31-Year-Old UFC Featherweight 16-1-0, 1NC
June 19, 2017 Cris Cyborg News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
The UFC announced Monday that Cyborg (17-1) will fight Megan Anderson (8-2) for the women's featherweight title at UFC 214 on July 29, Katie Barnes of ESPN.com reports.
Germaine de Randamie's controversial reign as featherweight champion comes to an end after the organization stripped her of the title for refusing to face Cyborg, who is ranked No. 1 in the weight class. The UFC will instead give Cyborg a shot at the title as part of a co-main event match in Anaheim against the third-ranked Anderson, the featherweight champ in the all-women Invicta FC promotion. Cyborg, who last fought in September, should be viewed as the early favorite as she prepares to fight for the third time in her career at 145 pounds.
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Fantasy AnalysisCyborg was looking to take on Germaine de Randamie for the featherweight title, but after being turned down, she's planning to face Megan Anderson. With the rejected fight, the UFC appears to be looking to crown a new champ and move the division forward. If the deal goes through, Cyborg will be fighting for the belt against Invicta's Featherweight Champion after not being in the Octagon since September 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisWhite did say that Cyborg would not be fighting Cat Zingano, but offered little further input on a prospective opponent. We know that it won't be Invicta's Megan Anderson, as she is scheduled to defend her belt against Helena Kolesnyk on July 15. Current stand-in "champion" of the newly-created featherweight division, Germaine de Randamie, continues to evade a fight with Cyborg, so the UFC's options are running thin. Fight fans certainly want to see Cyborg in action sooner rather than later, and even though there isn't a concrete opponent yet, they may soon get their wish.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg will not be arrested, but stands to face some type of punishment for the misdemeanor charge. Given that the alleged victim, Angela Magana, continues to taunt Cyborg on social media and claims to have not been hurt, the chances of Cyborg's punishment being severe are slim. Currently, the top 145-pound contender has not been booked for her next fight, but Cyborg remains hopeful to be added to the UFC 214 card on July 29. Any legal consequences stemming from this incident are unlikely to affect that target date, as a worst-case scenario likely involves a fine and/or community service for Cyborg.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg has been public about her desire to fight Germaine de Randamie (hand) at UFC 214 in July, but there has been no acknowledgement from either de Randamie or UFC President Dana White. The statement via her personal Twitter account likely doesn't carry much weight, however, as Cyborg recently vacated her Invicta championship and will essentially be forced to wait until the UFC can book her a fight. If de Randamie does decide to undergo hand surgery, Cyborg's next fight could be for an interim championship, though a prospective opponent has yet to come forward.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg hasn't competed under the Invicta banner since January 2016, though she's taken two "catchweight" fights at 140 pounds with the UFC since then. No matter the opponent, Cyborg has completely dominated, racking up seven straight stoppage victories -- only two of those have made it out of the first round. The UFC had their inaugural 145-pound championship fight without her, as Cyborg was dealing with a potential anti-doping violation, though she has just been cleared of any wrongdoing. Naturally, she wants to face GDR for a shot at UFC gold, but de Randamie's health and willingness to fight Cyborg have both come into question of late. If Cyborg is granted her wish, the two would fight at UFC 214 in Anaheim on July 29.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg is now free to resume her career at will. She already stated that she won't be fighting until March at the earliest anyways, but it's good to know one of the top contenders in the newly created 145-pound women's featherweight class is allowed to fight.
Fantasy AnalysisThursday's news isn't necessarily catastrophic for Cyborg just yet, as several fighters have been able to appeal to USADA for reduced or eliminated suspensions. That being said, it's a bit of a public relations crisis for the promotion, as the UFC had just created a 145-pound, women's featherweight class. Although Cyborg wasn't booked for the inaugural title fight, she was expected by most to eventually become champion after defeating the winner of that bout. Now, her career will be in limbo for a while. Cyborg has already stated that she wouldn't fight again until March at the earliest, and depending on the final USADA ruling, it could end up being quite a bit longer than that.
Fantasy AnalysisAccording to the initial report from Cruz, Cyborg turned down multiple offers from UFC President Dana White to fight for the inaugural 145-pound championship. She apparently had opportunities to fight both Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in the featherweight division -- the same weight class she holds a belt in with the Invicta promotion. Cyborg later followed up with a statement, which explains that health concerns require her to have a 12 week's notice before fighting at 145 pounds. She had endured a notably brutal weight cut for her last few catchweight fights at 140, some of which potentially put her at risk long-term health consequences. Cyborg has the potential to be the biggest draw in women's MMA, so few can blame her for putting her health first and taking fights on her own terms.
