Cyborg’s Next Test

Women’s MMA is Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos’ oyster.  Since conquering Gina Carano last August, the Strikeforce Featherweight Champion continues to improve at an alarming rate.  Cyborg’s recent destruction over submission veteran Marloes Coenen, makes the contender’s list look more like a grocery list for Cyborg to gobble up.  Women’s MMA is still in its infancy stage and the biggest obstacle is the incredibly shallow talent pool.  Coenen was Cyborg’s stiffest challenge to date, but Cyborg still stalked her down and finished her in 3 rounds. Cyborg is a beast and the only question surrounding her is who can challenge her?

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is hoping his latest acquisition and named next-in-line challenger, Erin Toughill, is the one who can actually threaten Cyborg’s title.  Coker would have preferred building Toughill for the American audience but Cyborg’s dominance has forced his hand.  Toughill is a big, strong and experienced fighter in both MMA (10-2-1) as well as boxing (8-2-1).  She is a worthy adversary for the champion and for the 1st time in her career, Cyborg will find her natural advantages taken away from her.  That in itself makes the match up more interesting.

Under normal circumstances, Cyborg is the larger woman in the cage.  Cyborg’s size has often overwhelmed her opponents.  That’s not going to be the case against the former American Gladiator.  The 5’8″ fighting phenom will not have that luxury with the 5’10” Toughill as her dancing partner.  Cyborg has had weight issues in the past.  She has fought a couple of pounds over the 145 lbs limit but never in a contest contracted over the featherweight limit.  Toughill has consistently competed between 160-170lbs and has successfully made the transition to 145lbs.  Cyborg’s bullying tactics will most likely not work on a woman on Toughill’s size.

Taking in account Cyborg’s trademark wild attacking style, it could be thwarted by a larger and patient counter puncher (see Dan Henderson vs. Wanderlei Silva).  Herein lies another obstacle for Cyborg.  Toughill has had her share of encounters with savage females.  She knows how to tackle that situation.  Toughill has also brought her power down with the weight cut.  All of that, along with her boxing background, made it possible to knock out the very same Marloes Coenen in only 1 round.  Toughill should be the crisper and cleaner puncher in the fight.  If she can weather the storm of punches thrown by Cyborg, she maybe be able to find an opening to make the champion pay for being overzealous.  Cyborg has shown a great chin in her fights by walking through her opponents shots, but Toughill does not punch like anyone from Cyborg’s past.  The flip side to that is Toughill has been chin checked and stopped before, but by better and bigger strikers.  Toughill gave Laila Ali a good fight at 168 lbs in one of boxing’s most brutal female matches, but ultimately succumbed to the quicker Ali whose straight right hands have been too much for any female to bear.  Even those with a zero fight IQ know that Ali is a far better puncher than Cyborg.  One of Toughill’s 2 MMA loses came against a 300 lbs+ Russian (the other loss was a disqualification), therefore she has been hit with more than what Cyborg is physically capable of.  It goes without saying that she will be ready for everything in Cyborg’s kitchen sink.

Women’s MMA might not carry the same weight it does when Gina Carano isn’t the headliner, but Cyborg-Toughill should peak any fight fan’s interest.  Knowing that Cyborg will be pushed should be enough reason to tune in, but the main reason you should be excited about this match up is because both these women come to fight.  MMA audiences love striking affairs and both women will be content on keeping the fight standing until one of them goes down.  Both are comfortable on the ground and have notched some impressive wins there, but their strengths and passions are in the striking game.  There is plenty to celebrate when you have two straight ahead warriors like Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Erin Toughill.  MMA is full of dominant champions and the winner will have the goods to join the likes of BJ Penn, GSP and Anderson Silva as dominant division kingpins.  That is something to be appreciated.  The book is already out on Cyborg and now that you know more about Erin Toughill, I hope you pay these two great women the ultimate respect by watching their championship contest.  This one will be a classic for as long as it lasts.

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2 Responses to “Cyborg’s Next Test”

  1. UFC is the best although actually I like watching the TUF way mor than the actual events, the best fighter right now is either Chuck Liddel or Anderson Silva. Cya.

    • Dallas O'Malley Says:

      I agree the UFC is the best promotion in MMA. You can certainly make a case for Anderson Silva as being the best in the business but that is where our agreements end. I love vintage Chuck Liddell and he is one of the best of all-time but he is far removed from his prime. As of right now he is not even a legitimate contender in his own division. That alone would leave him out of the P4P conversation although everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I appreciate you sharing yours with me.

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