Outside of her own camp, there’s virtually nobody who thinks Sinead Kavanagh has a chance on Friday night against the legendary Cris Cyborg. But, the Irish fighter will take her shot at winning a featherweight title when the two meet in the main event of Bellator 271 in Hollywood, Florida.
Cyborg (24-2) rates as a massive favorite against the little-known Kavanagh heading into the fight.
Cyborg looking for worthy opponents
DraftKings Sportsbook lists her as a -4000 favorite over Kavanagh (+1700), numbers that reflect the public sentiment heading into the bout. In fact, many of the questions Cyborg has answered have been about potential future opponents – including the undefeated Kayla Harrison (12-0) – rather than her fight on Friday.
“I don’t have any problems with Kayla. We can fight. It’s a good fight for me, too,” Cyborg told MMA Junkie. “Maybe I can have a rematch with Amanda Nunes. Maybe I can fight somebody who is the champion in PFL. Maybe I can have the opportunity to fight in Japan. That’s one of my dreams, but I’m focused Friday on Sinead.”
Kavanagh (7-4) holds just a 4-4 record in Bellator. The Irish 35-year-old won her last two fights to put herself in position to challenge Cyborg on Friday. Kavanagh fought as an amateur boxer, but found that there was no pay in it for her in Ireland.
“I was boxing 10 years, but I had to leave and go to MMA,” Kavanagh told the BBC. “Never give up on your dream. This is where it’s taken me, to Miami to fight the best in the world. You can’t write that, what’s happening. If I win this belt, it’s going to be some story and I can do it.”
Oddsmakers don’t see path to upset
Given her background, it would be reasonable to think that Kavanagh has a puncher’s chance – the opportunity to land a flash knockout that rocks the MMA world. But, she’s earned just four of her seven career wins via knockout, and all against far lesser opposition than Cyborg. DraftKings actually sees a decision (+2800) as a slightly more likely path to victory for Kavanagh than a stoppage (+3500).
|Cris Cyborg vs. Sinead Kavanagh Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Cris Cyborg: -4000||Sinead Kavanagh: +1700|
|Method of Victory|
|Cyborg by KO/TKO: -450||Kavanagh by KO/TKO: +3500|
|Cyborg by Submission: +350||Kavanagh by Submission: +5500|
|Cyborg by Decision: +650||Kavanaugh by Decision: +2800|
It’s hard to see this fight as anything more than Cyborg’s bout to lose. In all likelihood, the 36-year-old veteran will put Kavanagh away within the 25 minutes it will take to get to the final bell.
Yet Kavanagh and her team say that anything is possible on Friday night.
“Of course she’s a great fighter, a legend,” Kavanagh told MMA Junkie. “But I have to put that aside. I need to make a name for myself. I’m ready to do that and put this on the line. No matter who’s in my way, I’m going to leave my soul in that cage fight night. Win, lose, or draw, I’ll know I did my best.”