The “Muy Thai Machine” and “Baddest Woman South of the Equator” Cris Cyborg Santos definitely earned her title in the single round she fought with reigning favorite Gina Carano.
Cyborg is known as an explosive, powerful fighter with perhaps less technical control and ability than Carano, and this proved accurate in the Strikeforce fight. I think Gina wanted to play a longer game; draw out the fight for more rounds, but she didn’t take advantage of at least one major opportunity to return massive fire from a dominant position in that first and only round, instead getting up to draw Cyborg into a stand up fight. Carano’s standing game looks very good, but Cyborg was having none of it, and made four take down attempts to Carano’s zero, and was successful in two of them.
The last was the fateful one; Cyborg got on top and although Carano had leverage against the cage for a little while, she lost that and Cyborg began raining power rights against Gina’s face, almost none of which were blocked or defended. I counted 13 driving rights to the face in a row before the ref shouldered Cyborg off and called the fight as the horn to end the round sounded.
Initially I felt bad for Carano, who I think would have gone a second round with Cyborg, but after seeing the damage on her face (while Cyborg’s face looked untouched) I wondered. Gina just didn’t have the same kind of almost manic energy Cris was putting out there. This wasn’t her game, and in order to win I think Carano needed to stop thinking about going distance, and instead think about punching some of the wind out of Cyborg’s sails. Easy for me to say, of course.
Still, it was an incredible match, and the eyes of the world will be on Cyborg to see what she does next.
- Carano and Cyborg Weigh In on Target
- Fiiiight! Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg
- First (Unofficial) Match!