Bellator 238 Preview: Cris Cyborg vs. Julia Budd Headlines Card

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2020

Brazilian-American mixed martial arts superstar, current UFC Women's Featherweight Champion, and Claressa Shields sparring partner, Cris Cyborg, poses before Shields weighs in, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Bellator is set to kick off its 2020 offerings with the much-anticipated debut of Cris Cyborg in a women's featherweight title fight against champion Julia Budd at Bellator 238.

Cyborg has made a case throughout her long career that she is the most dominant female fighter of all time. Now she has her sights set on a title reign in Bellator.

Saturday's co-main event features a quarterfinal matchup between Adam Borics and Darrion Caldwell in the Featherweight World Grand Prix.

Pair the main events with the organizational debut of Sergio Pettis, Aaron Pico's first fight under Greg Jackson and former boxer Ava Knight's second MMA fight, and there's plenty of intrigue on the card.

     

When: Saturday, January 25

Where: The Forum in Inglewood, California

Streaming Info: DAZN

     

Fight Card and Schedule

Main Card (10 p.m. ET)

  • Julia Budd (c) vs. Cris Cyborg: featherweight title fight
  • Darrion Caldwell vs. Adam Borics: Featherweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal
  • Henry Corrales vs. Juan Archuleta
  • Sergio Pettis vs. Alfred Khashakyan
  • Raymond Daniels vs. Jason King
  • Ava Knight vs. Emilee King

      

Prelims (7:30 p.m. ET)

  • Aaron Pico vs. Daniel Carey
  • AJ Agazarm vs. Adel Altamimi
  • Jay-Jay Wilson vs. Mario Navarro
  • Miguel Jacob vs. David Pacheco
  • Anthony Taylor vs. Chris Avila
  • Curtis Millender vs. Moses Murrietta
  • Brandon Bender vs. Joshua Jones
  • Ricardo Seixas vs. Dominic Clark
  • Tony Bartovich vs. Jarett Conner

     

Budd vs. Cyborg

Cyborg is one of the most decorated fighters of all time with belts in Strikeforce, Invicta and the UFC. Now, she's just one fight away from adding a Bellator championship.

Budd has been dominant in her own right. The Jewel is on an 11-fight win streak that stretches back to 2012. That includes nearly three years as Bellator champion.

The matchup to watch will be how Budd counters the early aggression from the Brazilian. Cyborg has a penchant for taking opponents out in the first round. Eleven of her 21 wins have been in the opening frame.

Budd has the ability to finish fights early. She took out Olga Rubin in her last fight in the first round, her first such win since 2012.

With both fighters' muay thai backgrounds, this should be a stand-up affair that gets better as it wears on.

     

Darrion Caldwell vs. Adam Borics

The co-main event features former Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell attempting to capture the World Grand Prix's 145-pound championship.

Borics, his opponent, has quietly risen through the ranks with a 14-0 record with wins over the highly touted Aaron Pico and respected veteran Pat Curran in his last two bouts. Caldwell earned his spot in the quarterfinals with a win over Henry Corrales in the opening round.

Either the former champion or the fast-rising prospect will face A.J. McKee in the next round and take a step closer to a world-title shot and a million-dollar prize in the tournament set to take place throughout 2020.

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