BELLATOR MMA and SHOWTIME Sports today announced BELLATOR MMA 259 on Friday, May 21, will be headlined by a featherweight championship rematch pitting current 145-pound titleholder and the top-ranked women’s pound-for-pound fighter Cris “Cyborg” (23-2, 1 NC) against Northern California’s Leslie Smith (12-8-1). The event airs live exclusively on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and emanate from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
In addition to the main event, two matchups are confirmed, as No. 7 lightweight Adam “The Bomb” Piccolotti (12-4) takes on No. 10 Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan (30-11-1, 1 NC), while the undefeated No. 7 Christian “Pain” Edwards (4-0) meets Ben “Big Tuna” Parrish (4-1) in a light heavyweight contest. Additional bouts will be announced at a later date.
“I believe in five years she’s going to be a better fighter. More training, more working and fighting. More experience. The first fight was very fast, so I think this one is going to be a long fight. She’s a warrior. She likes to fight and it’s going to be nice to fight somebody like this,” said Cyborg, who appeared on tonight’s BELLATOR 255 broadcast to confirm the event.
“Of course, I want this fight. Everyone’s goal is to get a title in the premier organization, which this is. This is the best organization for my weight class and the best possible place I can be. I can guarantee it will be an entertaining fight,” added Smith.
Just the second BELLATOR woman’s featherweight champion in the company’s history, Cris “Cyborg” is coming off the first defence of her BELLATOR title, a victory against Arlene Blencowe, that also marked the first submission win of her illustrious career. An MMA legend at 35-years-old, “Cyborg” will be looking to further her legacy as the greatest woman’s mixed martial artist of all time when she faces Leslie Smith for the second time on May 21. After winning BELLATOR gold in the 12th title fight of her career, the native of Curitiba, Brazil made history by becoming a world champion in her fourth major promotion, previously holding belts in both the UFC and Strikeforce. With a pro record of 23-2, 1 NC, including 19 wins by finish, the Brazilian-born fighter who now calls Southern California home, holds victories over the tough competition, including Julia Budd, Holly Holm, Marloes Coenen and Gina Carano.
Known for an exciting in-your-face striking style, Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith will enter the BELLATOR cage on May 21 for the fifth time in her nearly 11-year MMA career. She gets a second shot at defeating “Cyborg,” following their first meeting at UFC 198 in Brazil on May 14, 2016. Since that bout, Smith has won four out of five fights with victories over Irene Aldana and Sinead Kavanagh among them. A teammate of fellow BELLATOR athlete Keri Taylor Melendez, Smith trains out of El Nino Training Center in San Francisco.
The preliminary card for BELLATOR MMA 259: Cyborg vs. Smith 2 will air LIVE in all U.S. markets on the BELLATOR and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channels, as well as Pluto TV.
As part of the launch of BELLATOR MMA on SHOWTIME, the network is offering viewers who are new to the SHOWTIME streaming service a 30-day free trial, followed by a discounted monthly subscription fee of $4.99/month for the next six months. Viewers can sign up at SHO.com/BellatorMMA. Subscribers will be delivered two premier BELLATOR MMA events per month throughout 2021 and beyond, with all events scheduled to air live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT anywhere the SHOWTIME service is available.
Updated BELLATOR MMA 259: Cyborg vs. Smith 2 Fight Card:
Featherweight World Title Bout: C-Cris “Cyborg” (23-2, 1 NC) vs. #4-Leslie Smith (12-8-1)
Lightweight Bout: #7-Adam Piccolotti (12-4) vs. #10-Georgi Karakhanyan (30-11-1, 1 NC)
Light Heavyweight Bout: #7-Christian Edwards (4-0) vs. Ben Parrish (4-1)
*Card subject to change.