HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 23: Scott Coker, Bellator President, looks on as Julia Budd, current … [+]
Bellator is opening its 2020 calendar of events with a big debut. Former UFC, Invicta and Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg signed with Bellator after a 6-1 run with the UFC. In her Bellator debut, Cyborg faces Bellator women’s featherweight titleholder Julia Budd in the main event of Saturday’s Bellator 238 fight card.
Cyborg captured the UFC women’s 145-pound title in July 2017 when she scored a third-round knockout victory over ex-Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger. Cyborg defended that belt against Holly Holm and Yana Kunitskaya before losing to Amanda Nunes in December 2018. Nunes scored a 51-second knockout win over Cyborg. The ex-champs final fight with the UFC was a July 2019 unanimous decision win over Felicia Spencer.
Budd, who had been with Strikeforce and Invicta before joining Bellator in 2015, is 7-0 with the promotion. Those wins include her TKO victory over Marloes Coenen for the inaugural title and her three successful title defenses. Budd’s most recent win was a first-round TKO victory over Olga Rubin in July 2019.
The Bellator featherweight grand prix also continues at Bellator 238. In a quarterfinal matchup, former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell, faces Adam Borics.
Another former UFC fighter makes their debut on Saturday’s Bellator card. Sergio Pettis, younger brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, matches up against Alfred Khashakyan on the main card. That matchup takes place at the bantamweight limit.
Bellator 238 takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The main card streams on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET.