The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio,
defended her Bellator women’s featherweight title, beating Leslie Smith by TKO at 4 minutes, 51 seconds of the fifth round in the main event of Bellator 259 on Friday night at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
It was a rematch of a 2016 bout that Cyborg finished via TKO in just 1:21.
Known for her violent, quick finishes, Cyborg previously had been deeper than the third round only three times in her career. Smith is only the second fighter to take Cyborg into the fifth round, joining former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.
ESPN has Cyborg ranked No. 3 on its women’s MMA pound-for-pound list. Her only loss since her pro debut in 2005 came against Amanda Nunes, the UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion.
In their first fight at UFC 198 five years ago, Smith disputed the stoppage as being too early. She got some measure of vindication Saturday night, but the outcome wasn’t really ever in doubt.
Cyborg dominated every round, landing big combinations and several impactful suplexes that sent Smith hard to the mat. Cyborg dropped Smith in four out of five rounds with punches. Many of Cyborg’s former opponents have folded after feeling her power, but Smith didn’t until the closing seconds.
“I knew she’s tough,” Cyborg said in her postfight interview. “I knew. I’ve met her before. I know her. I really respect her. She’s a real fighter.” With time expiring in the fifth round, Cyborg landed a crushing right hand that dropped Smith. She then followed up with big punches on the ground. Smith turned over and covered up, but Cyborg continued the onslaught, and referee Dan Miragliottastepped in and waved it off.
Afterward, Cyborg called out former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano for her next title defense. Zingano is 2-0 in Bellator and coming off a finish last month.
Cyborg (24-2, 1 NC) picked up her second Bellator title defense Saturday night. The Brazil native, who trains out of Southern California, has won four straight overall. She has 19 career wins via KO/TKO in 24 victories. Cyborg is the only fighter in MMA history to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.
The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio, will put her Bellator women’s featherweight title on the line against Leslie Smithon May 21.
Cyborg beat Smith in 2016 in what was Cyborg’s UFC debut. Cyborg (23-2, 1 NC) is one of the best female fighters of all time. She is coming off a second-round submission win over Arlene Blencowe last October. That was Cyborg’s first title defense.
Cyborg stopped Julia Buddby fourth-round TKO in January 2020 to win the title. That victory made Cyborg the first fighter to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta.
Since 2005, Cyborg has been defeated only by UFC double champion Amanda Nunes. Cyborg left the UFC when her contract expired in 2019 after a rocky tenure.
Smith (12-8-1) has won four of her past five fights. The California native is coming off a unanimous decision over Amanda Belllast September.
Smith was finished by Cyborg in 1:21 at UFC 198 on May 14, 2016, but disputed that, saying it was an early stoppage.
She is best known for her attempts to organize MMA fighters, who don’t have a union or association.
The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts history, absolutely thrashed No. 1 featherweight contender Megan Anderson.
Nunes (21-4) forced Anderson (10-5) to tap to an armbar at 2:03 of the opening round of their featherweight title fight at UFC 259 inside the Apex. In all likelihood, she could’ve finished the fight any way she wanted. She rocked Anderson with a right hand in the opening minute, a shot that had the challenger on skates. Anderson was so hurt, she actually shot a takedown on Nunes, which led to a finish on the ground.
With the victory, Nunes defended her 145-pound title for the second time. She’s also still in control of the 135-pound bantamweight title. She is one of only three champions in UFC history to defend titles in multiple weight classes, and she holds UFC records for the women’s divisions in wins (14), finishes (10) and wins in title fights (9).
“The plan was exactly how I finished the fight,” Nunes said. “I’m here. It’s not my fault [I’m this dominant]. I know there are a lot of girls out there who want this opportunity. Who wants it?”
Anderson was a plus-700 underdog going into the fight — and that might not have been high enough. She did enough to earn a shot at Nunes in the 145-pound weight class, but she looked shell-shocked from the opening bell. Nunes slipped in a fastball overhand right early on, and it was all survival instincts from Anderson from then on. She ate several more right hands, before desperately attempting a takedown.
Nunes, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, easily stuffed the shot and moved to top position. She set up a triangle armbar attempt almost instantly and quickly produced the fourth submission win of her career. She extended her win streak to 12 overall, which is the second longest in the UFC behind only welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Nunes and her wife, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff, brought their infant daughter, Raegan, into the Octagon after the win. Nunes, who was born in Brazil but trains in Florida, had Raegan at her side all fight week.
“I’m more dangerous now with my little girl,” Nunes said. “No one is stopping me.”
The UFC has not indicated any long-term plans for its 145-pound division, but there is no one in the foreseeable future for Nunes to fight at that weight. Her next move will almost assuredly be at bantamweight, where she has held the title since UFC 200 in 2016. She has defeated all of the sport’s biggest names, including Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborgand Germaine de Randamie.
A featherweight title fight between the 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, a two-weight champion, and Megan Andersonhas been rebooked for March 6, according to UFC officials.
