HONOLULU – Upsets happen in MMA, and if all goes according to plan Arlene Blencowe plans to remind everyone as much.
Julianna Peña shocked the world when she beat Amanda Nunes via second-round submission in the UFC. At Bellator 279 on Saturday, Blencowe (15-4 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) aims to etch something similar into the record books when she takes on champion Cris Cyborg (25-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) for the second time.
“If anyone is an MMA fan, history has just shown recently that major upsets are quite doable,” Blencowe told MMA Junkie at a news conference Thursday. “They’re achievable. No one would’ve thought Julianna Pena would’ve beat Amanda Nunes. She was a major underdog, too. Look what she came out and did. She shocked the world. As an Australian, we love being an underdog. There have been some big fights in history. I’ve got teammates that have shocked the world. Yeah, I’m ready to do that. I let a moment slip by in 2020 when I had the first opportunity and I’m grateful that I have the second opportunity to go in there and just get the job done.”
The first time Blencowe and Cyborg fought, it was a fairly one-sided affair at Bellator 249. Cyborg finished the fight by second-round rear-naked choke. Since then, both fighters have gone 2-0. Mentally, she’s steady, but Blencowe admits physical improvements and adjustments were made.
“I was actually happy with my mentality and how focused I was from fight week,” Blencowe said. “Even the first round or anything, (I never) went, ‘Sh*t, what did I get myself in for?’ I was there to fight. I feel like I’ve picked up technically. I’m more skilled now and ready to bring that aggression. I think that was lacking last fight. ‘Anger Fist’ didn’t show up. She was mentally there, but not physically there.”
“… I really do just have to be ‘Anger Fist’ and do what I did to my other opponents. Whenever I faced someone who ranked lower than me, I go out there and I’m aggressive because I don’t want my ranking taken. I want to solidify my No. 1 ranking and face girls that are above me. Marloes Coenen, Julia Budd, now, Cris Cyborg, (I need to) freeze and think, ‘Oh, I need to take it to them. Be ‘Angerfist.'”
Bellator 279 takes place Saturday at Neal S. Blaidsell Arena with the main card airing on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.