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Oct 02nd
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Home MMA Inaugural Women's Championship on the Line at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg
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Inaugural Women's Championship on the Line at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg

carano_vs_cyborgAugust 15 will mark a significant moment in MMA history. It will be the first time a women’s fight will headline a card that includes men as well. Not only that, but the first ever women’s championship belt will be on the line when Gina Carano takes on Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. These two women having been eying each other for some time and it was only a matter of time before they finally stepped into the cage together. Also on the card is a light heavyweight title fight between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Gegard Mousasi, a match between former Ultimate fighter cast member Jesse Taylor and Jay Hieron and a lightweight interim title fight featuring Gilbert Melendez and Mitsuhiro Ishida.

Gina Carano has risen to stardom, becoming the face of women’s MMA along the way. She’s starred in the movie Ring Girls, profiled on ESPN and ranked #16 on Maxim’s Hot 100 List. Oh yeah, and she’s undefeated in her MMA career, winning 3 by knockout. Carano will put her ascetics on the line once again as she tries to claim the first ever women’s MMA championship belt this Saturday. After amassing a Muay Thai record of 12-1-1 she decided to give martial arts a try. She formerly fought for the now defunct EliteXC where her popularity grew after multiple fights on Showtime. No one questions the Texas native’s technical abilities, but can she take out a much bigger and stronger opponent?

That’s where Santos comes in. Her game is simple: brute force and power. Training with the prestigious Chute Boxe Academy she has built her reputation on her devastating brawling style. After losing her first professional bout, Santos has won 7 straight, stopping 5 of those fights before the end of the third round. Santos is not one to sit back and likes to press the action so fans should expect an early onslaught from the powerful Brazilian.

When these two finally do meet it will be Carano’s technique against Santos’s strength. A short fight favours Cyborg as an early knockout is not out of the question. However, if the fight goes the distance, expect Carano’s speed and accuracy as well as her advantage on the ground to win her a decision victory.

Another exciting bout is a new addition as Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral takes on DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi. The fight was originally scheduled for Affliction Trilogy, but following its cancelation the match was moved to Strikeforce.

Since being cut from the UFC following his controversial choke at UFC 74, Sobral is undefeated in 5 fights. He is a former Brazilian wrestling champion and Brazilian Jui Jitsu blackbelt, making his ground game one of the most feared in all of MMA. Despite this, “Babalu” is notorious for trying to stand with far more decorated strikers, made apparent by his 2 knockout losses to former UFC champion Chuck Liddell.

His opponent Gegard Mousasi isn’t as well known by American fans but is by no means a new comer. He has participated in 28 events, only losing 2 fights along the way. The Dutch-Armenian is currently riding a 12 fight winning streak, including 4 victories in DREAM’s Middleweight Grand-Prix to make him the promotion’s middleweight champion. Mousasi has expressed an interest in moving up in weight class and recently participated in DREAM’s Super Hulk Grand- Prix, scoring a win over Mark Hunt in the opening round.

Despite both competing in a large number of fights, Sobral’s numerous bouts against high profile opponents will make him the favourite in most fans’ eyes; and if Sobral can get the fight to the ground and work towards a submission a win for “Babalu is a good possibility. But don’t count Mousasi out. If Sobral decides to stand and strike Mousasi has a good chance at pulling off the upset.

The event was forced to rethink another match up (the first being an Allisatir Overeem/ Fabricio Werdum title fight that was scratched due to injury) when Nick Diaz failed to attend a mandatory drug test. Fortunately Jesse Taylor was willing to step in on short notice to take on Jay Hieron in what will now be a non title fight. Taylor will be taking on a much more experienced and well balanced fighter and could run into trouble. Taylor usually depends on his wrestling to give him the edge, but with Hieron also being an accomplished wrestler it could come down to who is the better striker, a skill Taylor is somewhat unproven with. Expect the vet to take this one in the first round.

The Strikeforce interim lightweight title will also be on the line when Gilbert Melendez and Mitsuhiro Ishida face off. The fight is a rematch, the first fight seeing Ishida hand Melendez the first loss of his career. Melendez will certainly be looking for some vengeance on his way towards gaining another title shot, but there’s nothing to suggest the result will be any different the second time around. Ishida’s superior wrestling and takedowns should once again secure him the victory, putting him next in line for a shot at Josh Thomson.

Gina “Conviction” Carano (7-0) vs. Cris “Cyborg” (7-1) – 145lb Female Championship Bout
Renato "Babalu" Sobral (35-8) vs. Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1) - Light Heavyweight Championship Bout
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (15-2) vs. Mitsuhiro Ishida (18-5-1) – Lightweight Interim Championship Bout
Jay "The Thoroughbred" Hieron (17-4) vs. Jesse "JT Money" Taylor (13-3)

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