The 145-pound championship fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 256 on December 12, however Nunes was forced to withdraw because of health issues. The UFC has not formally announced a name or location for the March 6 card, however it’s expected to be a UFC 259 pay-per-view event.
Originally from Brazil now fighting out of Florida, Nunes (20-4) is the No. 1 pound-for-pound female fighter in the world according to ESPN. This will mark the second consecutive defense of her featherweight title. She also holds the UFC’s 135-pound bantamweight championship, which she last defended against Germaine de Randamiein December 2019.
Anderson (10-4) is a former Invicta FC featherweight champion, with a 3-2 record in the UFC. She has finished both of her last two fights in the first round, and has recorded finishes in all but one of her pro wins.
Cyborg has won two straight after losing the UFC women’s featherweight title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 in December 2018.
Cyborg departed the UFC after her contract expired last year. She’s one of the most fearsome women’s MMA fighters of all time with 18 KO/TKO finishes in 22 pro wins.
Blencowe (13-7) has won three straight and is coming off a unanimous decision win over UFC veteran Leslie Smith last November. The Australia native has just two MMA losses in the past five years, both to Budd. Blencowe, a 37-year-old boxing veteran, has seven KO/TKOs in 13 pro wins.
The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, better known as Cris Cyborg, has signed with Bellator MMA after a three-year run with the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC).
One of the best women’s fighters in the history of the sport is now under a multiyear, multi-bout contract with Bellator, promotion president Scott Coker announced via Twitter. Coker wrote that it was the biggest contract ever given to a women’s MMA fighter.
Cyborg accompanied Bellator’s announcement with a video message to her fans on Facebook.
“My goal is to become the only female fighter to hold four different major titles in the same division,” said Cyborg, who has already held the women’s featherweight title in the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.
The final fight on Cyborg’s UFC contract came against Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 in July, a bout Cyborg won via unanimous decision.
The fighter and UFC president Dana Whitehave had a long history of butting heads, and White said in the aftermath of that bout the UFC was out of the Cyborg business. The UFC waived its 90-day exclusive negotiating window with the Brazilian knockout artist, making her a free agent.
Cyborg, who is No. 3 pound-for-pound among women in ESPN‘s MMA rankings, won the UFC women’s featherweight title by beating Tonya Evinger by third-round TKO at UFC 214 in July 2017. She dropped the belt to Amanda Nunes, also the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champ, at UFC 232 last December via first-round knockout. That defeat was Cyborg’s first in 13 years, since her pro MMA debut in 2005.
From 2005 until 2018, Cyborg was the most dominating and fearsome force in women’s mixed martial arts. Justino went undefeated and won 17 of 20 victories by finish. Cyborg has beaten the likes of Holly Holm, Marloes Coenen and Gina Carano. Historically, she has also been one of the best-known women’s MMA fighters in the world, drawing solid numbers on television and pay-per-view.
“I have worked with countless athletes over my 30-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like Cyborg,” said Coker, who promoted Justino with Strikeforce. “Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again. Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator, where champion Julia Budd and the other women that make up best female featherweight division in the world have eagerly awaited her arrival.”
Cyborg was brought into the UFC in 2016 at a catchweight of 140 pounds. She had competed previously at 145 pounds, a more natural weight. The idea at the time was to set up a fight between Cyborg and Ronda Rousey, but it never materialized. Cyborg was too big to get down to Rousey’s 135-pound weight class and Rousey departed the UFC later in 2016.
Cyborg and the UFC had an embattled relationship even before Cyborg was under contract. In 2014, White infamously made fun of Cyborg for her appearance at an MMA awards show, saying she looked like male fighter Wanderlei Silva in a dress. Cyborg took it as White saying she looked like a man; White has said that he was making a comment on Cyborg’s past history with performance-enhancing drugs. Cyborg tested positive for a steroid and was stripped of her Strikeforce title in 2011.
After Nunes beat Cyborg last December, White repeatedly said Cyborg didn’t want a rematch, which Cyborg vehemently denied. Meanwhile, Cyborg said she felt the UFC never truly built out a women’s featherweight division in which she could compete, which was a valid criticism.
On Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show in July, Cyborg said she wanted a public apology from White as a condition of her re-signing with the UFC.
“Of course, he has to apologize,” Justino said. “I think he has family, he has kids. … I don’t know if he has a heart, but I think one thing he’s doing is not just touching me, because he doesn’t like me. He’s touching the people around me, he’s touching my family. It’s not right.”
The rocky relationship came to an end in earnest after UFC 240 when Cyborg’s team posted a doctored video online that inaccurately quoted White in subtitles while talking to Cyborg backstage in Edmonton, Alberta. Cyborg apologized on social media, but White said in an interview on the UFC’s YouTube channel that the promotion was done with Cyborg.
“I’m going to release her from her contract and I will not match any offers [she receives],” White said. “She is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other promotions and fight these easy fights she wants. Done. Done deal. I will literally, today, have my lawyer draft a letter to [Justino’s team saying] that she is free and clear.”
