Cris Cyborg vs. Leslie Smith 2 Announced for Bellator 259

Cris Cyborg and Leslie Smith will throw down at Bellator 259
Cris Cyborg and Leslie Smith Credit: Bellator MMA

The upcoming Bellator 259 has a women’s featherweight title fight as its main event.

During Friday’s Bellator 255 broadcast on Showtime, the promotion announced the return of Cris Cyborg and Leslie Smith, with both fighters on hand. The pair will serve as the main event of Bellator 259 on May 28, with Cyborg looking to make her second consecutive title defense.

Cyborg (23-2, 1NC) and Smith (12-8-1) first met in 2016 under the UFC banner, in a 140lb catchweight bout. At the time, the UFC had no featherweight division. Cyborg won the fight via TKO in the opening round.

Much has changed since that night. The UFC eventually did launch a featherweight division, only to turn it into a sideshow attraction for Cyborg, without ever actually building a division around her (they did the same with double-champ Amanda Nunes, who would shockingly knock out Cyborg in 2018). The Brazilian then signed on with Bellator, defeating Julia Budd to claim 145lb gold in her fourth major promotion in January 2020. In October at Bellator 249, she defended the belt against Arlene Blencowe.

Smith arrived in Bellator in 2019, and has posted a 2-1 record thus far. Most recently, she defeated Amanda Bell by unanimous decision. Counting her final bouts in the UFC, Smith is 4-1 since her original meeting with Cyborg.

Bellator 259 takes place May 28, 2021, and is expected to air live on Showtime. The card will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Two additional bouts have been confirmed by the promotion for the card: Adam Piccolotti vs. Georgi Karakhanyan will take place at lightweight, and Christian Edwards vs. Ben Parrish takes place at 205lbs.