Though she fought bravely and capably, Gina Carano was overmatched in her bout last night with Cris “Cyborg” Santos. The strength difference was evident early, and quite telling; Cyborg was pretty much able to control Carano at will. When the referee stopped the fight, at 4:59 of the first round, Carano was on the ground, covered up and taking punches from Cyborg without returning fire. Nearly coincident with the bell to end the round, the referee’s decision was slightly controversial-but only slightly.
So now that women’s MMA has a new face, how will people react? Cyborg will not likely become the media darling that Carano was, but one has to believe that she has earned considerable respect for herself and for the sport she represents.
Barring a rematch, and there isn’t reason now to think there will be one, Cyborg’s next opponent will probably be Erin Toughill, the reserve fighter who would have fought last night if either Carano or Cyborg could not fight. A big, strong woman with plenty of MMA experience, Toughill (another former Gladiator) will test the new champ.