In the Bellator release announcing her signing, it makes note of the promotion’s healthy women’s featherweight division, including Budd, who has won 11 straight.
The 31-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artistand two-weight UFC champion will defend her 135-pound title against Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 on December 14, according to ESPN.
Both sides have verbally agreed to the bantamweight championship, and the pay-per-view event will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN.
UFC officials have not confirmed the bout’s official placement on the card.
Nunes (18-4) is the current champion of the 135- and 145-pound weight classes. She’s coming off the fourth defense of her bantamweight title in July, a head kick knockout of Holly Holm at UFC 239.
Originally from Brazil, now fighting out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, Nunes is ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by ESPN.
De Randamie (9-3), of the Netherlands, is a former featherweight champion. She won the 145-pound belt in February 2017 by defeating Holm. However, she was stripped of the belt later that year when she refused to face No. 1 contender Cris “Cyborg” Justinoover concerns of prior use of performance-enhancing drugs.
De Randamie has since elevated herself to the status of No. 1 contender at 135 pounds with wins over Raquel Pennington and Aspen Ladd.
Amanda Nunesis making the case to be considered the greatest women’s MMAfighter of all time…
The 31-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter defeated Holly Holm by TKO on Saturday to retain her women’s bantamweight title.
Nunes landed a right head kick to Holm’s face and followed up with a hard right hand on the ground. The TKO finish came at 4 minutes, 10 seconds in the first round of the co-main event of UFC 239at T-Mobile Arena.
Nunes said she’d told her coach beforehand that she wanted to stop Holm with a head kick, because that is Holm’s signature technique. Holm had the only other head-kick knockout in a UFC women’s bantamweight title fight, against Ronda Rouseyin 2015.
Coming in, Nunes, also the featherweight champion, had beaten every other former UFC women’s bantamweight or featherweight champion outside of Holm, and now she has defeated Holm as well.
“I told my coaches I wanted to knock her out the same way she knocks people out,” Nunes said. “I did it tonight. She was the only former champion I didn’t beat yet. Now I beat her, and I’m very happy.”
Nunes (17-4) said that she next wanted to defend her featherweight belt to become the only UFC champion to defend two titles while holding them concurrently.
The Brazilian fighter, who trains out of American Top Teamin Florida, has won nine bouts in a row. Nunes, 31, has four first-round finishes in title fights, tied for second with Matt Hughes. Rousey is first with five.
UFC president Dana Whitereiterated his stance that Nunes ranks among the greatest MMA fighters ever, putting her alongside the likes of Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.
White said he was open to booking a rematch between Nunes and Cris Cyborg, who lasted only 51 seconds against Nunes in December.
“This woman is tough, man,” White said of Nunes. “She’s unbelievable. Pound for pound, one of the greatest of all time. But there will be somebody next.”
Holm (12-5) had won two of her past three fights. The former three-division world champion boxer has now lost in four UFC title fights. Holm is only 2-5 since her knockout of Rousey at UFC 193.
The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and a former UFCHeavyweight Champion.has reportedly agreed to fight Francis Ngannou at UFC 239on July 6 in Las Vegas, according to ESPN.
The fight isn’t signed just yet, sources say, but is expected to be in the coming days.
This marks the second time the promotion has attempted to book this matchup. It was originally scheduled for UFC 215in September 2017, but it was ultimately canceled after the United States Anti-Doping Agencyprovisionally suspended Dos Santos for a possible performance-enhancing drug violation.
Dos Santos was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing when it was determined he unknowingly ingested a contaminated supplement that contained a banned substance.
Dos Santos (21-5) has won his past three fights. He most recently defeated Derrick Lewis via second-round TKOearlier this month.
Ngannou (13-3) is on a two-fight winning streak. The 32-year-old is coming off a 26-second knockout of Cain Velasquez in February.
The event, which will be headlined by Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos for the UFC light heavyweight title, will take place at T-Mobile Arenain Las Vegas. It will also feature Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm for the UFC bantamweight title.
The 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, the reigning champion in both the women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions in the UFC, will defend her 135-pound bantamweight title against Holly Holm in the co-main event of UFC 239on July 6 in Las Vegas.
Verbal agreements are in place for that fight as well, sources said.
The bout will be part of a pay-per-view event, which will take place at T-Mobile Arena.
Nunes (17-4) is a three-time defending bantamweight champion. She moved up to the 145-pound featherweight division in December and upset Cris “Cyborg” Justino in a first-round knockout for the UFC’s featherweight championship.
She trains out of American Top Teamin Coconut Creek, Florida.
Holm (12-4), of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is coming off a decision win against Megan Anderson last June. She was scheduled to fight Aspen Ladd in March, but that bout was ultimately canceled and Ladd has since been rescheduled.
She is the first woman in UFC history to become a two-division champion, in addition to also being the first and only woman in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously.