Bellator 238: Cyborg Wins Gold in Debut

It was 13 months ago when Cris Cyborg suffered the second defeat of her MMA career — the first since her 2005 professional debut — when she was knocked out by Amanda Nunes, losing the UFC women’s featherweight title in the process.

On this night, in the same arena — The Forum in Inglewood, California — Cyborg is once again an MMA champion, as she defeated Julia Budd in the main event of Bellator 238 to win the Bellator women’s featherweight championship in her first fight in the promotion.

With the win, Cyborg, also a former Strikeforce and Invicta women’s featherweight champion, becomes the first fighter in modern MMA history to win championships in four major MMA promotions.

Cyborg got Budd to the cage very early in the first round before they each rocked the other. Cyborg slipped but was able to counter successfully with a triangle choke and armbar attempts — and knocking Budd down before the end of the round.

Cyborg dominated the second round by continuing to tie up the defending champ against the cage wall and do the better job in the clinch. Cyborg then scored another takedown in the third round before firing off a flurry that stunned Budd before the end of the frame.

Cyborg continued that momentum in the fourth round by overwhelming Budd with strikes until she dropped and referee Mike Beltran stepped in.

The evening’s co-main event saw former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell advance in the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix by handing Adam Borics the first loss in his professional MMA career. After coming after Borics with kicks, and avoiding a guillotine attempt by Borics, Caldwell got to his back and locked in a rear-naked choke for a first-round submission win.

Caldwell will now face A.J. McKee in the semifinals.

Bellator 238 results:

Bellator women’s featherweight championship: (c.) Julia Budd vs. Cris Cyborg

Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix quarterfinal: Darrion Caldwell def. Adam Borics via submission (rear-naked choke) (Rd. 1, 2:20)

Juan Archuleta def. Henry Corrales via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Sergio Pettis def. Alfred Khashakyan via submission (guillotine choke) (Rd. 1, 3:00)

Raymond Daniels def. Jason King via TKO (Rd. 1, 3:07)

Emilee King def. Ava Knight via submission (rear-naked choke) (Rd. 1, 2:18)

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