UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Arlene Blencowe plans to implement a new approach against Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg when the duo fight Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena.© Provided by MMAJunkie
The women’s featherweight title fight is scheduled to headline Bellator 249 on CBS Sports Network, and Blencowe (13-7 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) is looking to utilize the big stage to approach Cyborg (22-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in a way not many – if any – ever have.
“Put some fear in her, stand my ground, and fight my fight,” Blencowe told MMA Junkie on Tuesday when asked about her keys to victory. “I think everyone crumbles into fighting her fight. Don’t get me wrong. If you cop a few of those punches, it probably will change things. At the end of the day, I’ve never shied away from copping punches. … I’ve just got to be very, very switched on, and fight my fight.”
Levelheadedness has been one of Blencowe’s focuses throughout camp. With elongated wait time in between fights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blencowe has worked on mental preparation. Two days away from the biggest fight of her life, the Australian was calm, as she’s confident her work is paying off.
“A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, are you scared?’ and I get asked all these weird questions,” Blencowe said. “I’m like, ‘You know what? No.’ I feel like I’ve prepared myself. I’ve mentally prepared myself for this fight since the beginning of the year. We started doing mental preparations as soon as she obviously beat Julia (Budd) for the title. … I know that I’ve done the work. Nerves always seem to sneak in a little bit more when you’ve got questions. I’ve left no stone unturned, so there’s no need to be nervous.”
Blencowe, 37, knows she’s the underdog, but that doesn’t bother her. In fact, if she puts herself in the shoes of an “outsider,” she understands where the bookmakers are coming from.
“I understand why I’m an underdog,” Blencowe said. “I’m 13-7. For anyone that’s an outsider that’s looking in at my record without knowing the full story, of course, I’m the underdog. The fact that I lost to Julia (Budd) twice, someone who Cris finished in the fourth round. Like I said, styles make fights. I feel like I’ve got the strengths to beat Cyborg. But yeah, I don’t care too much about the betting odds. Hopefully, people back home win some money.”
Australian fighters have found success on the global stage in recent years, including title reigns from current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
If Blencowe wins Thursday, she’ll become the first Australian champion in Bellator history. Representing her country on a big stage has been her goal since Day 1.
“I’m here; I’m representing Australia,” Blencowe said. “My original goal was to be an Olympian to represent Australia, but that didn’t happen. Now here I am representing Australia here on the Bellator world stage.”