Source: MMA News
One of the most dominant fighters in the history of women’s combat sports, Cristiane “Cris Cyborg” Justino (23-2), returns to defend her crown against a former opponent in Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (12-8-1). They will meet again on May 21 in Uncasville, Connecticut inside of the Mohegan Sun Arena. Bellator 259 will stream exclusively on Showtime with prelims starting at 5:30 PM EST and the main card set to begin at 9 PM EST.
Their first fight took place under the UFC banner in Cyborg’s UFC debut, in which she dominated and officially announced the arrival of Cyborg. This was a catchweight fight, as the dominant contender was testing the waters of a weight cut. This was important because many fans were clamoring for a bout between then UFC superstar Ronda Rousey and Cyborg, who many considered to be the greatest female fighter outside of the UFC. However, the fight never came to fruition and Smith was the first to suffer her wrath.
However, Smith has blossomed in the last few years as a fighter. In Bellator, she is 2-1 but in her last five, which includes the UFC, she’s won four of five. Is Smith the favorite to win? Not by a long shot. However, this is fighting, and both women have improved their skills since their 2016 meeting.
Cyborg has had an impressive career in Bellator, even winning the featherweight strap from then-dominant champion Julia Budd in her debut. She has successfully defended it since, including against Arlene Blencowe, who is the last person to have beaten the Peacemaker.
Also on the card is another rematch between top-ranked featherweights Darrion Caldwell and Leandro Higo. Caldwell won their original meeting in 2018, stopping the Brazilian with a guillotine choke. Additionally, two of Bellator’s top middleweight prospects will compete on the main card as Austin Vanderford and Fabian Edwards look to distinguish themselves from the other top 10 middleweights.
All of this can be seen on Showtime starting at 9 PM EST.