Female Fighter of 2009: “Cyborg” Santos

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 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.

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Injured “Cyborg” will not fight on Nov. 7

Photo by: PROMMA.INFO - Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos is the Strikeforce 145-pound champion and just possibly the baddest woman on the planet.
Photo by: PROMMA.INFO - Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos is the Strikeforce 145-pound women's champion and just possibly the baddest woman on the planet.

Strikeforce 145-pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos was expected to make her first title defense on Nov. 7 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffmann Estates, Ill. According to multiple reports, she has had to pull out of the card due to a shoulder injury she sustained while competing at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Championships on Sept. 27 in Barcelona.

The 24-year-old Brazilian was tentatively set to face either Marlos Coenen or Erin Toughill in what would have been her first title defense. The fight most likely would have been part of the televised portion of the card which will air live on CBS and headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers.

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“Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg” photo gallery

Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg” took place on Friday, June 19, 2009, in Kent, Wash., and PRO MMA ( was there to catch all the action. We came away with exclusive photos of all the fighters as well as some of the familiar faces who were there to watch and lend their support.

You will recognize such personalities as Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, Pat Miletich, Stephen Quadros, Sarah Kaufman, Shayna Baszler, and of course the headliners Joey Villasenor and his opponent Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos just to name a few.

Aside from the photos below, you can view all our exclusive photos from the Strikeforce Challengers event as well as photos from all the events we cover in the PRO MMA ( Photo Album. Photos after the jump…

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