Sergio Pettis prior to getting clipped in December. Outside of that loss, he only has two other defeats since 2012. One was to Kai Asakura, a loss he’s already avenged, and the other was to arguably the greatest of all time in Demetrious Johnson.

Patchy Mix is insanely dangerous on the ground. If this Bellator 279 contest hits the mat, Mix can win by submission. However, I think we are going to see a lot of striking and it’s hard for me to see Mix outstriking¬†Horiguchi.

Mix will hold his own, but I expect Horiguchi to get the win here. Too much skill and I think he shows tomorrow night why he should be the favorite to win this Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.

Prediction: Kyoji Horiguchi by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 279 Preview: Is there any chance Cyborg loses her title?

Tomorrow night in the main event of Bellator 279, one of the greatest female fighters of all time returns to defend her title. Reigning featherweight champion Cris Cyborg (25-2) is back as she takes on Arlene Blencowe (15-8).

This fight is a rematch from 2020 when these two headlined Bellator 249. That night, Cyborg rolled through Blencowe on her way to picking up the second round submission. It was actually the first submission win in the career of Cyborg.

Since losing in her first title fight against Cyborg, Blencowe has looked solid. She’s fought twice most recently at Bellator 271 in November when she picked up a decision win over Pam Sorenson.

Cyborg has also fought twice since the first time her and Blencowe fought. She also last fought at Bellator 271 when she knocked out Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh in the first round with a vicious right hook to defend her title.

Bellator 279 Prediction

The odds on this main event are extremely lopsided and they should be. Since they first fought at Bellator 249, I haven’t really seen enough from¬†Blencowe that would lead me to believe that she’s the one to defeat Cyborg.

Cyborg has ran through every opponent that she’s fought in Bellator. Her contract is coming up and I really don’t see her losing this fight as she prepares to re-enter the free agent market.

Wherever Cyborg wants this fight to be, she’s going to take it there. Blencowe has very solid standup, but she’s at a huge power and speed disadvantage. Those advantages for Cyborg are so overwhelming that I just don’t see how Blencowe gets through them.

Cyborg is going to finish this fight quickly and retain her Bellator title. The storyline after this fight will not be the performance, it will be what comes next after her dominant victory.

Prediction: Cris Cyborg by TKO – Round 1

Bellator bantamweight grand prix kicks off in April with Pettis – Stots & Horiguchi – Mix

The highly anticipated 2022 Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix finally has it’s start date. It was announced yesterday that the Grand Prix will kick off in April and it’s starting with a bang with two massive fights.

At Bellator 279 which takes place on Saturday, April 23rd. The promotion is starting fast and furious with one fight on the card being Kyoji Horiguichi (29-4) – Patchy Mix (15-1).

Back at Bellator 272 in December, Horiguchi looked like he was well on his way to becoming bantamweight champion. He was completely dominating Sergio Pettis and it looked like he was going to recapture the Bellator title.

However, out of no where in the fourth round, Horiguchi was caught flush with a spinning back fist. That back fist knocked him out cold. The former champion is now 1-2 in his last three fights after only losing one fight between 2012 to 2019.

Standing in his way at Bellator 279 will be Patchy Mix. Mix had a title shot back in 2020 and like Horiguchi, it looked like he was on his way to becoming champion. However, he ultimately gassed out and lost to Juan Archuleta.

Since then, he’s bounced back strong with two straight wins. Most impressively was his win over James Gallagher at Bellator 270 where he submitted him. This matchup should be an absolute banger.

Bellator title on the line

Of course the headliner of the Bellator 279 event will be the bantamweight title fight between Sergio Pettis (22-5) and Raufeon Stots (17-1). Now, this fight has a very unique backstory that will unfold between now and the event.

Pettis and Stots are close friends and they both train together. With this event taking place, they are having to separate. All eyes will be on this fight between two men who know each other very well.

Pettis is a perfect 4-0 since joining Bellator after his stint with the UFC. He captured the title against Juan Archuleta and then defended it against Kyoji Horiguchi. Now, he’s going to be facing a teammate who has been surging.

Stots is a perfect 5-0 since joining Bellator. The only man to have defeated him in his professional career is top UFC contender Merab Dvalishvili. Now, he’s going to get the chance to finally prove that he’s the best bantamweight in the promotion.

Bellator books title fight between Cris Cyborg and Arlene Blencowe

Bellator announced some big things for April yesterday and one of the fights that was announced was a title fight in the women’s featherweight division. All-Time great and current champion Cris Cyborg (25-2) will be defending her title against Arlene Blencowe (15-8) for the second time.

The matchup will take place at Bellator 279 which goes down on April 23rd. As mentioned, this is the second time that Cyborg and Blencowe will fight for the Bellator featherweight title.

The first time these two fought was back at Bellator 249 in October of 2020. That night, Cris Cyborg was simply too much for Blencowe. Cyborg ran through her and stopped her in the second round with a submission.

However, since that loss, Blencowe has rebounded nicely. She has won back-to-back fights to put herself in a position to once again challenge Cyborg for the title at Bellator 279.

Cyborg’s Bellator Run

Now, this was not the original fight that the promotion wanted to book. The promotion had hopes of signing superstar Kayla Harrison and having her fight Cyborg at this event in April. Of course we learned yesterday that Harrison resigned with the PFL.

When it became apparent that Bellator wouldn’t be signing Harrison, they moved towards this rematch for the champion. Since joining Bellator, Cris Cyborg has been nothing short of completely dominant.

She’s had four fights with Bellator and she’s won all four while finishing all four opponents. The problem for Cyborg is that she’s running out of fights. Cat Zingano is really the only appealing opponent who she hasn’t already fought.

With the Zingano and Harrison fights not happening, things shifted here which is the next best thing. Now, Cyborg’s contract is coming up and should expire this year. This is definitely going to be something to watch and Bellator will do everything in their power to keep their champion.