Strikeforce is set to pull the trigger on its historic show tonight (Aug. 15) from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
Historic because the promotion crowned the first ever female 145-pound champion, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, after an aggressive and dominant performance over Gina "Conviction" Carano.
It was fireworks from the get-go, with the Brazilian powerhouse pummeling the face of mixed martial arts and using every second of the five-minute first round to do so ... literally.
Carano appeared to be handling the relentless attack and taking it in stride before a blitz in the final few seconds was too much to handle. In a buzzer-beating finish, Cyborg earned a technical knockout win with just one second remaining in the opening frame.
The ending was a bit confusing because it seemed the referee stepped in after the horn blared, but upon further review it was a legit call and a clear result:
Cyborg Santos is the new Strikeforce 145-pound female champion.
It's perhaps not the storybook ending for which Strikeforce and Showtime were hoping, but one that will go down in the history books as one to remember.
What an exciting main event -- quality over quantity.
In other action, as promised, the light heavyweight tilt between Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Gegard Mousasi did not last long.
60 seconds, to be exact.
A calm and cool Mousasi obliterated the Brazilian with a brutal ground and pound that forced the referee in charge of the action, "Big" John McCarthy, to call a halt to the action when Sobral's eyes rolled back in his head.
It was a vicious assault and an incredible performance from the Armenian import in his United States debut against an opponent 10 years his elder. It was also the first fight for the former middleweight in his light heavyweight debut.
Talk about making a statement. With an exclamation point. Five of them.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou is up next for at the DREAM "Super Hulk" tournament later this year, but when it comes to Strikeforce, not really sure who is up next Mousasi. However, whoever it is, has certainly been put on notice.
"The Dreamsnatcher" is now a force at 205 pounds. Wow.
Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez was out for revenge against Mitsuhiro "Endless Fighter" Ishida, attempting to avenge the first loss of his young career.
From the opening bell, Melendez peppered Ishida with a left jab to keep his distance and stay outside the range of Ishida, who took the first bout with relentless takedowns and ground and pound.
Not this time.
Melendez wore on the Japanese fighter, tiring him out by avoiding the takedowns and punishing him on the breaks. He took his time and essentially beat up Ishida for three rounds before going in for the kill.
He scored a big takedown and pounded his way to victory, leaving no room for controversy this time around and retaining his interim 155-pound title that he admitted he doesn't even want.
Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson is now on the clock.
In the opening fight of the night, Fabricio Werdum made short work of his former training partner, Mike Kyle, with a nice guillotine choke. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist was supposed to challenge Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem before the Dutch fighter had to withdraw because of a hand injury.
Werdum certainly kept his chances for a title shot alive with the convincing win tonight, but he's perhaps more interested in taking on a different heavyweight instead, Fedor Emelianenko.
It's a solid match up that would be a stiff test for the Russian -- Werdum is a top fighter in the division. When asked after the win about his next fight, Werdum gave the diplomatic answer, saying he'd fight anyone.
He proved that tonight defeating Kyle quickly and on short notice. Perhaps with a win now under his belt, it was good enough to convince the Strikeforce brass that he's ready for bigger and better things.
Emelianenko would certainly fit that bill.
That's a wrap, folks. Strikeforce: "Carano vs. Cyborg" is now a footnote in mixed martial arts history. What were your thoughts -- impressed or depressed? Let's hear what you got, Maniacs, in the comments section below.
To check out complete Strikeforce: "Carano vs. Cyborg" results and round-by-round coverage of the main card action on Showtime click here.