A shadow has been cast over the face of women’s MMA. Gina “Conviction” Carano, the woman who has been undefeated since her MMA debut in June 2006 was finally beat on Saturday, August 15th 2009, by an amazing female mixed martial artist known as Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. These two fighters made history as they competed for the first ever Strikeforce Female 145-pound World Championship Title at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, CA.
A tremendous amount of hype prefaced this match up as Gina Carano’s beautiful face and fierce fighting has earned her the reputation as the face of women’s MMA. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos also captured the interest of the media with her amazing strength and physique as well as her dominating, powerhouse fighting style that she has imposed almost flawlessly on every opponent she has faced. Ultimately this fight was built up to be the greatest female MMA fight in all time. It delivered just that.
While the fight lasted just less than one round, it was in my opinion one of the most exciting rounds I have ever seen. Both fighters showed amazing heart as they threw flurries of punches, elbows and executed throws and takedown menuvers. The action seemed to never stop as these women fought through various scrambles, mounts and reversals.
Gina Carano’s Muay Thai background was apparent as she landed many great jabs and overhand rights on Cyborg. Cyborg, however, continued to move forward right through Carano’s punches, seemingly unfazed, and managed to land some big shots that dazed Carano who later in the round began showing obvious signs of damage. While Carano was successful in escaping a pretty serious heel hook and americana submission attempts by Cyborg and reversed two takedown attempts into a full mount position, she was unable to inflict enough damage to stop Cyborg. Ultimately, the amazing strength of Cyborg seemed to wear out Carano as she took more and more big shots and struggled to defend herself from Cyborgs relentless ground and pound.
Finally, the fight was stopped at 4 minutes and 59 seconds in the first round as Cyborg mounted Carano, up against the cage, and rained down punches. Carano looked helpless and appeared no longer able to effectively defend herself as she took a barrage of punches to the face. The fight, and the Strikeforce Female Middleweight Championship Title was ultimately won by Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos via TKO stoppage.
In the post fight press conference, a reporter asked Cyborg if she would like to replace Gina Carano as the face of women’s MMA. Cyborg graciously said “Gina can have the title “The face of women’s MMA, I have this title”, as she points at her new world championship title belt.