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Bellator 249 predictions, preview for ‘Cyborg vs Blencowe’

Bellator 238 Julia Budd v Cris Cyborg Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Bellator 249: “Cyborg vs. Blencowe” comes to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., tomorrow evening (Thurs., Oct. 15, 2020), airing on CBS Sports Network. A champion crowned back in January will finally receiver her first chance to defend the world title.

Let’s break it down:

145 lbs.: Cris Cyborg (22-2, 1 NC) vs. Arlene Blencowe (13-7)

I’m going to say it’s virtually impossible for someone to have followed mixed martial arts in the last ten years and not have heard of Cris Cyborg. Despite that I’ll give any potential newcomers a brief summary — Cristiane Justino Venâncio is called “Cris Cyborg” because she’s a relentless killing machine. She may have gotten the nickname from her former husband, but it took her no time at all to surpass him in fame, prestige, and reputation. With 18 of 22 wins (82%) coming by knockout, she’s as devastating in her weight class as any fighter at any weight in any combat sport. She came to Bellator MMA and steamrolled a woman unbeaten for almost a decade. Cyborg is that good.

“Angerfist” Arlene Blencowe may seem hopelessly outmatched (undoubtedly the oddsmakers will show no mercy) but she has more than a puncher’s chance in this fight. After a somewhat middling start to her career, she’s won six out of her last seven bouts, with her only loss in that time being a split decision against former champion Julia Budd. Just over 50% of her wins (seven of 13) are by knockout, so her nickname suits her well. She will be competitive in the fight, she won’t go down without a fight, but ultimately she will go down. It took Cyborg four rounds to finish Julia Budd, but the end came anyway, and this time around it will come much sooner.

Final prediction: Cris Cyborg via second round knockout

155 lbs.: Patricky Freire (23-9) vs. Jaleel Willis (13-2)

I’m going to make this one short and sweet — “Pitbull” wins handily. Nothing in the record of Willis suggests he’s capable of hanging with a striker as experienced as Freire with the deadly knockout power that he has.

Final prediction: Patricky Freire via first round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Ricky Bandejas (13-4) vs. Leandro Higo (19-5)

Ricky Bandejas had strong back to back knockout wins before he ran into Sergio Pettis in July. Leandro Higo had back to back losses before he submitted Shawn Bunch at Bellator 228. Bandejas is 5’7”, 28 years old, and has a 70” reach. Higo is 5’8”, 31 years old, and has a 72” reach. Their stats are therefore incredibly comparable with a mild youth advantage to Bandejas and a minor reach advantage to Higo. The only telling difference between the two is that 46% of Bandejas’ wins (six of 13) come by knockout, while 58% of Higo’s wins (11 of 19) come by submission. On a card that features fellow “Pitbull” Patricky Freire, they can benefit from being teammates even in quarantine to sharpen each other’s iron.

Final prediction: Leandro Higo via third round submission

155 lbs.: Saad Awad (23-13) vs. Mandel Nallo (7-1)

Saad Awad has lost three straight fights while Nallo has only been on the losing end of a fight due to suffering a leg injury in the third round of his last bout. Advantage Nallo.

Final prediction: Mandel Nallo via knockout

That’s a wrap! will deliver coverage of Bellator 249 tomorrow evening on CBS Sports Network. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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