The most dominant female fighter in MMA history, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino put her UFC bantamweight title on the line for the 2nd time in the main event of tonight’s UFC 22 vs. Yana Kunitskaya. Here are the highlights:
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Cristiane Justino Venâncio (formerly Cristiane Santos; born July 9, 1985) commonly referred to by her ring name Cris Cyborg, is a Brazilian and American mixed martial artist currently signed with the UFC. She is the current UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion, as well as the former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion and former Invicta FC World Featherweight Champion. Cyborg first rose to prominence when she won the Strikeforce title on August 15, 2009, by defeating Gina Carano via first-round TKO. She lives in San Diego where she trains and teaches at The Arena. Cyborg was a national-level team handball player in Brazil before being discovered by Rudimar Fedrigo, a Chute Boxe Academy trainer.
She made her anticipated United States MMA debut on July 26, 2008, against Shayna Baszler at EliteXC: Unfinished Business. She won the fight by TKO in the second round. She faced Yoko Takahashi on October 4, 2008, at EliteXC: Heat. She won the fight by unanimous decision. She was scheduled to face Dutch submission specialist Marloes Coenen at XMMA 7 on February 27, 2009, but backed out of the fight after signing a new contract with Strikeforce. Cyborg earned a BJJ Purple Belt under her jiu-jitsu instructor Cristiano Marcello in 2009. In March 2015, it was announced that Cyborg had signed with the UFC. Cyborg made her promotional debut at UFC 198 against Leslie Smith at a catchweight of 140 pounds. She won the fight by TKO in the first round. Cyborg faced promotional newcomer Lina Länsberg in a catchweight (140 lb) bout on September 24, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 95. The referee stopped the fight midway through the second round after Länsberg could not effectively defend herself.
In December 2016 UFC was notified of a potential USADA doping violation by Cyborg. Cyborg’s team immediately responded that it was in regards to a substance that helped her recover from her weight cut. On February 17, 2017, Cyborg was granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Therefore, her suspension was lifted, and she was immediately eligible to compete. In March 2017 Cyborg vacated her Invicta Featherweight title and called out Germaine de Randamie for the belt targeting UFC 214 in Anaheim, California. The match fell apart since Germaine de Randamie refused to fight Cyborg stating that Cyborg was a proven drug cheater and she was willing to get stripped of the belt for not fighting Cyborg. De Randamie was stripped of her belt on June 19, 2017 by UFC and Cyborg was expected to face Megan Anderson to fight for the vacated UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, California. On June 27, Anderson pulled out of the fight due to personal reasons and was replaced by current Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Tonya Evinger. Cyborg won by TKO in the third round to claim her first UFC championship.