Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe headlines Bellator’s move to CBS Sports Network

Cris Cyborg will put her women’s featherweight title on the line for the first time in October as part of Bellator’s move to a new broadcast home.

Cyborg (22-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) will headline Bellator 249 on a special Thursday night event against challenger Arlene Blencowe (13-7 MMA, 6-3 BMMA), the promotion announced today at a special news conference. The news first was reported by

CBS Sports Network will be Bellator’s new broadcast home. Like its current Paramount platform, CBS Sports Network is owned by the CBS Entertainment Group, which is part of parent company Viacom. The cable network launched in 2002 and has undergone several rebranding efforts over its nearly two decades on the air.

The new broadcast partnership will start two weeks prior on Oct. 1 with a Thursday event in Italy. Bellator 247 will air live at 4 p.m. ET from Milan and will be headlined by a welterweight bout between Paul Daley (42-17-2 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) and Derek Anderson (16-3 MMA, 7-3 BMMA). Earlier Friday, news broke of Bellator’s first trip to France on Oct. 10.

The promotion returns to the States for Bellator 249 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., with a vacant middleweight title bout between welterweight champion Douglas Lima and Gegard Mousasi.

Cyborg won the 145-pound title in January when she took out longtime champion Julia Budd with a fourth-round TKO at Bellator 238. It was her promotional debut after coming to Bellator from the UFC, where she was featherweight champion until she was upset by Amanda Nunes in December 2018. Till that point, Cyborg largely was considered the best pound-for-pound woman in the sport.

After her loss to Nunes, Cyborg got back on track at UFC 240 with a unanimous decision win over Felicia Spencer. But that deal was the last on her UFC contract, and the promotion let her leave for Bellator as a free agent.

Blencowe will have her second shot at a Bellator title. She challenged Budd for the belt in December 2017, but lost a split decision. It was her second close loss to Budd in 14 months. But since that setback, the Australian has three straight wins with a knockout of Amber Leibrock, a 22-second KO of Amanda Bell, and a unanimous decision over Leslie Smith in November 2019.

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