Bellator 259 goes down this Friday with Cris Cyborg taking on Leslie Smith in the main event. Can Smith upset Cyborg?
- Cris Cyborg looks to defend her featherweight belt for the second time
- Cyborg won by first-round TKO when they first met in 2016
- See the odds, picks, and betting preview for the full Bellator 259 main card, below
Bellator is back in their bubble at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday, May 21st, for Bellator 259. In the main event, featherweight champion Cris Cyborg looks for her second title defense when she rematches Leslies Smith. The co-main event sees former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell drops back down to his old weight class as he rematches Leandro Higo.
Bellator 259 airs live on Showtime and on YouTube for Canadians on May 21, 2021, at 9 PM EST. The table below shows odds for the main card followed by best bets.
Bellator 259 Odds
|Fighter||Odds at FanDuel|
Odds as of May 19th
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Does The Rematch Go Any Differently?
Cris Cyborg and Leslie Smith fought back at UFC 198 in 2016 and did so at a 140 lbs catchweight, which is not Cyborg’s natural weight class. She documented her tough weight cut, but the Brazilian still powered through and earned a first-round TKO win. However, Smith did protest the stoppage as many believed it was early.
Cyborg & Smith Recent Fights
|Arlene Blencowe, win by submission (title fight)||Fight 1||Amanda Bell, win by decision|
|Julia Budd, win by TKO (title fight)||Fight 2||Arlene Blencowe, loss by decision|
|Felicia Spencer, win by decision||Fight 3||Sinead Kavanagh, win by majority decision|
|Amanda Nunes, loss by KO (title fight)||Fight 4||Amanda Lemos, win by TKO|
Cris Cyborg was someone many thought was unbeatable until Amanda Nunes knocked her out in just 51 seconds at UFC 232. Since coming to Bellator, however, the former Strikeforce, UFC, and Invicta FC champion has continued her dominance as she earned a hard-fought TKO win over Julia Budd and shocked many in her last fight when she got a submission win and showed off her well-rounded game.
Smith, meanwhile, has to avoid the power shots and try and bring this fight to the clinch and try and drag it to the later rounds, where possibly she could try and gas out the champ.
Cyborg vs Smith Stats
Smith has earned her shot at the belt, but unfortunately, I don’t see a clear path to victory against her. Smith is not a grappler, where you might be able to catch Cyborg in a submission. She also doesn’t have one-punch KO power, which Nunes had to lead to the win.
Ultimately, I expect Cyborg to come out aggressive and land heavy shots and go between the head and body. Eventually, she will drop Smith and finish her off via ground and pound, likely in the first or second to defend her belt. However, at -900 in the Bellator 259 odds, it’s too high of a line to play straight up, so you could parlay her with other fighters on the main card that I like.
Pick: Cris Cyborg (-900)
How Will Caldwell Do in His Return to Bantamweight?
Darrion Caldwell is the former bantamweight champ and actually submitted Leandro Higo in the first round to defend his belt back in 2018. After losing two in a row to Kyoji Horiguchi for the RIZIN title and lost his belt, he moved up to featherweight but was knocked out of the grand prix by AJ McKee.
Caldwell & Higo Recent Fights
|AJ McKee, loss by submission||Fight 1||Ricky Bandejas, win by submission|
|Adam Borics, win by submission||Fight 2||Shawn Bunch, win by submission|
|Henry Corrales, win by decision||Fight 3||Aaron Pico, loss by KO|
|Kyoji Horiguchi, loss by decision (title fight)||Fight 4||Darrion Caldwell, loss by submission (title fight)|
Just like the main event, I expect the winner of the first fight to win this one as well. Higo wins fights by using his wrestling and grappling. However, Caldwell is better than him at both of those, and on the feet, the former champ uses his jab and aggressiveness to get to the hips and get the takedown.
I expect Caldwell to get a decision win or perhaps submit Higo again to likely earn himself a number one contender fight.
Pick: Darrion Caldwell (-375)
Other Bellator 259 Picks:
- Austin Vanderford (-230): Vanderford should be able to use his wrestling to control the fight and win a decision.
- Jaleel Willis (-150): I’m really high on Willis, and I think he will be able to score a TKO win in his second Bellator fight.
Cole graduated from Sheridan College in April of 2019 with a diploma in journalism. He now is a full-time freelance writer, focusing on MMA for sites like BJPENN and MMA News, while also covering the Toronto Blue Jays as a credentialed media member. At SBD, Cole covers the four major sports and MMA.