In MMA, there are more female fighters than most people realize. If you’re part of the Facebook female MMA fighting community, then you already realize this. But if you’re just a wannabe’ MMA-expert, sitting on your couch, watching MMA and hitting the blogs after each fight event, chances are you’re only just learning that women fight, and you're not quite sure what to make of it. You might not even realize there are female MMA fighters who are passionate, skilled, experienced and more than capable of holding their own in the ring.
Enter Cristiane “Cyborg” Dos Santos. And tonight, Saturday June 26th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Cyborg will take on a new opponent at the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum event. Perhaps you’ve heard of her: Jan “Cuddles” Finney? Don’t be embarrassed, as a lot of people haven’t heard of her, in spite of the fact that: 1) she’s been fighting pro since 2004; 2) out of her 15 fights, she’s lost 7 of them; 3) and out of those 7 losses, 4 of them have been against such opponents as Erin Toughill, Miesha Tate, Julie Kedzie (not once, not twice, but THREE times!), and Shayna Baszler.
She’s also lost against such fighters as Keiko Tamai, with a record of 16 wins and 15 losses; but won against such opponents as Lizbeth Carreiro with a stunning record of 5 wins and 6 losses; Brighton Hutton who comes in with a record of 0 – 1; Marissa Caldwell who also carries a record of 0 – 1; and Mystee Blackwood who has a record of 0 wins and 3 losses.
Kind of makes you wonder how Finney got the job for tonight’s fight, right? Well, you can stop wondering, because according to Scott Coker, his people at Strikeforce found her on the most reliable online source available for finding kick ass fighters: youtube.com. Yes folks, taking a page out of Dana White’s book wherein the UFC people found Kimbo Slice, Strikeforce went straight to youtube.com to find a match for tonight's event, co-featuring the #1 Female MMA fighter in the world.
Not sure why they didn’t consult any of the numerous female fight experts available in the industry, or seek out some other female fighters and ask them – I mean, that would have made a lot more sense, don’t you think?
Regardless, this fight will include a much-anticipated return to the ring for Cristiane “Cyborg” Dos Santos, against a new contender. With a record of 8-7-0, however, many friends, fans and experts are wondering if Strikeforce has made a mistake pitting these two women against each other.
Known as Cyborg, Cristiane Dos Santos shares this nickname with her husband, fellow Strikeforce fighter Evangelista Santos. A product of the Brazilian fight team Chute Box Academy, Santos boasts a near perfect MMA record, losing only in her debut fight via kneebar to Erica Paes.
Renowned for her excellent striking and aggressiveness, Santos defeated Gina Carano in the last seconds of the first round, becoming the first ever Strikeforce Women's Lightweight Championship.
The general consensus is that like it or not, Cyborg is the face of female MMA today, and is rated by most as THE #1 female fighter in the world. She made her first title defense on January 30, 2010 at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL, where she successfully defeated Marloes Coenen in the third round by TKO.
By comparison, Cyborg has won half of her fights in the first round by powering through her opponents early on in each fight with powerful punches, essentially finishing them off, mentally, emotionally and physically. Only two of her opponents – Yoko Takahashi and Vanessa Porto, both considered to be some of the most dominant female competitors in the business – have managed to go the distance with her.
Not surprisingly, Finney has confidence in her skills and ability; she stated she feels Santos' opponents give in before they start to fight: "I'm going to come right back at her," she said. "I'm not going to cower away. I'm probably going to be one of the strongest opponents she's faced. I'm not saying I'm as strong as her, but you never know – I might be.”
Similar to Cris “Cyborg”, Finney has said she spends the bulk of her time “training with men at Beavercreek Martial Arts.” She said the men don't hold back in the gym and hit harder than her female opponents, which has enabled her to develop toughness inside the cage.
Even though Finney says her experiences with MMA are nothing more than a hobby, she also feels she has a good chance of beating Cyborg: "I have a few tricks up my sleeve," and "I would also say I've got a pretty nice right hand."
Personally I'm taking Cris, but Finney's looking pretty tough, and her stare down was as intense as any MMA fighter out there. And seriously, you never know what can happen; as Cyborg knows, you can win a fight with just 2 seconds left in a round.
Still, MMA is a hobby for Finney, and that irritates me. I don't think she has any business fighting Cris at this stage, and with all due respect to Coker and Strikeforce, both of whom I respect and appreciate for the opportunity they've afforded to female MMA fighters when other promotions have not, I’m a bit disappointed that Strikeforce has given Finney this step up, without looking for other more capable, worthy female opponents who deserve this chance more than she does at this point.
Not to take anything away from Finney, I mean, she’s going with the flow and taking advantage of an incredible opportunity that’s been laid at her feet – who wouldn’t? But you don't go from practicing MMA part-time, as a hobby, with a record of 8-7, to getting the chance of a lifetime and fighting a world champion, when there are just too many other female MMA fighters out there who are more deserving at this point, you know?
So who are you picking for this fight?