Bellator 259 saw Cris Cyborg going five rounds (or just under), Valerie Loureda suffer her first loss, and Austin Vanderford cement himself as a legitimate contender in the middleweight division.
Cyborg’s fifth-round finish of Leslie Smith paves that way for a showdown with former UFC star Cat Zinagno. After all, the fearsome Brazilian has nearly cleared out the 145lb division, just over a year since joining Bellator.
However at Friday’s post-fight press conference, Bellator President Scott Coker noted tha “just like Leslie, there’s girls that call us all the time that say ‘I want to fight Cyborg.’ And it doesn’t stop, it keeps coming.” There’s a reason for that, according to Coker. “Listen, these ladies want to challenge themselves. They want to fight the world’s best, and they know she’s the GOAT. So they all have a bullseye for her.”
After the win, Cyborg got on the mic and called for the Zingano fight herself. All it requires is the promotion to sign off, it seems. “That’s one of the reasons we brought Cat here. She has a victory I believe over Amanda Nunes, so it’s something that I think, she came here to fight Cyborg,” said Coker. “I think she’s had a couple fights, she feels good about it. Will we do that fight next? I’m not sure, but we’ll definitely have a conversation next week about that.”
Another featherweight picked up a big win on Friday at Bellator 259 — but Leah McCourt’s submission of Janay Harding was marred by a miss at the scales a day prior.
“This is the first time ever that I’ve heard of [McCourt] missing weight, so I don’t think it’s an ongoing issue or will be an ongoing problem,” said Coker, who noted that he believed Janay Harding had been winning that fight until getting caught with an upkick.
“Leah’s a tough girl. She’s the one who asked for that fight, and wanted to step up her competition. So hat’s off to her,” added Coker, who also had supportive words for Harding.
Watch the full Bellator 259 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above.