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This weekend, they’re throwing a bash. San Diego’s Pechanga Arena is the setting for the soiree called Bellator 300, where 16,100 of the promotion’s closest friends have been invited to partake in the celebration live and in-person.
For those who can’t travel to Southern California this weekend to take in the action, Bellator’s United States television partner, Showtime, will carry the fights live. The evening will begin at 6:30 pm ET/ 3:30 pm PT with preliminary contests on YouTube. Main card action follows at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on the premium cable network.
Championship Tripleheader Continues with Women’s Featherweight Tussle
All told, barring any new cancellations between now and fight night, the final version of Bellator 300 features 16 fights. Immediately following the battle for the Bellator MMA Women’s Flyweight Championship between Liz Carmouche (19-7 MMA, 6-0 Bellator) and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (12-2 MMA, 12-2 Bellator), the co-main event of the evening shifts to 145 lbs.
Incumbent champion Cris Cyborg (26-2, 1 NC MMA, 5-0 Bellator) defends her strap when she battles No. 1 contender Cat Zingano (14-4 MMA, 4-0 Bellator). As with all major MMA championship fights, the Bellator 300 co-main event is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round.
History will be made in 𝗧𝗪𝗢 days 🔥
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) October 5, 2023
Bellator 300 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the Bellator 300 co-main event on Saturday night, champion Cris Cyborg stands as the taller woman at 5-foot-8, compared to the 5-foot-6 frame of Cat Zingano. Cyborg owns a one-inch reach advantage (69 inches to 68 inches) over Zingano.
As of Thursday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Cris Cyborg installed as a -650 favorite on the money line, with Cat Zingano countering as a +470 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Cyborg Returns to MMA After Boxing Stint
Champion Cris Cyborg (real name Cristiane Justino) has posted a perfect 5-0 record in her last five MMA fights, but hasn’t entered the cage in close to 18 months. Back in April of last year, she scored a unanimous decision victory against Arlene Blencowe (15-10 MMA, 8-6 Bellator) during Bellator 279 in Honolulu.
In recent times, she’s turned to the sweet science of boxing. While inside the squared circle, Cyborg has gone 2-0, with both victories confirmed on the scorecards by unanimous decision.
Back in August, Cyborg was interviewed on CBS Sports HQ. The champ mentioned being part of this historic evening of competitive violence.
“I’m very excited and very honored to be in Bellator 300,” Cyborg began. “I’ve been training hard and I’m excited, excited to fight Cat Zingano. It’s going to be a great show and it’s San Diego. I’ve lived in San Diego for a little while, so I’ll have a lot of my friends and family there. It’ll be good.”
Having to take off time from a career in MMA to dabble in boxing is no easy task, even if the wins were a nice touch in the ring. Given that Cyborg hasn’t fought period in almost 10 months, how much is there in the way of ring rust?
Cat Zingano Back in Championship Spotlight
In the other corner, Cat Zingano has gone 4-1 in her last five contests. At the present time, she’s on a four-fight winning streak, one which was extended most recently with a unanimous decision over Leah McCourt (7-3 MMA, 6-3 Bellator) back in March.
The Bellator 300 co-main event marks Zingano’s first appearance in a championship fight in over eight years. In February of 2015, Zingano, then a member of the UFC’s active roster, faced Ronda Rousey (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) during UFC 184’s main event, getting submitted by Rousey with her trademark armbar in 14 seconds.
In her recent media availability, Zingano reflected on the long road back to a shot at championship glory.
“It feels like my life’s work to get up to another title fight,” Zingano mentioned. “…It’s great to have worked myself back up to this place again. I’ve always believed in myself, definitely put in the work and the time, so it’s natural that it’s here.
Zingano has waited nearly a decade for an opportunity of this caliber to arise once more. Will she capitalize on it with a belt?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Bellator 300 co-main event looks to favor Cris Cyborg, a black belt in both Muay-Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, compared to Cat Zingano’s brown belt in BJJ.
Don’t Blink When Cyborg is on the Prowl
Whenever Cris Cyborg fights, it would behoove the viewers watching at home to get that popcorn ready early. If they look away from the screen for just a few seconds, the fight could very well be over once they turn back around.
Cyborg can end a fight in a flash, as she did against Faith Van Duin in Invicta FC. During the opening round, Cyborg showed off her quick hands and put Van Duin in a clinch before landing a right-handed punch.
This gave her the opening she needed to unleash a barrage of strikes, including a nasty body shot, to drop Van Duin, who simply crumpled to the floor like a piece of paper.
Cyborg finished Van Duin off with two quick ground and pound shots before the fight was called after just 45 seconds. If Cris Cyborg gets off to a fast start, Cat Zingano won’t know what hits her in the Bellator 300 co-main event.
Look Out for Zingano’s Submissions
In the other corner, just as Cris Cyborg is deadly with knockouts, Cat Zingano is equally brutal with submissions. Olivia Parker found this out firsthand in Bellator 256.
Round one saw Zingano and Parker locked in a clinch before the former landed a takedown with an inside trip. Her grappling told the story from there, taking mount and stringing transitions together until Parker reversed position.
This momentum was ill-fated for Parker, with Zingano locking up an armbar in just under three minutes. Watch for Cat Zingano to try to take Cris Cyborg down early. If she’s successful, it could only be a matter of moments before Cyborg is forced to tap out.
Simply put, this is a showdown in the Bellator 300 co-main event. You’ve got a classic strength vs. strength matchup. Let’s see who’s stronger.
Prediction: Cris Cyborg by Unanimous Decision.