Cris Cyborg — the greatest 145-pound female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter on the planet for the past decade — tonight (Sat., July 29, 2017) finally got her opportunity to compete for an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title, taking on Invicta Bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger for the promotion’s vacant women’s Featherweight strap. As a result, few fight fans really gave Evinger much of a chance, especially considering she accepted the most difficult fight imaginable up a weight class and on short notice when Megan Anderson was forced off the card.
And believe it or not, Evinger was more than game, turning in a tough and gutsy performance. However, she simply could not hold up, succumbing to a third round technical knockout courtesy of the most feared woman in the sport.
Evinger came out with a straight shot and a low kick, but Cyborg dropped her immediately with a short shot. Cyborg remained calm, though, stalking Evinger and backing her up against the cage where she landed another hard shot. Evinger immediately pulled guard and tried to get the match on her terms, but Cyborg wasn’t about to play that game. Cyborg started to land low kicks from distance and then opened up with some spinning attacks, opening up an opportunity for Evinger to duck under and eventually score a takedown along the fence. It was fleeting, though, as Cyborg was quick to get back to her feet, drilling Evinger with a mean knee to the body on the break. There was a brief time stoppage as Cyborg caught an accidental finger in the eye. The ringside physician gave her the green light to continue and the action resumed both ladies exchanging inside leg kicks. With about one minute remaining, Cyborg tagged Evinger with a hard right hand, but Evinger was able to remain upright. Cyborg continued to assault her legs before stunning Evinger with a straight right hand as the round came to a close.
Cyborg started the second round with more inside leg kicks, chasing Evinger around the cage looking to land significant stuff upstairs. Evinger was game, though, rolling with the punches and returning fire in spurts. Evinger landed a nice right hand, but Cyborg fired back with a missile that put her up against the fence. Evinger rolled out and continued to circle and counter, but Cyborg was beginning to land with more frequent and harder shots. Cyborg drilled Evinger in the middle of the cage with a clean shot, but somehow she did not go down. Cyborg continued to chase and load up with her punches, as well as her low kicks, as Evinger appeared content to extend the bout as long as possible.
The third round started with more kicks from Cyborg, which she followed up with a hard shot that Evinger was able to absorb. The next clean one, though, dropped her flat on her back. Cyborg didn’t pursue, though, allowing her to get back up to her feet so she could continue her striking assault. Shortly afterward, she landed a Superman punch along the fence that forced Evinger to cover up. While she was defending herself, Cyborg drilled her with hard knees to the face. Evinger dropped to her knees and covered up as Cyborg went in for the kill. And it didn’t take long for the referee to peel off Cyborg, who finally — after years of hard work, persistence and bullying — hoisted UFC gold into Honda Center’s rafters.
What the hell took so long?
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