On December 17th, STRIKEFORCE returns to SHOWTIME with their latest event, headlined by the Lightweight Title fight between challenger Jorge Masvidal and Champion Gilbert Melendez. The other title in play will be the women’s 145 lb Featherweight title, as dominant champion Chris ‘Cyborg’ Santos returns to the ring to take on Hiroko Yamanaka of Japan. STRIKEFORCE is certainly floundering to an end here since they were purchased by UFC, and I have long ranted about the Cormier-Barnett final to the Heavyweight Grand Prix not having a firm date, but it is the ladies division where the most questions lie for STRIKEFORCE.
In ‘Cyborg’ at 145 lbs, the women’s division certainly has one of the most dominant champions out there. She dominated women’s MMA poster girl Gina Carano, and has taken out every single opponent they have put in front of her since she moved into World Class competition.
This latest match with Yamanaka is interesting, as Yamanaka is almost 6 feet tall and presents a unique style that ‘Cyborg’ may not have seen before. Yamanaka has run her record to 12-1 overall, and she was able to avenge her lone loss to veteran Hitomi Akano.
However ‘Cyborg’ will enter the fight firmly as the favorite. Despite being away from competition for close to 18 months, it has also been time where ‘Cyborg’ has been dedicated to training and increasing her already daunting physical advantages. Yamanaka will likely take a beating throughout the match, with her best chance being to weather the storm and get ‘Cyborg’ to gas out. However that is damned close to a ‘Perfect Storm’ she will have to weather from the hyper aggressive and strong champion.
This once again goes to show that the women’s divisions have some intriguing talent, and that the competition over the last years has really picked up to become very professional and very competitive. It would really be the wrong thing to do for the UFC to shelve the women’s divisions, or even just to put them on a long hiatus. And at 145 lbs, where ‘Cyborg’ reigns, is not where the most talent is. At 135, 125 and 115 lbs, the ladies division are replete with talent and should be nurtured on a fast track.
And for those of you who follow my blog, and have a little bit of a mean and curious streak, I am going on record as stating that it was not ‘Cyborg’ Santos that used the whizzinator in her title shot.
For the blog I’m referencing, read below -