Present BELLATOR 145-pound titleholder and top-ranked ladies’s pound-for-pound fighter Cris “Cyborg” and No. 4 ranked featherweight Leslie Smith previewed their BELLATOR MMA on SHOWTIME important occasion world title struggle throughout a digital media availability Wednesday. Cyborg vs. Smith 2 headlines a loaded important card from high to backside Friday, Might 21 stay on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The BELLATOR MMA 259 important card additionally options former bantamweight champion Darion Caldwell rematching No. 6 ranked bantamweight Leandro Higo in a 135-pound contest, a top-five middleweight conflict between the undefeated No. 3 ranked middleweight Austin Vanderford and No. 4 ranked middleweight Fabian Edwards, and a welterweight matchup that may see the streaking Jaleel Willis face off in opposition to former LFA champion Maycon Mendonca, who will probably be making his promotional debut. Capping off the principle card motion would be the undefeated Jackson Wink-product and No. 9 ranked mild heavyweight Christian Edwards difficult Mississippi’s Ben Parrish.
Here’s what the fighters needed to say Wednesday:
Cris Cyborg, BELLATOR Featherweight World Champion
“I respect each opponent that fights with me and I actually practice for everybody another way however exhausting. Leslie for me, I do know we fought earlier than, however I respect her prefer it’s a brand new opponent. No one is similar as 5 years in the past. I’m a unique fighter from 5 years in the past. I’m higher now than I used to be earlier than. I labored actually exhausting and I’m excited to have a struggle once more.
“I’ve performed sports activities my complete life, and I do know generally it’s a win and generally it’s a loss. The one factor I at all times have in my thoughts, I give all the pieces in my camp. I practice with all the pieces so once I step within the cage, if I lose the struggle I do know that I did all the pieces. I at all times do my finest once I step within the cage, if it’s her day there’s nothing I can do.
“When you’ve been watching in my profession and watching all my fights and my final two fights, you see that I’ve improved. I really feel proud of all my victories. I’m higher at all the pieces. Higher grappling. Higher jiu-jitsu. I’m coaching exhausting. And should you watch my fights you possibly can see that.”
Leslie Smith, BELLATOR Featherweight
“I’ve achieved all the bodily preparation and I’ve achieved all the psychological preparation. Expertise is certainly the perfect instructor. I do know what I did final time that didn’t work and I do know what I want to do that time with the intention to make it work.
“I’m not Amanda Nunes, I’m Leslie Smith. I’m my very own fighter, I’m doing my factor. However I positively have been studying from all people [who has fought Cyborg] and we have now seen loads of totally different techniques that folks can make the most of within the cage in opposition to Cyborg.
“I’ve modified a lot as a fighter since our first struggle. Earlier than, I believed I used to be invincible. I actually, really did. I’d by no means been dropped. I’ve by no means even been dropped since then. I didn’t care about protection and that’s a fairly large a part of the sport. I imply, Floyd Mayweather – individuals know him as one of the best ever and his recreation is principally primarily based on being defensive. It’s a complete facet of a struggle that I hadn’t centered on earlier than. I’ve expanded my recreation and it has made me a way more dynamic fighter and it has given me a a lot better understanding of the place to reap the benefits of alternatives and learn how to create alternatives. I simply see much more than I ever did earlier than.”
Darrion Caldwell, BELLATOR Bantamweight
“Each rematch that I’ve had, I at all times consider that I used to be popping out higher than the primary struggle. I can think about him popping out and feeling that approach however in the identical sense, I’m popping out and feeling that approach as effectively. I feel you’re going to see a greater me come Friday.
“Street to redemption for me seems to be like me getting my title again and preserving it. It seems to be like me coming off a setback, righting my wrongs and going by way of this division. I ought to have been a king since 2018 once I first gained the title. I had a setback and now I’m right here to proper my wrongs and I’m right here to redeem something that was both taken from me or that I misplaced.”
Leandro Higo, BELLATOR Bantamweight
“I’m a completely totally different Leandro Higo from our first struggle. Leandro “alter-Higo”. Three years in the past I used to be a totally totally different fighter and utterly totally different individual and now I’m a extra full fighter contained in the cage and outdoors the cage. Bodily, mentally and as an individual and I’ll show that on Friday night time.
“You guys have seen how I’ve advanced in my final two fights. I’m at all times bringing new expertise to a struggle like I did in opposition to Bandejas. You’re going to see an aggressive Leandro. A man that’s coming to take his head off and at all times attempting to complete the struggle.”
Austin Vanderford, BELLATOR Middleweight
“I feel a win right here places me within the combine for a title shot however I’ve mentioned in previous interviews that I need to guarantee that I am going out and earn it. The primary a part of that’s going out and acting on Friday and making an announcement.
“After I began this, my aspiration was at all times simply to be a world champion no matter approach it took to get there and nonetheless quickly it took. I’ve had lots of people round me who’ve at all times actually believed in me and I consider in myself.”
Fabian Edwards, BELLATOR Middleweight
“Struggling the primary lack of my profession, I’m pissed. I’m not going to lie. So I’m going to go on the market and put stress on him. I’m going to indicate my intentions from the get-go. I learn a remark someplace that he’s going to come back in and mess my face up. Not an opportunity that’s going to occur. Studying these feedback from him and struggling my first loss lit that fireplace in my abdomen so I’m going to go on the market and beat him up dangerous.
“I feel that is the proper matchup to showcase my expertise. My MMA expertise. He’s going to be stepping into there attempting to take me down and it’s as much as me to defend these takedowns and land some tasty pictures on him. I feel it’s the proper matchup if I’m sincere.”
Jaleel Willis, BELLATOR Welterweight
“You’ll be able to anticipate to see me put all of my exhausting work that I’ve been doing since my final BELLATOR struggle in and pour all of it out. I’m considering this will probably be a second-round end.
“BELLATOR placing me on the principle card actually touches on how a lot they care about me as knowledgeable and as a fighter. I need to present them how a lot I care about them as a corporation by going out right here and placing all the pieces I bought on the road. Going out right here and displaying that out of all of the individuals right here, out of all people on this stacked card, they bear in mind the realest. I need BELLATOR to know that whenever you put the realest on the cardboard, it’s taking place and he’s combating all the best way to the tip.”
Christian Edwards, BELLATOR Gentle Heavyweight
“Retaining my undefeated file means quite a bit as a result of no secret right here, however I really like profitable. There’s no feeling prefer it. There’s no excessive like the sensation of profitable a combined martial arts struggle. I can’t even describe it with phrases. I don’t ever need to expertise the sensation of shedding. I really feel like my mindset and my confidence enhances my skillset rather well and I see myself being undefeated for a very long time, if not my complete profession.
“Followers can anticipate a dominant efficiency on my behalf. Simply violence. There’s clearly sure issues that I’ve to be careful for with him as a result of I do know that he’s a recreation opponent and I do know he’s going to come back to win. However he’s not prepared for what I’m going to throw at him. I’m going to hit him with my most violent and malicious strategies and he’ll fold underneath the stress.”