Cyborg Santos vs. Ronda Rousey: Comparison, Breakdown of Possible Fight
On August 15, 2009, the future of women's MMA was cast into serious doubt.
Gina Carano was considered the face of women's MMA. She had the beauty and skills to potentially carry the sport on her back for the foreseeable future, and much hinged on her success.
Gina's opponent that night was Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos. It only took one round for the torch of women's MMA to be passed from Carano to Santos, as Santos won the fight via TKO.
Santos has since rattled off three consecutive wins to push her overall winning streak to 11 fights.
Her dominance in the women's featherweight division has been so impressive that there has even been discussions to include her in the overall pound-for-pound rankings.
There is now a potential fight on the table to match up Santos with rising star Ronda Rousey.
Rousey has began her professional career with four straight victories, winning all of them via armbar in 49 seconds or less.
Rousey Is Too One-Dimensional
I have seen each of Rousey's fights, which includes four professional fights and three amateur bouts.
If you have seen any one of those seven fights, then you have seen everything she has to offer.
Each of Rousey's fights starts and ends the same.
Once Rousey's opponent starts to strike, she will immediately rush in close and weather the storm. She gets close enough to get her opponent to the ground. From there she whips her legs over the head and chest of the opponent, grabs their arm, and cranks the armbar.
Rousey has yet to have a battle.
She has faced opponents who were easily taken down, and she has been able to win by armbar in under a minute of the first round for each of her fights.
In order for her to be competitive against Santos, she must bring a skill set that we haven't seen yet. Rousey will not have her way with Santos, as Santos is entirely too strong to be thrown around in the same way as Rousey's other opponents were.
Santos Has Too Much Speed for Rousey
The fight between Cyborg Santos and Hiroko Yamanaka is very similar to how each of Rousey's fights begins.
Rousey is the aggressor, but instead of throwing punches in the way Santos did against Yamanaka, she would go for the takedown instead.
Should Santos and Rousey both rush to the middle to begin their fight, Rousey will have a very rude awakening to the speed and strength of Santos. Not only would Rousey not be able to take Santos down, but Santos is too smart to allow a one-dimensional fighter get that close to take her down.
Not one fighter on Rousey's short professional résumé comes anywhere close to matching the speed and strength of Santos.
Then again, there is nobody in women's MMA quite like her, either.
Rousey Has a Chance to Become the Face of Women's MMA
Gina Carano was the first mainstream face of women's MMA due to her dominance in the sport.
But it was also due to her good looks.
In reality, the sport is largely supported by males between the ages of 18-49. A fighter with a beautiful look to go along with a dominant record is the perfect combo for the face—literally—of women's MMA.
Should Rousey pull off the upset and beat Santos, she will become the face of the sport.
Once you add in her charismatic personality, she may be just what the sport needs to solidify itself as something that will be around for the long haul.
Dana White has repeatedly said that the reason there is not a female division in the UFC is due to the lack of talent. Rousey has seemingly come out of nowhere, and there is not doubt that both she and Santos can lead the wave for an increased interest of females to get into bigger MMA events.
Santos Has Too Much Experience for Rousey
Experience goes a long way, especially in a sport in its infancy—like women's MMA.
Ronda Rousey is 24-years-old and had her first professional fight in March of last year. By that same time of last year, Cyborg Santos already had 11 fights under her belt and a 10-1 record en route to the Strikeforce Championship.
Santos is only two years older than Rousey, as surprising as that may be. She began her professional career at a much younger age than Rousey. And, if her physical abilities aren't enough to get the job done, then her wealth of experience will certainly carry her through.
Cyborg Santos vs. Ronda Rousey Will Be a Main Event for Strikeforce
Should a fight between Ronda Rousey and Cyborg Santos take place, it will generate enough buzz to be the main event on a Strikeforce card this year.
Rousey may very well end up being the female version of Chael Sonnen. Once she gets enough ammo, she'll begin to say things a lot faster than her thought process will allow. She carries herself very proud; she will not turn the other way in the face of adversity.
She has a fan base that is increasing in by the day, and her confidence has soared.
Santos is riding a wave of success parallel to other big names in MMA. Her confidence has never been as high as it is today. If she has watched tape on Rousey, there should be nothing that scares her about this matchup.
Although this fight will be easy to build up, it will not be an even match-up. Rousey will rush in on Santos looking for a takedown in the same way she has done for every one of her other fights.
Santos will create enough distance to land significant punches, and, in doing so, will drop Rousey.
Santos will continue to reign down punches on Rousey until the ref puts a stop to the fight.
We will then look for another fresh face in women's MMA in hopes of finding an equal opponent to Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.