BELLATOR 238: Cris Cyborg defeats Julia Budd for the featherweight title

Bellator returned to The Forum in Inglewood, California for Bellator 238 on Saturday night. The show was built around the promotional debut of Cris Cyborg, who was set to challenge Julia Budd for the Bellator featherweight title.

Bellator returned to The Forum in Inglewood, California for Bellator 238 on Saturday night. The show was built around the promotional debut of Cris Cyborg, who was set to challenge Julia Budd for the Bellator featherweight title. This show also featured the continuation of the Featherweight Grand Prix with a quarter-final match-up between Darrion Caldwell and Adam Borics as A.J. McKee awaits the winner.

Mike Goldberg, John McCarthy, and Josh Thomson were on the call for the show.

Here are the results from the main card:
*Cris Cyborg def. Julia Budd by TKO at 1:14 of Round 4 to win the Bellator featherweight title
*Darrion Caldwell def. Adam Borics by rear-naked choke at 2:20 of Round 1 in the quarter-finals of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix
*Juan Archuleta def. Henry Corrales by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Sergio Pettis def. Alfred Khashakyan by guillotine choke at 3:00 of Round 1
*Raymond Daniels def. Jason King by TKO at 3:07 of Round 1
*Emilee King def. Ava Knight by rear-naked choke at 2:18 of Round 1
*Joshua Jones def. Brandon Bender by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
*Aaron Pico def. Daniel Carey by KO at 0:15 of Round 2
*AJ Agazarm def. Adel Altamimi by triangle choke at 1:22 of Round 3
*Jay Jay Wilson def. Mario Navarro by armbar at 2:48 of Round 2
*Curtis Millender def. Moses Murrietta by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Anthony Taylor def. Chris Avila by majority decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
*Miguel Jacob def. David Pacheco by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
*Ricardo Seixas def. Dominic Clark by TKO at 0:34 of Round 1

AARON PICO (4-3, 145.8) VS DANIEL CAREY (7-3, 144.9)

Pico took Carey down early in the fight and entered his half-guard. Pico started to attack with elbows and showed patience on top. Pico landed a huge right near the end and easily won the first round.

The second round began, and Pico connected with a short left putting Carey out within seconds.

WINNER: Aaron Pico by KO at 0:15 of Round 2

Pico was composed and was able to utilize his power. This halted a two-fight losing streak for Pico but there will still be lots of questions for Pico in his next outing and bringing everything together to meet the high expectations that have been thrust upon him. This was an important win for Pico.

AVA KNIGHT (1-0, 114.5) VS EMILEE KING (3-3, 115.2)

Knight has a boxing record of 19-2-5 with five knockouts. King’s husband is Jason King, who is fighting in the next bout.

Knight immediately came out with strikes and King went for a guillotine and took her to the canvas. King mounted her with the guillotine, which King gave up on. King transitioned to an armbar and couldn’t finish it. King took her back and flattened her with a rear-naked choke for the submission.

WINNER: Emilee King by rear-naked choke at 2:18 of Round 1

Knight was out of her element on the ground but to her credit, she got out of several bad positions before losing her back. It was her second pro fight and her performance should be graded with that in mind.

RAYMOND DANIELS (1-1, 169.8) VS JASON KING (8-5, 169.7)

Daniels is an outstanding kickboxer with a 35-3 record and is the Bellator Kickboxing welterweight champion. He had one MMA fight in 2008 and then returned in May 2019 with a first-round knockout against Wilker Barros.

Daniels had explosive spin kicks that he was throwing with regularity. Daniels dropped him with a body shot and was let up. King got up and was put down a second time with a right hand. King was taking repeated shots and was slow getting up. Daniels finished him on top with ground and pound.

WINNER: Raymond Daniels by TKO at 3:07 of Round 1

Daniels looked spectacular and it was like something from Tekken than an MMA fight. Obviously, he won’t be able to do this on higher-end fighters but for a showcase style of fight, this was incredible to watch.

The disadvantage for Daniels is that he is 39-years old, so time is not on his side to turn into a well-rounded fighter.

SERGIO PETTIS (18-5, 135) VS ALFRED KHASHAKYAN (11-4, 135.9)

Pettis is making his Bellator debut after fighting in the UFC since 2013. Khashakyan has won all his fights by knockout.

