Usually, Cris Cyborg makes opponents submit to her fists. This time, she did it with a choke.
Cyborg battered Arlene Blencowe before securing a second-round submission to notch the first defense of her Bellator featherweight title and her first career submission in the headliner of Bellator 249, which took place Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and aired live on CBS Sports Network.
Cyborg made the bloody Blencowe tap at the 2:36 mark of the second round via rear-naked choke. The submission brought a merciful end to a barrage of punishment she unleashed in a vintage turn.
“This is like a video game, and I felt ready,” Cyborg said afterward. “I started training hard after Julia Budd. I have to always improve my game.”
Cyborg let Blencowe, a former boxing champ, sneak in a few good punches as she closed distance to clinch. When she got her hands wrapped around the waist, though, Blencowe was on borrowed time, and it wasn’t long before the challenger was on her back.
In side control, Cyborg softened up Blencowe before taking mount and pounding away. When Blencowe rolled to her knees, an attempt to get out the back door was rendered moot by Cyborg’s heavy punches under her arms. Blencowe got up, and more heavy shots slammed into her to close the opening frame.
The second round saw Cyborg charge forward, throwing punches and kicks in bunches. One rough exchange bloodied Blencowe’s nose, sending her backward, obviously wounded. A takedown followed, and Cyborg quickly took mount before cinching the fight-ending choke.
“I was really working hard for my first submission in MMA,” said Cyborg. “This is a dream come true.”
Cyborg declined to call her shot, leaving her next opponent to Bellator President Scott Coker.