MMA Flashback: Cris Cyborg loses her pro debut by double kneebar

Cris Cyborg (left) and Erica Paes both made their professional MMA debuts against each other on May 17, 2005, at Showfight 2 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The date is May 17, 2005. The location is DirecTV Music Hall in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The fight card is Showfight 2 and a 20-year-old young lady by the name of Cristiane Santos, who is fighting out of the Chute Boxe camp, is making her pro MMA debut against Brazilian Top Team’s Erica Paes, who is also making her pro debut.

The fight did not last long, in fact, only 1:46 into the first round. Santos came out striking, landing a right hand before Paes put her on her back. Santos eventually fights her way back to her feet where she aggressively attacks Paes who is still on her back. Paes ends up tripping Santos back to the ground and immediately locks on an extremely rare double kneebar submission (aka “Russian Cowboy” according to Eddie Bravo) forcing Santos to tap out.

Although Paes won the fight, it would be her one and only pro MMA victory. She fought only one more time, five months later, losing via knockout to Dina Van den Hooven in Portugal. She eventually went on to pursue a career in music.

As for Santos, well, she never lost again. She won her next 11 fights (nine by knockout) over a span of six years and went on to become affectionately known as Cris “Cyborg”, the Strikeforce women’s 145 pound champion and the undisputed baddest woman on the planet.

On Jan. 6, 2011, it was announced Cris “Cyborg” Santos had tested positive for stanozolol metabolites, an anabolic steroid, following a Dec. 17, 2010, first round KO victory and title defense over Hiroko Yamanaka at “Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” in San Diego. Santos was stripped of her championship title, fined $2,500, suspended for one year by the California State Athletic Commission and her win over Yamanaka was changed to a “no-contest”.

At only 26-years-old, the Cris “Cyborg” story is far from over. Unfortunately for her though, her once great legacy now has an asterisk next to it and all that she has accomplished in MMA will forever be questioned. However, the good news is she is still young enough to bounce back, redeem herself, repair her image and prove to the MMA world she really is the great champion all believed her to be.

Cris Cyborg vs. Erica Paes – May 17, 2005 (Showfight 2, Sao Paulo, Brazil)

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