Next week, two women’s featherweight fighters go one-on-one in a fight that can significantly change rankings in Bellator. At Bellator 209, Belgium’s “Battlecat” Cindy Dandois (12-3) will be taking on a young prospect in Israel’s “Big Bad” Olga Rubin (4-0).
The fight is to take place at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dandois, 33, is making her Bellator debut and is a top 10 ranked fighter, well known for her judo, and has multiple finishes by submission. Her most recent notable win was a split decision victory over King Reina in RIZIN. Rubin, 29, may not have the overall experience but she is a tough opponent with heavy hands. Three of her four wins come by way of TKO.
Looking for an MMA Home
Dandois had tried out for The Ultimate Fighter 28, which featured women’s featherweight competitors. Despite having the fight experience compared to the other fighters, she did not get chosen. “I was upset because I want really want to have a home,” Dandois told MMASucka. On the advice of UFC Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg, she suggested Dandois reach out to Bellator president Scott Coker directly. “She gave me his email and I sent him a message… he connected me to the matchmaker.” She got the matchmaker’s interest but was still in need of an opponent.
Looking for a Fight
The 29-year-old Rubin had heard Dandois was hungry to get a fight in any organization. Like any young prospect, she saw a huge opportunity. “I jumped on that train saying it must be hard being a free agent and if you want to fight I’m here,” she told MMASucka.com.
Training for the fight
Dandois said she been sparring with southpaws (Rubin is a southpaw) but for the most part is just sticking to her regular regiment. “I don’t want to focus too much on somebody else’s strengths. I want to focus on my strengths.” Dandois had some setbacks while in this fight camp. Her mother is battling cancer and is going throw chemotherapy. She is dedicating the fight to her mother. “I feel like I have to push myself a little harder to make her proud.”
Rubin is working hard herself. She will be having former UFC bantamweight Brad “One-punch” Pickett in her corner. Rubin was Pickett’s first signee to his agency, One Punch Management. “I work daily with the best judokas, wrestlers and BJJ black belts so I’m not really concerned. I’m not a fish out of water on the ground.”
Home Team Advantage
Rubin said competing in front of her family and friends will give her a lot of positive motivation. “I love Israeli crowd. Their energy is like fuel to me.”
Dandois, despite not being from Israel or ever visited, has a unique perspective on the country being her hometown.
“Israel is holy land and I believe in God very strongly,” she said. “I think it’s both our home turf. She has the crowd maybe but I have my God.”
Thoughts on one another
In the MMA world, respect between fighters seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. But these two moms don’t have a nasty word between the two of them.
“I respect Cindy. She’s a class act and represents our sport in the best way,” Rubin said. “I’m honored to step in the cage with her. I’m bringing my A game and hope she is too. Israeli crowd deserves a great show.”
“Thank you for having this fight. I’m not an easy fight to take for nobody. She’s also taking a risk and I think that’s very brave of her,” Dandois said. “May the best mommy win.”
After the fight
No matter who comes out the winner, both women are looking to continue crossing off names in the 145-pound weight class.
“There are a lot of good women in Bellator. I have my eye on all of them,” Dandois said. She mentioned Sinead Kavanagh, Janay Harding, and Amber Leibrock as potential future matchups after this fight. She is also interested in eventually going toe-to-toe with Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Julia Budd.
Rubin is also looking to have some more fights before clashing Budd. “I have another three fights in this contract. I can think of 2 more featherweights before Julia.”
Cindy Dandois vs. Olga Rubin
Bellator 209 airs live Friday, November 16 on the Paramount Network. The prelims begin at 7pm EST with the main card starting at 9pm which features Dandois/Rubin.