Arlene Blencowe has lost to Cris Cyborg via unanimous decision. Photo: @BellatorMMA/Twitter.

Australia's Arlene Blencowe has fallen short in her third attempt at the Bellator Women's Featherweight title, losing to Cris Cyborg by unanimous decision at Bellator 279.

It was not to be for Australia’s Arlene Blencowe (15-9) who fell short in her third attempt to gain the Bellator Women’s Featherweight title, going down to Cris Cyborg (26-2) again by unanimous decision.

All three judges scored the fight 49 to 45 in favour of Cyborg, who dominated all five rounds of the fight to retain her belt.

Blencowe entered the bout coming off a two fight win streak, after losing to Cyborg in her second attempt at the title back in October 2020. If there is any solace to take away from the result, it was that the Sydney native was able to go all five rounds, having been submitted via rear-naked choke in their first meeting.

However much like the first meeting Cyborg was dominant again, with her power and output proving to be the difference. The Brazilian came into the fight with a good game plan, not putting herself into any situations where Blencowe would have the opportunity to land a knockout blow.

With both women being heavy punchers, each made sure that their opposite got a taste of power in the first round. Throughout the five minutes, it was clear that the pair were willing to sit down on their punches.  

Blencowe’s best moment of the round came following a head kick from Cyborg, answering back with a right hand that got the champion’s attention.

Cyborg did however land the most significant strike of the opening round when she scored a knockdown with a straight right along the fence.

On the ground, Cyborg threatened with a rear-naked choke and then proceeded to strike Blencowe with an illegal knee while she was still grounded. The blow resulted in a point deduction from referee Jason Herzog.

When the action resumed, Cyborg immediately took Blencowe down again, this time attempting an arm-triangle choke. Wise to this, the Jackson-Wink trained challenger was able to escape and get back to her feet.

In the second round the power of Cyborg began having more effect, as shown by the damaged caused by her in the striking exchanges. It was this advantage that saw Cyborg open a cut above the left eye of Blencowe with an elbow late in the round..  

During the third, Cyborg began mixing in her kicks, targeting all parts of Blencowe’s body, the leg strikes in particular starting to take effect. Blencowe however remained as game as ever, continuing to press forward and was able to land a left hook that knocked her foe off balance.

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During the early part of the fourth, Blencowe was again able to knock Cyborg off balance, prompting a shift to a grappling centred approach. Here, the title holder was able to take Blencowe down with a suplex, before moving straight into side control and landing elbows.

Though compromised, ‘Angerfist’ did a strong job defending and was eventually able to get back to her feet for the final 45 seconds of the round.

Cyborg was able to cruise to victory in the fifth, landing on a Blencowe who was unable to answer back with anything significant.

The statistics reflect a clear dominance from Cyborg, who landed 141 strikes compared to 67. She also did a better job of mixing up her strikes, with 56 punches, 59 kicks and 18 knees.

It is now back to the drawing board for Blencowe who finds herself in a difficult position having lost twice to the reigning champion. The New South Welshwoman has proven herself to be the second best fighter in the division though, having beaten all other contenders the promotion has put in her way.

A potential next opponent for Blencowe could be against Sinead Kavanagh (8-5), whom she beat back in 2017 via split decision.

For Cyborg she will look to continue her dominant title reign, ready for whoever the Bellator match makers give her, though a likely match up appears to be fellow veteran Cat Zingano (12-4).

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