Cyborg vs. Budd

Cris Cyborg had about as good of a promotional debut as a fighter can ask for.

In her return to The Forum in Los Angeles, California, Cyborg reigned supreme. The Brazilian legend defeated Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd by fourth-round TKO (1:14) to claim gold once again.

“God is so amazing,” Cyborg told John McCarthy following her victory. “I [lost] my [UFC featherweight] belt here at The Forum and he [brought] me back here.”

With the victory, Cyborg became the first woman to hold belts in Strikeforce, Invicta, UFC and Bellator.

The performance itself reminded everyone of the Cyborg of old.

As the two fighters reached the center of the cage, Cyborg struck first, coming forward and landing a body shot. Budd slowed the pursuit of the challenger by clinching with her and forcing her back against the cage.

Cyborg escaped the clinch and landed a knee on the break that appeared to shake Budd momentarily. Budd tried to clinch again, but Cyborg brought the bout to the mat briefly, controlling where the two fighters went before Budd regained control of the clinch against the cage.

It was Cyborg who landed the better shots within the clinch, but she decided against staying in it. A slip on a high kick by Cyborg brought the fight to the mat, where both fighters had their moments — Cyborg a submission attempt and Budd some top control and ground strikes (one knee of which caused a break in the action due to the legality of it).

Cyborg hurt Budd before the round came to a close, and she finished the opening five minutes with a couple of heavy ground and pound shots.

Cyborg came out swinging to start the second, not wanting to give her opponent a chance to recover.

The Bellator newcomer continued to have success on the break of the clinch with her hooks. Cyborg set the pace throughout the round, forcing Budd to fight her fight.

Budd went back to the clinch to start the third round, but Cyborg held her own once again, matching every strike thrown by the champion.

Budd briefly looked for a high-crotch takedown before abandoning the move. Soon after, the fighters returned to range once again.

After a takedown, Budd found herself in a difficult situation with Cyborg on top of her raining down shots. She would stay on her back for the remainder of the round as Cyborg worked from top, nearly getting a finish before the bell.

Cyborg took the center of the cage, stalking and looking for an opportunity in round four.

When she ultimately decided it was time to strike, Cyborg unleashed a flurry that overwhelmed the champion and rendered her incapable of continuing. A right hand to the body of Budd sealed the deal.

The loss was just the third of Budd’s professional career. She has been defeated by Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey and now Cyborg — the previous two losses coming in Strikeforce in 2011.

“It just wasn’t my night,” Budd said after the bout, “so I’ll be back stronger, but congrats to Cris and her team.”

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