Cat Zingano vs. Olivia Parker booked for Bellator 256
A former UFC title challenger has her next fight booked – and a win could set her up for a Bellator title shot.
Cat Zingano (11-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) will take on promotional newcomer Olivia Parker (4-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a women’s featherweight bout at Bellator 256 next month. A promotional official confirmed the booking to MMA Junkie following an initial report from ESPN.com.
Bellator 256 takes place April 9 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will be Bellator’s second in 2021 and second on Showtime.
Zingano started her career 9-0, including wins in her first two UFC fights – TKOs of eventual bantamweight champions Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, who now is a two-division titleholder. She got a shot at Ronda Rousey’s bantamweight title, but was submitted in just 14 seconds.
After more than 16 months away, she returned at UFC 200 and dropped a decision to Julianna Pena. She was away another 20 months after that and returned to a split decision loss to Ketlen Vieira. After a decision win over Marion Reneau in July 2018, she moved to featherweight and had a TKO loss to Megan Anderson at UFC 232 in a fight in which she suffered an accidental eye poke only about a minute in.
Zingano was a high-profile free agent signing for Bellator in October 2019, but it was nearly a year before her promotional debut at Bellator 245 this past September. She stayed at featherweight and beat Gabby Holloway by unanimous decision. Because of the lack of depth of Bellator’s women’s featherweight division, a win over Parker could set Zingano up for a shot at champion Cris Cyborg.
The 39-year-old Parker is based in Tennessee and a teammate of UFC standout Ovince Saint-Preux. She started her pro career 4-0, including three stoppage wins under the Valor Fighting Challenge banner. In July 2020, she moved up a level, but was submitted in the first round by Chelsea Chandler at Invicta FC 40.
With the addition, the Bellator 256 lineup now includes:
- Champ Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida – for light heavyweight title; light heavyweight tournament opening round
- Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov – light heavyweight tournament opening round
- Diana Avsaragova vs. Tara Graff
- Nainoa Dung vs. Izzy William
- Jaylon Bates vs. Jeffrey Glossner
- Nathan Ghareeb vs. Cody Law
- Jessica Borga vs. Talita Nogueira
- Olivia Parker vs. Cat Zingano