The Cris Cyborg era at Bellator is underway in full force following Saturday night’s event in Inglewood, Calif.
Former featherweight champion Julia Budd gave a solid accounting of herself in the fight, but Cyborg was too much for her.
Cyborg came into the fight with a goal of becoming the first fighter to ever hold championships under the UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, and Invicta FC banners. She did so, but it wasn’t one of her patented first-round destructions of yesteryear.
Budd started strong, putting Cyborg on the fence early and using her strength to keep her there, but whenever they separated, it was clear that Cyborg was swinging with full force, looking for the knockout, but not overextending herself in doing so.
They clinched several more times in the second round, but Cyborg started to pick up steam, slowly, but steadily outworking Budd in the clinch. She drove home the harder knees and landed better punches and elbows off of the break.
The third round is where the fight started to turn fully to Cyborg’s favor. She landed some hard shots to the body and drove Budd to the canvas. Cyborg stood over her dropping punches from standing before eventually passing guard and landing in side control. She worked Budd over, moving to mount and dropping heavy punches as the round closed.
Budd’s corner sounded desperate, imploring her to take the fight back, but the damage had been done and Cyborg was now unstoppable.
Cyborg stormed across the cage, driving Budd back to the fence with a flurry of punches and kicks, mixing shots to the body, head, and legs. Unleashing a fury on her, Cyborg landed one final shot to the body that sent Budd crumpling to the canvas, the referee quickly stepping in and pushing Cyborg away.
Elated, Cyborg fell onto her back, victorious, achieving her goal of becoming a champion in four major fight promotions.
“I trained really hard for this title. I respect Julia, she stayed long time undefeated,” Cyborg said after the fight.
“Every step in my career, I learn something. This is a new era. I’m very happy to be Bellator champion.”
Darrion Caldwell stormed into the next round of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix with an impressive victory over Adam Borics.
Caldwell rocked Borics with a left hand and then stormed forward until he could secure a takedown. Once on the canvas, Caldwell worked his way behind Borics and sank in a rear-naked choke forcing the tapout at 2:20 of the first round.
“This is my night. This is my tournament,” Caldwell said after the fight before he shot some words at his next opponent in the tournament, undefeated AJ McKee. “You want some, come get some!”
Juan Archuleta and Henry Corrales fought a rather reserved fight for two men that were expected to throw down. Both were swinging throughout the bout, but neither landed a lot of solid blows and seemed hesitant to fully engage. After three rounds, the judges awarded Archuleta a unanimous decision victory.
UFC veteran Sergio Pettis made the jump to Bellator after fulfilling his most recent contract. He wasted no time making his presence known in the promotion’s bantamweight division. It took him just three minutes to find an opening to drop Alfred Khashakyan to the floor.
Pettis followed him down and unloaded with numerous punches before securing a guillotine choke that put Khashakyan to sleep.
Bellator 238: Budd vs. Cyborg results
Cris Cyborg def. Julia Budd via TKO (punches) at 1:14, R4
Darrion Caldwell def. Adam Borics via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:20, R1
Juan Archuleta def. Henry Corrales via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sergio Pettis def. Alfred Khashakyan via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:00, R1
Raymond Daniels def. Jason King via TKO (strikes) at 3:07, R1
Emilee King def. Ava Knight via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:18, R1
Joshua Jones def. Brandon Bender via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Aaron Pico def. Daniel Carey via KO (punch) at 0:15, R2
AJ Agazarm def. Adel Altamimi via submission (triangle choke) at 1:22, R3
Jay-Jay Wilson def. Mario Navarro via submission (armbar) at 2:48, R2
Miguel Jacob def. David Pacheco via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Anthony Taylor def. Chris Avila via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Curtis Millender def. Moses Murrietta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)