Amid a bevy of big announcements from Bellator MMA on Friday, including the reveal of its new cable home on CBS Sports Network, the promotion has lined up a women's featherweight title atop the Bellator 249 card on Oct. 15. Female pioneer Cris Cyborg (22-2, 1 NC) will make the first defense of her Bellator 145-pound title against top contender Arlene Blencowe in the main event of a special Thursday night card in primetime (9 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).
"This is going to be a rock 'em sock 'em fight," Bellator MMA president Scott Coker said Friday while breaking the news on CBS Sports HQ. "Arlene is no joke, she'll be tough in this title shot. And Cyborg is the greatest female mixed martial arts fighter of all time, period. Cyborg is Cyborg; her and I have been friends for a long time and she fought for me back in the day [in Strikeforce]. Now she's over here and she had a great fight against Julia Budd and now we are expecting fireworks."
The 35-year-old Cyborg is fresh off a fourth-round TKO of Julia Budd in January to claim the featherweight title in her Bellator debut. A former Strikeforce and UFC champion, Cyborg has won two straight since Amanda Nunes snapped a 20-fight unbeaten streak with a first-round knockout at UFC 232 in 2018.
Blencowe, a native of Australia, has won her last three fights including a decision over UFC alum Leslie Smith last November. The 37-year-old has only tasted defeat inside the Bellator cage against the very elite -- Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd (twice) -- including an unsuccessful challenge of Budd's title in 2017 which ended via split decision.
"We are so excited here," Coker said. "It's going to be great to have a sports platform [now that we are] coming to CBS Sports Network and all the other platforms they have."
The Bellator 249 fight card will emanate from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, where Bellator and Showtime Boxing have shared a COVID-free "bubble" throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic.