Cristiane Justino is not stupid.
She knows it will be tough to sell mixed martial arts (MMA) fans on her upcoming featherweight title fight, simply because most folks have never heard of Yana Kunitskaya ahead of her “Foxy” debut in the UFC 222 pay-per-view (PPV) main event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That’s why the Brazilian plans to deliver the most violent performance possible (not sure she can top this), which is why most of us tune into a Justino fight in the first place. And hey, maybe we’ll get a little bonus by finally getting to see her jiu-jitsu chops.
”I want to make this my fight and give the fans the violent performance they have come to expect from me,” Justino told L.A. Times. “Fans have seen me wrestle. Fans have seen me strike. Maybe the fans will see my Brazilian jiujitsu.”
Justino helped the promotion get out of a PPV jam when Max Holloway was injured and forced to withdraw. In the absence of a title fight, UFC was nearly forced to convert UFC 222 to a free fight card on FOX Sports 1.
But “Cyborg” did them a short-notice solid in hopes they’ll return the favor.
“When [the UFC] called saying they needed a new main event, we saw this as an opportunity to prove to everyone that Cris Cyborg can be a company girl and that I’m willing to step up when the promotion needs it,” she said.
In return, Justino wants to be promoted and marketed better (can’t imagine why).
Since making her Octagon debut in early 2016, Justino (19-1, 1 NC) has rattled off five straight wins, four of which have come by way of violent knockout. Her most recent performance, however, may have been her most impressive, out-striking former boxing champion Holly Holm.
See you on March 3 in “Sin City.”