Bellator’s new Showtime era has made for some quality television so far, and the booking remains competitive and solid. This week, for Bellator 271, we’ve got a treat as trailblazer and all-time great Cris Cyborg (24-2) meets a new challenge as she faces SBG Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh (7-4) to defend her featherweight title.
Riding a four-fight win streak, Cyborg continues to make history as one of the most dominant fighters out there, bringing her trademark striking and physical ability bolstered by improved grappling and positional control. Kavanagh has had some ups and downs in her career, but has mostly stood out due to her powerful striking. While she’s stumbled against opposition in the past and currently stands at 4-4 in Bellator, she’s an interesting opponent for Cyborg at this stage. She’s hard to bully around on her feet, although she remains fairly limited.
Tyrell Fortune (11-1, 1 no contest) has won three in a row after a shocking upset loss to Tim Johnson and an unfortunate no contest against Jack May. He rectified that no contest by defeating May, as well as Said Sowma and Matt Mitrione. Now he brings his wrestling and athleticism against former light heavyweight Linton Vassell (21-8), who brings his ranged striking and underrated submission game to the table. Vassell’s got back to back wins over Ronny Markes and Sergei Kharitonov, and has been looking very competitive after moving up from 205.
Aaron Pico (8-3) is back, this time against undefeated prospect Justin Gonzalez (12-0). Gonzalez made waves on the Colorado scene before winning a decision on Contender Series in 2019. The UFC unfortunately punted on signing him, to their detriment. Justin went over to LFA and captured their vacant featherweight title in an impressive five-rounder that saw him dig deep and put on a tough performance, killing his opponent’s body with body kicks and working an educated and slick boxing game.
Pico is still evolving, though. Despite some growing pains, he’s still a do or die striker with a spectacular wrestling pedigree and training with a world-class crew. This will be his second fight this year.
Arlene Blencowe (14-8) remains one of the toughest featherweights out there, and she’s got an appointment to meet hard-nosed wrestler and former Invicta champ Pam Sorenson (9-3). Sorenson’s been clamoring for a fight against Cyborg for a long time now, and seeing that they’re both in Bellator, it might happen with a win here. Blencowe remains a hard striker with bursts of energy and might be able to fluster Sorenson standing.
Bundle of fun Steve Mowry (9-0) is up against former PFL fighter Rakim Cleveland (22-13, 1 draw), while Bruna Ellen (5-3) meets former Combate Americas and LFA talent Desiree Yanez (5-3).
Finally, Valerie Loureda (3-1) faces Taylor Turner (5-7), while Waldo Cortes-Acosta meets former PFL heavyweight Mo De’Reese.
You can see the weigh-ins here:
Tyrell Fortune (253.8) vs. Linton Vassell (239.2) - Heavyweight
Aaron Pico (145.4) vs. Justin Gonzales (145.6) - Featherweight
Arlene Blencowe (145.8) vs. Pam Sorenson (146) - Featherweight
Steve Mowry (249.6) vs. Rakim Cleveland (249.6) - Heavyweight
Bruna Ellen (125.6) vs. Desiree Yanez (125.4) - Flyweight
Roman Faraldo (171) vs. Robert Turnquest (170.8) - Welterweight
Cody Law (145.4) vs. Colton Hamm (145.8) - Featherweight
Valerie Loureda (127.6) vs. Taylor Turner (127.2) — Catchweight, 128lbs
Waldo Cortes-Acosta (256.6) vs. Muhammed DeReese (255) - Heavyweight
Mahmoud Sebie (170.8) vs. Ethan Hughes (170.8) - Welterweight
Bellator 271: Cyborg vs Kavanagh starts at 7:00pm with the prelims on Bellator’s YouTube channel, followed by the main card on Showtime.