The most anticipated matchup in women’s MMA to date has finally been signed. Strikeforce officially announced Gina “Conviction” Carano, unquestionably the most popular female mixed martial artist and “the face of women’s MMA”, will square off against Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos at an upcoming Strikeforce event slated for August 15th.
The Santos/Carano matchup will take women’s MMA one giant step closer to mainstream acceptance, marking the first time a women’s MMA fight will be featured as a main event for a top-tier and highly televised promotion such as Strikeforce.
Considered by many to be the number 2 female fighter behind Carano, Cristiane Santos (7-1) is the wife of fellow Chute Box Academy and Strikeforce fighter Evangelista Santos, and both share the “Cyborg” nick-name. Cristiane is currently riding a 7 fight win streak with 5 of those wins coming by (T)KO.
Her last fight, in which she was heavily criticized for not making weight, was a brutal dismantling of Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano in April at Strikeforce: ‘Shamrock vs. Diaz’. Since 2008, Santos has made it abundantly clear that she wanted a shot at Gina Carano and will now get her wish.
Gina Carano (7-0) is widely regarded as the number one female fighter in the world and is undoubtedly the most recognizable woman in MMA. The undefeated Muay Thai specialist last fought in October of last year, where she won by unanimous decision over a very game Kelly Kobold at “EliteXC: Heat”.
With her contract in limbo due to EliteXC folding, Carano had been in negotiations with Strikeforce since they acquired Pro Elite’s assets.
Her upcoming main event fight will not be the first time Gina has made women’s MMA history. Her matchup against Julie Kedzie at “EliteXC-Destiny” was the first time women were featured on the televised main card of any major MMA organization.
With both fighters previously having highly publicized problems making weight, it was not made immediately clear which weight class the Cyborg/Carano matchup will be held.
Another question will be whether three minute or five minute rounds will be used. Both fighters have previously expressed their preference towards five minute rounds.
Strikeforce has also announced the rematch of lightweight champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2) and interim lightweight title holder Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (15-2) as the co-main event and lightweight title unification bout for August 15th. The original rematch, which was slated for April, was postponed due to Thomson suffering a broken leg in training.
By: Jeff Howard