Early in the round, Pettis landed a big right counter. They were in the pocket and Pettis nailed him with a huge right hand that sent Khashakyan down. Pettis attacked with follow up strikes, moved to the guillotine with the arm trapped by Pettis’ leg and Khashakyan was done.

WINNER: Sergio Pettis by guillotine choke at 3:00 of Round 1

Pettis fought great and his counters were big for him. He added that he just got his black belt in the post-fight interview with John McCarthy.

JUAN ARCHULETA (23-2, 145.5) VS HENRY CORRALES (17-4, 145.3)

Corrales controlled the center in the first round, there was a brief exchange with Archuleta landing some shots. The audience was getting restless by the end. It was a super-close round and could have gone either way. The strikes from Archuleta were probably the difference.

The second round took on similar characteristics from the first as Archuleta circled on the outside. Archuleta got hold of Corrales and slammed him down and clinched against the fence before returning to their formation. Corrales got a takedown at the end of the round with some ground and pound. I have it 20-18 for Archuleta but the scores could be all over the place because of how close the rounds have been.

In the third round, Corrales landed a right hand that was his best punch landed of the fight. Corrales continued and hit Archuleta with a left hand. Archuleta got busy in the final minute and made it close. I have it 29-28 for Archuleta.

WINNER: Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

It was Archuleta’s rebound victory after the loss to Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire last September. He is now 6-1 in Bellator and 23-2 overall. The fight was very close, and you could score it in a multitude of ways. Chael Sonnen disagreed with the outcome on the broadcast when they cut to the panel.

DARRION CALDWELL (14-3, 144.6) VS ADAM BORICS (14-0, 144.9) IN THE FEATHERWEIGHT GRAND PRIX QUARTER-FINALS

The winner of this fight will meet A.J. McKee in the semi-finals of the Grand Prix.

Caldwell got a takedown and was in Borics’ closed guard. Caldwell moved to the back, used elbows and locked in a deep choke and got the submission with his back against the fence and one hook in.

WINNER: Darrion Caldwell by rear-naked choke at 2:20 of Round 1

The big question has been Caldwell’s ability to go hard for five rounds, so that was not answered in this fight. Caldwell is now 12-3 in Bellator and 15-3 overall as he prepares to meet McKee later this year.

McKee was brought into the cage for a faceoff.

JULIA BUDD (13-2, 144.5) VS CRIS CYBORG (21-2, 143.8) FOR THE BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE

This is Cyborg’s Bellator debut and first fight since last July when she beat Felicia Spencer.

Cyborg started attacking the body right away and Budd initiated the clinch. Cyborg got off the fence and landed a knee before taking Budd down with a trip. Budd got to her feet quickly and put Cyborg against the cage again. Cyborg went back to the body and then returned to the mat with Cyborg on her back and Budd moved to side control. Budd landed an illegal knee and there was a brief stoppage. When they re-started, Cyborg dropped her with a right hand and ended with kicks and hammer fists. It was a clear round for Cyborg.

Cyborg was throwing a lot when the second round began. Cyborg moved to leg kicks and back to the clinch. Cyborg would break out and land knees and punches. Cyborg stopped a single-leg and drilled Budd with another knee. Cyborg is up 20-18 after two rounds.

In the third round, Cyborg ended up in Budd’s closed guard, stood up and started throwing big strikes and passed her guard to side control. Cyborg used elbows to the ribs and then mounted Budd at the end to finish the round strong with strikes. Cyborg is up three rounds to zero and if she had a bit longer the third round would have been 10-8.

The fourth round saw Cyborg unload on Budd with shots to the head and body, attacking with knees and then dropping Budd with a right hand to the body and the fight was over.

WINNER: Cris Cyborg by TKO at 1:14 of Round 4 to become the new Bellator featherweight champion

This was a great performance from Cyborg, who only got better as the fight went deeper. She was able to get out of the clinch and Budd’s guard to dictate her style of fight and then set up for her big flurry of strikes to end the fight in round four.

Cyborg noted that she lost the featherweight title in the same arena in December 2018 to Amanda Nunes and has now become champion again.

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Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.