Fantasy AnalysisIt may have lasted longer than most people expected, but it was another vicious, dominant effort from Cyborg. Round 1 was spent almost entirely up against the fence, a position in which Cyborg easily dominated. The difference in upper-body strength between Cyborg and Lansberg was laughable. The Brazilian was patient in unloaded repeated power combinations, and the toughness of Lansberg was the only reason that this fight saw a second round. Even though Cyborg managed to make the 141-pound weight limit for this catchweight bout, she had difficulty getting there. The odds of Cyborg ever being able to cut to down to the 135-pound bantamweight limit to fight for the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship are somewhere between slim and none. The UFC is reportedly considering adding a women's featherweight division, but as of now, no such move has been announced. Until that's the case, Cyborg is going to have to wreck her body in order to fight in these 140-pound catcherweight bouts. One thing is certain: Cyborg would be the betting favorite over any woman on the UFC roster. She literally has twice as much power in her hands than anyone the company can put in the cage against her. Until we know the UFC's plans for a women's featherweight division moving forward, it's impossible to predict who Cyborg's next opponent will be.
Fantasy AnalysisThis wasn't the fight that people were hoping to see for Cyborg, but any time she steps into the octagon, it's a happening. Cyborg remains the Invicta Featherweight Champion as she continues her process of hopefully being able to cut down to the UFC's 136-pound bantamweight limit. This fight will be contested at a catchweight of 140 pounds. Cyborg has more power than any woman in the sport and she deserves to be such a massive favorite. A quick Cyborg KO win is by far the most likely result here.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg's struggles to reach the 140-pound limit have been well-documented, and saying she has a tough challenge ahead of her would be putting it lightly. The Invicta Featherweight Champion now has just four days to cut roughly 25 pounds -- a task that wouldn't be "healthy" for even a 300-pound man. Considering Cyborg has made the weight in the past, she'll presumably make it once more, but her condition afterwards will be the concerning aspect. Even after the UFC adopted more fighter-friendly weigh-in policies, Cyborg is unlikely to be at 100 percent when entering the Octagon on Saturday. She'll undoubtedly be able to pack more power behind her punches than Lansberg, but will surely pay a steep price for it.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was previously reported that Cyborg would stay with Invicta in order to defend her title, however she is now booked for her second UFC fight in a year. Cyborg will look to notch her second UFC win in September, and her 17th consecutive professional win. She most recently defeated Leslie Smith at UFC 198 in May, and won by TKO in the first round. Cyborg has stayed undefeated as a professional fighter for the last 11 years, and notably, she's knocked out 14 opponents during that time. Her opponent is much less experienced professionally, but Lansberg (6-1) also possesses four knockout wins, and has rattled off six wins in a row.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg was a major topic discussion Wednesday when it was reported that a 140-pound catchweight bout between her and Germaine de Randamie was in the works for UFC 201. Those reports apparently were not what Cyborg intended, as she eventually set the record from her personal Twitter account (in Portugese). Traslation: Cyborg will only fight another catchweight fight in the UFC if it comes against former champion Ronda Rousey, or current champion Miesha Tate. Otherwise, she will remain with Invicta FC to continue to defend her title at 145 pounds. The Brazilian knockout specialist is just 30 years old, so she has plenty of prime fighting years ahead where she can patiently await the opponent of her choosing. With Tate set to defend her newly-gained bantamweight title at UFC 200 in July, and Rousey with no definite return timetable, it appears Cyborg's next step will be back at Invicta. That being said, money talks, and another big check from the UFC might make the decision a bit more difficult.
