Photo by Esther Lin via allelbows.com
After 18 months between fights, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos only took 16 seconds to complete her first fight back in the Strikeforce fold last night (December 17, 2011) in the co-main event of Strikeforce: "Melendez vs. Masvidal" in San Diego.
Santos had previously had issues with finding opposition for her 145 pound Strikeforce women's championship and as evidenced by her thrashing of Hiroko Yamanaka, those problems persist.
Believe it or not, but with an eight fight win streak and a 12-1 overall record, Yamanaka was ranked as the number two women's featherweight fighter in the world although it certainly didn't look it.
So how was "Cyborg" so successful in her return? And what's next for both fighters?
There's not much to break down in a 16 second fight, but I'll do my best. In typical Chute Box fashion, Santos charged forward looking to throw huge power strikes early. Yamanaka had to have watched "Cyborg's" fights before, she had to know this was coming so what did she do?
She met the champ in the center of the cage with her hands too low to protect her face and then to make matters worse, put both arms out extended as if that was enough to keep the Brazilian powerhouse from barreling forwards and blasting her.
She did just that, crushing Yamanaka with left hook and two quick right hands to drop her within three seconds. After considering a rear naked choke, she allowed Yamanaka to escape to feet only long enough to back her into the fence and crush the Japanese fighter with four huge hooks which dropped her again. At this point, the referee had seen enough and rightfully so, officially ruled a knockout just 16 seconds in.
For Hiroko Yamanaka, this was definitely a huge learning experience. She'd never fought outside of Tokyo before and to be thrown in against the most dominant champion in mixed martial arts today is a tall order. Many expected a quick finish, although probably not that quick. She came out with a horrible gameplan, keeping her hands too low and not defending herself from "Cyborg's" blitz attack in the opening seconds and it cost her. She likely would have stood no chance even if she fought the perfect fight so it doesn't really matter I suppose.
I doubt she gets another fight in Strikeforce. Instead, she'll likely scurry back to Japan with her tail between her legs.
For Cristiane Santos, that was a monster performance and it was exactly what fans had been hoping for. It appeared that she took out her 18 months of frustration in ever punch last night. There are no complaints coming out of my end for this one. Scott Coker called her "The Mike Tison of women's MMA" in the post-fight press conference and you'll have to search long and hard for someone who will disagree with that statement.
It'll be difficult to find another opponent. Yamanaka was number two in the world and she was a huge underdog in the betting odds If there's any options at 145, perhaps 10-0-1 fighter Rin Nakai could be offered as a sacrificial lamb. If Ronda Rousey doesn't decide to drop to 135, she could be an option as well. Santos has flirted with the idea of dropping to 135 herself, but that seems impossible at this point. She already cuts a ton of weight just to make 145 and to drop to 135 would require a serious decision to lose muscle mass and could be very dangerous physically.
We'll just have to play the waiting game in the time being.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Is Scott Coker correct in comparing Santos to Tyson? Do you actually think she can make 135 pounds?