Hit and Cris: Ex-UFC queen Cyborg batters floored foe with barrage of shots to bag brutal win with 10 second of fight left (VIDEO)
Featherweight champion Cyborg appeared to be on her way to a convincing win when she battered Smith to the cage with a heavy right hand with ten seconds remaining at UFC 259 in Connecticut, allowing her to take aim at her ailing rival and fellow former UFC fighter.
While some fans felt hugely experienced referee Dan Miragliotta should have let the clash reach its timed confusion despite Smith's grim predicament, the official had seen enough and stepped in to save the 38-year-old from being badly beaten to the head and body, extending Cyborg's unbeaten Bellator record.
Astonishingly durable Smith took some huge shots during the fight and was slammed backwards and over Cyborg's head into the mat at one point in a move that had many fans joking about 'suplex'-style wrestling showboating.
"Leslie was out," suggested one viewer, analyzing the end of the fight. "Got woken up by punches. Dan was off on that one, in my opinion."
Another said: "Agreed, way delayed. Cris stopped punching when she went out – that's when it should have been stopped."
Leslie Smith can take a shot! pic.twitter.com/mnDhWJZ98m— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) May 22, 2021
Cyborg needed less than a round to punch her way to a TKO win over Smith when the pair met at UFC 198 almost exactly five years ago. "I really put some clear shots on her," said the promotion's pound-for-pound number one.
"She handled it. I knew she was tough. I knew she was not going to stop. Sometimes you hit and you hit.
Leslie was out…got woken up by punches. Dan was off on that one, imo.— Steven Marrocco (@MMAFightingSM) May 22, 2021
Agreed, way delayed. Cris stopped punching when she went out, thats when it should have been stopped.— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) May 22, 2021
"I saw, sometimes, that she was out a little bit but I kept punching and waited for the referee to stop it.
"My team were working on patience with me. If I am patient, then I can finish the fight clearly. I know my friends don't like this, my mum doesn't like this – she wants me to finish the fight as soon as possible.
That's the first 5th round finish in Cris Cyborg's career. #Bellator259— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) May 22, 2021
One thing not in question: Leslie Smith unbelievably tough, both in and out of cage.— Steven Marrocco (@MMAFightingSM) May 22, 2021
"I did this camp with half girls, half boys. That made me very happy. At the beginning of my career, 16 years ago, I was the only girl training with 40 guys.
"The way the situation has improved so much makes my heart very happy."
Cyborg called out another veteran, Cat Zingano, as the fighter she would like to face next.Also on rt.com ‘You will lose’: MMA temptress Loureda’s corner told her to ‘stop stupid sh*t’ on way to brutal first professional defeat (VIDEO)