The bout was a rematch. The two first fought at UFC 198 in May 2016 with Cyborg finishing Smith in the first round. On Friday, Cyborg dominated Smith but needed nearly five rounds to get the job done.
Cyborg staggered Smith early in the fight and knocked her down several times. On the ground, the Brazilian maintained control and delivered a steady dose of ground and pound.
As the fight wore on Cyborg’s noticeably slowed, but was still in complete control of the fight. The end came late in the final round after Cyborg connected with a counter punch that sent Smith crashing to the canvas. Cyborg followed Smith to the ground and landed punches until the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
“I knew she was tough and I’ve fought her before. I know her and respect her and she’s a real fighter. I knew with her it would be a great match, because she’s capable and she’s tough,” said Cyborg following the fight.
“I was really working in sparring to keep going and going because I knew it was going to be this way. I noticed I enjoyed it a little more. It’s going to be 16 years as a professional fighter this month so I started to enjoy it in there.”
With her 24th career win under he belt, Cyborg called out former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano.
“I’ve been doing this 16 years, I’ve got four titles. But before you can be a G.O.A.T. you have to fight the ‘Cat.’ So, I’d like to fight with Cat Zingano and I will ask Scott Coker. Because before you can be a G.O.A.T. you have to fight the ‘Cat,” she said.
Bellator MMA 259 Results:
- Cris Cyborg (24-2, 1 NC) defeated Leslie Smith (12-9-1) via TKO (strikes) at 4:51 of round five
- Leandro Higo (20-5) defeated Darrion Caldwell (15-5) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Austin Vanderford (11-0) defeated Fabian Edwards (9-2) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jaleel Willis (15-2) defeated Maycon Mendonca (11-5) via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Hannah Guy (3-1) defeated Valerie Loureda (3-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Preliminary Card Results:
- Saad Awad (24-13, 1 NC) defeated Nate Andrews (16-4) via KO (strikes) at 3:16 of round one
- Grant Neal (6-0) defeated Tyree Fortune (5-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:20 of round one
- Sumiko Inaba (2-0) defeated Kristina Katsikis (1-2) via TKO (strikes) at 3:35 of round three
- Aviv Gozali (6-0) defeated Sean Felton (5-3-1) via submission (heel hook) at 1:17 of round one
- #9-Davion Franklin (3-0) defeated Tyler King (12-10) via KO at 2:02 of round one
- #7-Leah McCourt (5-1) defeated 6-Janay Harding (6-5) via submission (triangle choke) at 2:42 of round two
- Danny Sabatello (11-1) defeated Brett Johns (17-3) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alexander Shabliy (20-3) defeated #9-Alfie Davis (14-4) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)