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Bellator 238: Cris Cyborg vs Julia Budd Betting Odds and Predictions

Cris Cyborg and Julia Budd at the Weigh-In - Bellator MMA Logo

Cris Cyborg will make her Bellator debut when she takes on Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd in the main event of Bellator 238 at the Forum in Inglewood, California on January 25, 2020.

Cyborg is the former Strikeforce, Invicta FC and UFC women’s featherweight champion who signed with Bellator last year after a public falling out with the UFC. Budd is the reigning Bellator women’s featherweight champion who has successfully defended her belt three times. In the co-main event, former Bellator champion Darrion Caldwell takes on Adam Borics in the second quarterfinals bout of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. In another undercard fight, former UFC fighter Sergio Pettis will also make his promotional debut against Alfred Khashakyan.

Cris Cyborg vs Julia Budd

Cris Cyborg was once the most feared female mixed martial artist. The 34-year old from Curitiba in Brazil is the former Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and UFC women’s featherweight champion. She rose to prominence in 2009 when she knocked out and retired pioneer and superstar Gina Carano. Cyborg has a record of 21-2 with 17 knockouts. Her first-round knockout loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 was her first stoppage loss. She defeated Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 and then didn’t get re-signed by the UFC.

Julia Budd is a veteran of Strikeforce and Invicta FC. She is the current and inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight champion. This former kickboxer Budd has a record of 13-2 with six knockouts and one submission victory. Her losses have come against Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes. She has won 11 consecutive bouts, six by stoppage. Budd has finished three out of her last four fights, all of which were title bouts. She stands 5-8 tall and has a reach of 70 inches.

Moneyline Odds:

  • Cyborg (-420) | Budd (+320)
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 01/22/20

Both women are known for their knockout power. Budd has won nearly half of her bouts by knockout or TKO while Cyborg has stopped 17 opponents in 21 wins. Budd has gotten better since we first saw her and during her current title reign, she has used pressure to overwhelm her opponents. She also has good ground skills but she’d rather use her grappling prowess to control the action on the ground and prefer to land strikes rather than go for submission moves.

Cyborg is, without doubt, the biggest opponent that Budd has ever faced. Like Budd, Cyborg likes to put the pressure on her opponents and swarm them with her powerful punches. While Budd has very good punching power, I think Cyborg wins a phone booth war between these two. When it comes to wrestling though, I think Budd is more equipped. But I doubt if this fight will ever go down to the mat. These are two strikers who believe in their punching power.

Justino certainly has more experience here and she has fought better opposition. Cyborg has also been in many fights bigger than this so this will be just another day in the office for her. As for Budd, this is the biggest fight of her career. Look for these two women to test each other’s power early. I think that we’re going to see plenty of toe to toe action and while both have a chance to win by stoppage, I think that Cyborg is the more experienced and more powerful puncher.


Cris Cyborg

Darrion Caldwell vs Adam Borics

Darrion Caldwell won the Bellator bantamweight title at Bellator 184 by defeating Eduardo Dantas. He started his career in 2012 and picked up three straight wins at Legacy FC before moving to Bellator where he won his first six bouts. He suffered his first loss to Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 159 but avenged the loss one fight later. Caldwell is 14-3 with two knockouts and five wins by submission.

Adam Borics is undefeated in 14 professional MMA bouts with five knockouts and seven wins by submission. The 5-11 from Budapest was a standout at the Hungary Fighting Championship and Final Fight Championship before taking his act to Bellator. He had a spectacular 2019 as he knocked out Aaron Pico at Bellator 222 at the Madison Square Garden and then finished former Bellator champion Pat Curran in his first match of the Grand Prix.

Moneyline Odds:

  • Caldwell (-125) | Borics (+105)
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 01/22/20

The Wolf has found success at 145 pounds and he owns a four-inch height advantage here. Caldwell is a former NCAA wrestling champion so he should have the advantage in that department. But most of his success came at bantamweight and he’s fought only once before at featherweight. Borics was known as a submission artist and two of his Bellator wins have been by Tapout but he has proven to be a very good striker. Borics is creative on his feet and has recorded flashy finishes over Aaron Pico and Teodor Nikolov. He has also shown that he can hold his own when it comes to wrestling. That said, I think Borics is a terrific all-around fighter and that is going to be a problem for Caldwell. I think that Borics will become a threat the longer this fight goes. Caldwell faded against Horiguchi and if he hasn’t fixed that problem, he’s in trouble here.


Adam Borics

Sergio Pettis vs Alfred Khashakyan

Sergio Pettis is the younger brother of Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Like his big brother, he fought for the UFC but unlike Showtime, he didn’t find as much success. The younger Pettis won seven of his first nine UFC bouts but dropped three out of his last four before signing a promotional contract with Bellator late last year. Pettis owns notable wins over Chris Cariaso, John Moraga, Brandon Moreno, and Joseph Benavidez. He has a record of 18-5 with three knockouts and three wins by submission.

Alfred Khashakyan was featured in “Dana White’s Looking for a Fight” series and also fought for the UFC boss’ Contender Series. He didn’t find success there and so he joined the LXF Promotion where he won its bantamweight and featherweight titles last year. Khashakyan has a record of 11-4 with all of his wins coming by way of knockout. Fearless stands 5-8 tall and is 31 years old while fighting out of Glendale, California. He has won three straight bouts, all coming by way of first-round knockout.

Moneyline Odds:

  • Pettis (-275) | Khashakyan (+235)
  • Odds from BetOnline as of 01/22/20

Khashakyan has the advantage in height and reach here but I think this is a “gift” fight for Pettis after he signed with the promotion. Showtime’s younger brother is by far the more experienced fighter here. He is also more well-rounded with a good mix of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and striking skills. He also has faced better opponents and has found a good amount of success at the highest level. The only downside with Pettis is his lack of ability to finish fights with 12 of his 18 wins coming by decision. The only chance for Khashakyan here is if he lands something big that shakes up Pettis. However, given the experience of Pettis, I think this will be an easy win in his Bellator debut.


Sergio Pettis