Bellator 249 results, highlights: Cris Cyborg retains title in dominating fashion with first career submission

Throughout a legendary career spanning 15 years as a women's MMA pioneer, Cris Cyborg had yet to record a submission victory as a professional entering Thursday's Bellator 249 card. It took less than two rounds for that factoid to need updating as Cyborg continued to evolve her game deep into her career. 

Cyborg (23-2, 1 NC) made the first defense of her Bellator MMA women's featherweight title with a dominant second-round submission win over top contender Arlene Blencowe (13-8) inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. 

A former Strikeforce and UFC champion, the 35-year-old Cyborg showcased not just an increasingly patient striking attack but an ever-growing ground game that included two takedowns and a submission finish via rear-naked choke. 

"I was really working hard because I wanted my first submission in MMA. I never did that before," Cyborg said. "This is a dream come true. I'm very happy and excited for the next one." 

Blencowe, a 37-year-old native of Australia, had only lost in the previous five years under the Bellator banner to the same fighter twice by close decision in former champion Julia Budd. But that's the same fighter Cyborg demolished in January to capture her 145-pound crown and she made even quicker work of Blencowe by using inside leg kicks and pressure to force her back to the cage at will. 

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After a lengthy standing clinch in the opening round, Cyborg swept Blencowe to secure the takedown and quickly moved to full mount before raining down clean punches. Although Blencowe was able to return to her feet shortly before the bell, the offensive surge from the champion only continued in Round 2.

Cyborg ducked a left hook and came forward to draw blood from Blencowe's nose with a flurry of power shots. A takedown followed before Cyborg began to score with punches from full mount, which led Blencowe to give up her back and tapped out at 2:36 of the round.

"This is amazing. I can hear my corner [in the empty arena] and it's like a video game," Cyborg said. "I trained really hard. I always have to improve my game and get better and better." 

The next challenger to Cyborg's title could come from the winner of a proposed (but not signed) bout between Budd and former UFC bantamweight title challenger Cat Zingano. When asked whom she preferred to fight next, Cyborg stuck to her guns by continuing to refuse to call opponents out.

"Now the division has so many girls and I'm very happy here in Bellator," Cyborg said. "[Bellator MMA president] Scott Coker is the man who will tell me who is next and I just have to be ready." 

CBS Sports was with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut with our live blog below.

Bellator 249 card, results

  • Cris Cyborg (c) def. Arlene Blencowe via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
  • Leandro Higo def. Ricky Bandejas via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
  • Steve Mowry def. Shawn Teed via first-round TKO (knee, punches)
  • Saad Awad vs. Mandel Nallo ends in no contest (groin strike)
  • Andrew Kapel def. Joseph Creer via second-round TKO (doctor stoppage)
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October 16, 2020, 4:14 AM
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October 16, 2020, 3:54 AM
@BellatorMMA via Twitter
October 16, 2020, 3:54 AM

R2: Cyborg takes her back and slips in the choke and that will do it. Absolute domination.

R2: Huge punches rein down from the top. Blencowe trying her best merely to survive.

R2: Cyborg takes Blencowe down and moves to full mount again. This is complete domination.

R2: Cyborg ducks a left hook and lands punches of her own. She pins Blencowe against the cage and starts teeing off. Blencowe is bleeding from her nose.

ROUND 2: Hard inside leg kick from the champion. Blencowe blocks a high kick. Nice patience from Cyborg to set up her strikes. She is a completely different fighter these days in that regard.

R1: Two kicks to the body and a pair of left hooks land for Cyborg before the bell. 10-9 for the champ.

R1: Cyborg working hard for the choke after taking her back. They stand up but Cyborg hangs on to a body lock and lands a knee.

R1: Blencowe could be in trouble here. Cyborg flattens her out and pins all her weight down from mount. Big punches cause Blencowe to give up her back.

R1: Short elbow from side mount for Cyborg. She moves to full mount with short punches.

R1: Cyborg works knees and short right hands from the clinch. Nice sweep to get the takedown.

R1: Right hand to the body from the champion. Nice jab and left hook combo from Blencowe. Cyborg ties her up in the clinch against the cage.

ROUND 1: Inside leg kick from Blencowe. Cyborg answers with a snapping leg kick of her own.

And here comes the champion Cris Cyborg. She holds a two-inch advantage in height and nearly five inches in reach.

Blencowe begins her walk to the cage and sports a record of 7-2 under the Bellator banner over the past five years. Her only defeats came by close decision to former champion Julia Budd.

Up next is our main event pairing women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg against No. 1 contender Arlene Blencowe.

@BellatorMMA via Twitter
October 16, 2020, 3:08 AM
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