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Bellator 271: Results and Takeaways

Bellator 271 took place on November 12, 2021, from the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Hollywood, FL. In the main event, Bellator Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg defended her title against Irish contender Sinead Kavanagh. Here are the results and takeaways for Bellator 271.  

Preliminary Results

Ethan Hughes def. Mahmoud Sebie via TKO (strikes) at 4:05 of Round 3

Waldo Cortes-Acosta def. Muhammed “Mo” DeReese via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Valerie Loureda def. Taylor Turner via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Cody Law def. Colton Hamm via KO (elbows) at 4:21 of Round 1

Roman Faraldo def. Robert Turnquest via KO (flying knee) at 1:17 of Round 1

Bruna Ellen def. Desiree Yanez via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Steve Mowry def. Rakim Cleveland via Submission (kimura) at 3:28 of Round 1

Main Card Results

Arlene Blencowe def. Pam Sorenson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Aaron Pico def. Justin Gonzales via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Linton Vassell def. Tyrell Fortune via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Cris Cyborg (c) def. Sinead Kavanagh via KO (strikes) at 1:32 of Round 1

Ethan Hughes Rises to the Occasion

Ethan Hughes came into Bellator 271 as a +750 underdog against 2016 Olympian Mahmoud Sebie. Both fighters entered the Bellator cage with 2-0 records and two finishes. Sebie had significantly more hype coming into the bout thanks to his Olympic wrestling background and social media following.

Sebie had the power advantage, but Hughes showed superior boxing and wrestling skills. As the fight began, Sebie was winging shots while Hughes was more calculated in his approach, and thus, more successful. Sebie looked for the takedown, but Hughes defended and reversed position while threatening submissions.

As the fight went on, Sebie looked less comfortable being in the cage. Knowing the third round was likely a must-win, Sebie rushed in for a takedown. He was successful, but Hughes was able to reverse position working his way to mount. Hughes followed up with strikes until securing the TKO in round three.

Hughes came into the bout as a massive underdog and rose to the occasion. He looked incredibly comfortable and confident right out of the gate. At 3-0, Hughes is still very early into his career, but he is a fighter you’ll want to keep on your radar. 

Valerie Loureda Bounces Back

After being upset by Hannah Guy at Bellator 259, Valerie Loureda returned to the win column with a split decision victory over Taylor Turner. Unlike in her bout against Guy, Loureda stuck to her game plan throughout the 15-minute duration, and it paid off. It was impressive how Loureda handled the size difference between herself and Turner.

With a 6 inch height and 7-inch reach disadvantage, Loureda did an excellent job of sticking and moving throughout the bout. She was in and out quickly, landing strikes and then exiting the pocket before Turner could respond. Confident she was up on the scorecards, Loureda mostly stayed on her bicycle throughout the third round. It almost cost her. After 15 minutes, Loureda won by a close split decision victory.

Also on the card was Bruna Ellen, who earned a split decision victory in her bout with Desiree Yanez. Afterward, Ellen commented that she and Loureda could meet in the future. Both fighters have impressive striking skills, which could be a fight to watch at an upcoming Bellator event.

Faraldo Delivers a Savage KO

Roman Faraldo shook the MMA community with a devastating knockout against Robert Turnquest. After 1:10 in the first round, Faraldo landed a big left, which rocked Turnquest. Smelling blood in the water, Faraldo pointed at his opponent as if to call his shot and then delivered a perfectly placed switch flying knee that connected with Turnquest’s chin, dropping him instantly. Twitter immediately erupted, calling it the knockout of the year. 

The wild KO extended Faraldo’s winning streak to six, all via knockout, including a similar flying knee that knocked out Pat Casey in Faraldo’s Bellator debut. After the fight, Faraldo called out Jason Jackson, who is currently the #3 ranked Welterweight. When asked about the call out, Jackson responded by saying, “He better take his time and crawl his way up before he gets knocked off.” No matter who’s next for Faraldo, the MMA community will be watching in anticipation of another stellar knockout.

Aaron Pico Dominates in Unanimous Decision Victory

For the first time in his career, Aaron Pico had to wait for the judges’ decision. After a well-rounded performance, Pico earned a unanimous decision victory against previously undefeated featherweight Justin Gonzales. The first round saw both fighters throwing leather. Gonzales landed a solid strike to open the fight, but from that point on, Pico took over, landing devastating body shots and ending the first round with a takedown. 

As the fight progressed, Pico used his wrestling to get Gonzales to the ground in a dominant performance that earned him the unanimous decision, including a 30-26 scorecard from one judge. Pico extended his winning streak to five. In 12 professional fights, Pico has six KO/TKO’s, two submission victories, and a dominant unanimous decision over Gonzales.

What’s Next for Cyborg?

After her bout with Kavanagh, Cyborg told John McCarthy, “I didn’t do anything my team planned, so sorry.” A comment like this would typically be from the loser, but that’s not the case with Cyborg. Instead of following her team’s game plan, she decided to take matters into her own hands and slug it out with her Irish challenger. After only 1:32, Kavanagh was on the canvas, and Cyborg was still the Bellator Featherweight champion.

Immediately after the bout, the question was, who’s next? To most of us, the answer is obvious. Bellator President Scott Coker put her in the crowd. PFL Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison was present and gave her thoughts about seeing Cyborg compete in person. “My first impression was she’s not as big as I thought she was gonna be.” Harrison continued, “All joking aside, obviously Cyborg is a trailblazer in the sport.” 

When asked about Harrison in her post-fight interview, Cyborg said, “If she wants to fight me, she knows where I’m at.” With a lack of contenders available in the Bellator Featherweight division, Kayla Harrison is the most logical choice for Cyborg’s next challenge. Harrison is a free agent at the moment, but both PFL and Bellator want to be in the Kayla Harrison business. When asked about her meeting with Scott Coker, Harrison  stated, “It went good.”

If Harrison decides to stay with the PFL, the two organizations could bring Harrison in for a one-off bout with Cyborg. Until then, we have to look at the potential contenders within Bellator. The #2 ranked featherweight Cat Zingano makes the most sense.

Cyborg even stated in her post-fight interview that she believes Zingago is next and that is who she wants to fight. Zingano is currently on a two-fight win streak. Her most recent victory was against Olivia Parker at Bellator 256. She won by submission via armbar in round one. 

Bellator will return on December 3, 2021, with Bellator 272: Pettis vs. Horiguchi live at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. In the main event, Sergio Pettis defends his Bellator bantamweight championship against challenger Kyoji Horiguchi. Also confirmed is Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Jeremy Kennedy in a featherweight feature bout.

Follow me on Twitter at @SuperbeastCraig to see my latest work. Follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to keep up to date with all things MMA!

Featured Image Credits to Bellator MMA

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