Elite XC did a lot of ridiculous things that caused MMA fans and journalists to smash their heads against the proverbial wall. However, one of the positive things they did was bring attention to women’s MMA. The promotion that brought us $kala also brought us Gina Carano and the 2009 ProMMA.info female fighter of the year.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos put herself on a collision course with Carano in 2008. After Elite XC closed their doors, the fans hoped that another promotion would save the match up. Eventually Strikeforce stepped up and signed the fighters.
Before taking on the so-called face of women’s MMA, “Cyborg” had to get by veteran Hitomi Akano. The fight almost didn’t happen since Santos didn’t even come close to making weight. In the cage, “Cyborg” was entirely dominant as she finished her undersized opponent late in the third round.
On Aug. 15, 2009 Santos and Carano finally had their day. For the first time ever two women headlined a major televised event. The winner would also receive the first women’s title from a major MMA promotion. “Cyborg” overwhelmed Carano. The most popular female fighter in history was never really in the fight. The referee stopped the fight due to strikes with seconds left in the first round.
After owning 2009, Santos appears on track to continue her rise to the top inside and outside the cage. Her next fight will come against another tough veteran, Marloes Coenen, on Jan. 30. There are also rumors that she could pose for Playboy magazine.
Be sure to check out the rest of the awards
ProMMA.info Breakthrough Fighter of 2009: Muhammed Lawal
ProMMA.info Disappointment of 2009: Josh Barnett
ProMMA.info Submission of 2009: Toby Imada’s Inverted Triangle Choke
More coming soon!