Arlene Blencowe hasn’t fought at home since April 2017.
Bellator has been well-traveled throughout its 14-year existence. The company made history as the first mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion to host an event in France, beat Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to Hawaii, consistently hosts events in Ireland, and even trekked to Russia and Japan within the past five years.
Oceania hasn’t received the same level of love, however, and Bellator’s best Australian fighter, Blencowe, hopes to change that shortly.
“I’ve had conversations with people,” Blencowe told MMA Mania. “I’ll be hanging on for more contracts until [then] cause I’m not being signed to Bellator for eight years and not being that person that fights at home, so hopefully pretty soon.
“The interest is there,” she continued. “Bellator’s getting a good name in Australia. Obviously, UFC have got advertising and are more well-known, but Bellator’s up there and people want to see it. They’d be surprised how filled and packed out the stadium would be when they finally come to Australia. They even signed some potential new fighters to fill the cards. There’s a lot of talented fighters in Australia. We need some Aussies on there.”
Blencowe, 40, joined Bellator in May 2015 and quickly established herself as a Top 5 Featherweight in the world. A fixture of those rankings discussions, “Angerfist” has only lost to current or former champions and divisional legends, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, Julia Budd, and Marloes Coenen during her time with Bellator.
The last time Blencowe (15-9) stepped in the cage she had her third title shot, suffering a unanimous decision loss in a rematch with the aforementioned Cyborg. She’ll look to rebound dramatically at Bellator 294 this weekend (Fri., April 21, 2023) when welcoming the one-time UFC Bantamweight title challenger, Sara McMann, to the promotion.
As most do when facing the Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, Blencowe expects a grinding 15-minute affair after going through an “ugly” training camp.
“To be fair, all of my fights over the last sort of five years have been either dangerous fights,” Blencowe said. “Because I’ve either fought people that are coming up like when you’re at the top of the ranks people are trying to hunt you. Obviously, Sara’s coming into the promotion, this is her first fight. She’s taking me on straight away and obviously, she’s thinking a win over me will set herself up in the promotion very well for big things in the future.
“This is a fight camp that’s if not probably a little bit more pressure on me ... a different pressure than the Cyborg camp but I get this for me because I’m coming off a loss, too,” she concluded. “Just a few little things. Like, I’ve trained my ass off for this fight camp because I want to get back in that win column and I know that Sara is going to be a very dangerous opponent.”
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