Friday will be the last part of Bellator MMA, in which Cris Cyborg will lead the battle map, preparing to defend his title against Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith.
Here has put together everything you need to know ahead of the event – including who to look out for and how to watch the fights.
Bellator MMA has hosted over 200 numbered events, leading us to the 259th card on Friday. Some of the world’s best martial artists compete for the title every year using a mix of karate, kickboxing, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling.
Cyborg will spearhead the event as she battles Smith in the main battle of the night. The Brazilian American champion will fight to maintain her featherweight title, which she has held since January 2020.
The two fighters have met before – the fight took place in 2016 during UFC 198. Cyborg defeated Smith in a catchweight event, which was her first professional fight. She finished it in a decisive style, winning an early victory over the former star of FC Invicta.
Other competitors on Friday’s fight card include Sumiko Inaba vs Kristina ‘The Meat Grinder’ Katsikis and Valerie ‘Master’ Loureda vs Hannah ‘The Hurricane’ Guy in two flyweight bouts. Rounding off the evening will be the featherweight clash between Janay ‘Hollowpoint’ Harding and Northern Ireland’s Leah ‘The Curse’ McCourt.
Where is it?
The event will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Featherweight title competition
As the holder of the Bellator featherweight title, Cyborg will be the favourite to come out on top in the main bout on Friday. The 35-year-old has a rich backstory in her fighting career and holds black belts in muay thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Cyborg enjoyed a brief stint as a kickboxer, winning two of her three fights by knockout.
Her MMA record is impressive – boasting 23 wins out of 26 competitive bouts. Cyborg has won 18 by knockout, four by decision and one by submission. She also held back-to-back gold medals representing Brazil in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in 2011 and 2012.
Smith will be eager to avenge her previous loss to Cyborg with a win at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The American has been victorious in 12 of her 21 bouts, winning five by knockout and seven by decision.
When and how to watch
The main card event will begin on May 21st at 21:00 ET, 01:00 BST – BBC iPlayer will be providing live coverage of the fights from 22:20 with the option to watch in full on catch-up at a later date.