With Leslie Smith awarded the next shot at Bellator women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg, Cat Zingano had a different challenge on Friday at Bellator 256. That would be to cement her spot as next in line. A spot that seemed a given, thanks to her stature in the sport.
With a long career not truly reflected the way it should be by her overall record (bad luck and circumstance have seen Zingano not as active over the years as she should have been), “Alpha” Cat is the name that makes sense for whoever holds the belt later this year. She just had to overcome Olivia Parker on Friday, a fighter new to the promotion, but who had a height and reach advantage over the veteran Zingano.
The height differential didn’t matter in the end. Zingano would almost immediately shoot for a takedown, and land it care of an inside trip about a minute into the affair on Friday night. She went to work from half-guard, and soon enough, passed into mount. From there, she capitalized as Parker gave up the back, though Parker was able to reverse and get on top in guard. But while Parker may have been in a dominant position, she was far from safe. Zingano latched on to an arm, swiveling into position while her guard was open. She rolled, going belly down and forcing Parker to tap.
After the fight, Zingano spoke of going on a run for gold. It likely won’t be too long of a race to the finish line. The question is, will she be able to do against Cris Cyborg what so many have failed to?
Official Result: Cat Zingano def. Olivia Parker by submission (arm-bar), Round 1, 2:56