Fantasy AnalysisAs advertised. Cyborg pushed forward from the opening bell, landing a number of her trademark power shots and eventually crumbling Smith. The finish (perhaps an early one), came shortly thereafter. After the fight Cyborg told Brian Stann that she wants to continue to defend her Invicta featherweight title and fight in the UFC in catchweight bouts. Although she weighed in for this fight at 139 pounds, it was reportedly a struggle for Cyborg the last 24 hours before the weigh-in. It's entirely possible that she just wouldn't be able to safely cut to the 135-pound bantamweight limit. On the other hand, it's possible that Cyborg would be favored over any woman in the world in a 140-pound catchweight bout. Cyborg's next move remains very much up in the air.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg has spent her entire career fighting at the featherweight limit of 145 pounds, so she is cutting five pounds for this catchweight fight with Smith. By all accounts her weight cut has gone well, but there are still legitimate questions as to whether she could safely cut to the bantamweight limit of 135 pounds. Either way, it would be shocking if she doesn’t roll through Smith. Cyborg lost her professional debut back in May 2005 and she hasn’t lost since. Hands down, Cyborg has more power in her hands pound-for-pound than any women’s MMA fighter walking the planet today. If she can comfortably reach the 135-pound limit, it would be a shock if Cyborg doesn’t fight for the title in the next 12 to 18 months. The former Strikeforce and Invicta women’s featherweight champion, Cyborg has won three-straight fights via first-round TKO/KO.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg has been as dominant as it gets in each of the other promotions she has competed in. She hasn't lost a bout in over a decade, and 13 of her 15 professional victories have come by knockout. One potential issue for Cyborg in the UFC is her weight class. She will fight Smith at a catchweight of 140 pounds, but the UFC currently only has two weight classes for women: strawweight (115 pounds) and bantamweight (125 pounds). As has always been the case, this is the main road block to any potential bout with Ronda Rousey, who fights in the bantamweight division. Cyborg has stated that she wants to face Rousey if she wins this fight, but Rousey may not necessarily be on the same page after suffering her first career loss to Holly Holm last November. Rousey's MMA career has been in limbo since that shocking upset, and even if she wanted to fight again, the difference in weight classes will likely come into play. For this to even be a conversation, however, Cyborg first needs to take care of business May 14.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg hasn't allowed an opponent to make it out of the first round since July of 2013, but that was nearly the case in the Saturday evening event. Ibragimova executed what seems to be the right strategy for Cyborg, backing her up against the cage in an effort to earn a takedown. That never came to pass, however. Near the end of the first round, Cyborg went on the offensive, landing a hard right hand that knocked Ibragimova down, and following with a flurry that led to the KO. At this point, it's difficult to determine what's next for the 30-year-old Cyborg. There clearly isn't anyone in her class in the Invicta promotion, but to fight in the UFC, she would likely need to meet a contender in the middle at a catchweight of 140.
Fantasy AnalysisThe original plan was for Cyborg to fight Cindy Dandois in a 140-pound catchweight bout, but that potential bout is off and the title defense against Ibragimova is on. The goal all along was for Cyborg to eventually drop down to the 135-pound bantamweight division and challenge former UFC champion Ronda Rousey for her title, but everything changed when Rousey was knocked out by Holly Holm last month. It's still possible that Cyborg could eventually look to drop down a weight class, but those plans seem to be on hold for the moment.
Fantasy AnalysisInvicta president Shannon Knapp announced the news after their event last night. As we all know, Cyborg is in the process of eventually cutting down to 135 pounds in hopes of challenging Ronda Rousey for the UFC women's bantamweight title. Weight issues are the only thing that will prevent the fight from eventually coming to fruition. The UFC has already stated that they won't bring Cyborg in unless she can make the 135-pound bantamweight limit.
Fantasy AnalysisThis report came from Cyborg's former manager and current advisor, Tito Ortiz, who is essentially calling out Rousey for her lack of willingness to meet in the middle at a catchweight of 140. After dominating the bantamweight division, UFC brass remains in search of a formidable opponent for Rousey, and Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino fits that description. She's dominated the Invicta featherweight division to the tune of four straight knockout victories, and many believe she can give Rousey a run for her money. The challenge here is that she fights in the featherweight division, which is 10 pounds heavier than Rousey's bantamweight class. Of course, Rousey, the sitting champion, has little motivation to move up in weight outside of a major projected payday. It remains to be seen whether Cyborg can cut to 135 in a healthy manner, but it sounds as if she'll give it a solid effort.
Fantasy AnalysisWell, that went pretty much as expected. Cyborg isn't just defeating her opponents, she's obliterating them. The bell rang, she walked across the cage and landed a couple of huge right hands and then a left knee that sent Van Duin to her knees. Referee Steve Mazzagatti mercifully stepped in and put an end to it. Simply put, there's no one in Invicta that can come close to giving Cyborg a fight, let alone beating her. Cyborg is big for the featherweight division and there are real concerns that she wouldn't be able to safely cut to 135 pounds to face Ronda Rousey for her UFC bantamweight championship. That being said, this fight needs to happen, even if it's at a catchweight. The money the UFC would make off the bout would be insane. There's absolutely nothing left to prove for Cyborg in Invicta.
Fantasy AnalysisWe only point this out due to how absurd it is. -3500 might possibly be the biggest line you'll ever see for an MMA fight. In other words, you have to bet $3,500 just to win $100. It's safe to say that the odds makers don't think much of Van Duin's chances of pulling an upset. We will post an update here as soon as the bout ends on Thursday night.
Fantasy AnalysisCyborg has steamrolled everyone put in front of her in Invicta and it seems unlikely that Van Duin will be any different. Her goal is still to attempt to cut down to 135 pounds by the end of the year with hopes of facing UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for her title. The only problem being that Cyborg is already big for the featherweight division and there are real concerns that she wouldn't be able to handle the additional weight cut. It's a situation to keep a close eye on.