Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg Santos Breakdown

Matt Juul@@MattchidaMMAContributor IIIDecember 18, 2011

Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg Santos Breakdown

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    Last night, Strikeforce female featherweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos turned in another dominant performance that lasted only 16 seconds.

    Facing Japanese challenger Hiroko Yamanaka, Cyborg blitzed through the long time Jewel's veteran to finish her opponent with a knockout.

    After such an impressive win, many analysts believe that the pound-for-pound queen should move down to bantamweight to challenge Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate.  However, there remains one big challenge for Cyborg at 145.

    An Olympic bronze medalist and fourth degree black belt in Judo, Ronda Rousey is the biggest rising star in women's MMA, as she has gone undefeated in all of her professional and amateur bouts, defeating each of her opponents within the first minute.

    Both women have expressed interest in facing each other, which could make this fight happen sooner rather than later.

    Here is the head-to-toe breakdown of this possible matchup.


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    It's no secret that Cyborg is the heaviest-handed woman in female's MMA.

    Just ask Yamanaka, who ate some serious punches last night en route to being knocked out in 16 seconds.

    An avid Muay Thai striker and member of the famed Chute Boxe Academy, Cyborg has no qualms standing and banging, as nine out of her 11 victories have come via knockout or technical knockout.

    With notable finishes over Gina Carano and former Strikeforce female bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen, Cyborg is a force to be reckoned with in the stand-up department.

    As Rousey has taken each of her fights to the ground, it is clear that she does not want to trade punches and kicks with her opponents, preferring to use her Olympic-level judo skills.

    Advantage: Santos


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    While Cyborg has a huge advantage in the stand-up, Rousey's domain is grappling.

    A bronze medalist in judo at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Rousey is a decorated judoka and has showcased these skills inside the cage.

    Against each of her opponents, Rousey has been able to close the distance quickly, secure a throw or takedown and transition to a submission for the victory.  Her technique is nearly flawless and will truly test Cyborg, who has never faced a grappler of her abilities.

    Although Cyborg is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, she does not have as much experience as Rousey in this aspect of the game.

    Advantage: Rousey


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    Rousey has had an amazing run throughout both her professional and amateur careers, solidifying herself as one of the slickest submission artists in women's MMA.

    In each of her seven fights, Rousey has finished her opponents with an armbar in less than a minute into the first round.

    The proverbial queen of armbars does possess other techniques in her arsenal stemming from her wealth of experience in Judo, but opponents should remain weary of leaving their arms out for Rousey to break.

    Cyborg has never had a submission victory in her career, as she loves to strike, but she does have a submission game due to her time doing jiu-jitsu.

    Advantage: Rousey


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    One of the strongest women in the division, Cyborg has the ability to push opponents around and land huge power strikes with her heavy hands.

    Sporting a six pack at weigh-ins that would put many male fighters to shame, her physique matches her intensity in the cage and is tangible proof of her hard work during training camps.

    Rousey is no slouch either with her status as a former Olympian, but Cyborg has an edge in the strength department.

    Advantage: Santos


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    Rousey has never gone past the first minute of the first round in her four professional bouts.

    Cyborg has been in all manner of fights, from quick finishes to all-out wars, including five fights that have gone into the second round or later.

    Since not much has been seen of Rousey's cardio, Cyborg takes the edge.

    Advantage: Santos


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    Strikeforce's top female featherweight has fighting professionally since 2005, with 12 career bouts under her belt.

    To become the best female fighter in the world, Cyborg has had to defeat the best, a task she's accomplished with relative ease, as she owns victories over Gina Carano, Marloes Coenen, Yoko Takahashi and Hitomi Akano.

    Rousey has an immense amount of experience through judo, where she has faced the best of the best in her sport.

    But in MMA, Rousey is still very much a rookie, as she only made her professional debut in March of this year.

    With only four professional bouts on her résumé, Rousey also lacks the big name wins.

    Advantage: Santos


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    Santos: If this bout were to happen, Cyborg's biggest concern should be Rousey's ground game. Cyborg has never faced an opponent with as much ground skills and would be a huge challenge for the champion.

    The key to Cyborg's success is keeping the distance and avoiding the clinch. If she picks Rousey apart with kicks and punches from the outside while stopping any sweeps or throws, then Cyborg should easily take the victory.

    Rousey: The game plan for Rousey is duck and clinch. Avoid getting hit while closing the distance so she can work a trip or a throw and get the fight to the ground.

    If she gets stuck in a stand-up battle, the Cyborg will pick her apart. Rousey has to get the fight to the mat so she can work the ground-and-pound and open up submission attempts.


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    A potential match-up between Rousey and Cyborg would be a great fight for both women as they try to bring the female's divisions to another level.

    Rousey has the clear advantage on the ground and is a threat in the clinch, but her inexperience in MMA and lack of a striking game will be a real detriment to her success in this possible fight.

    Cyborg has amazing striking with the heaviest hands out of any woman in the sport. This, combined with her six years of professional experience, make hers the clear favorite as long as she can avoid the take down.

    Rousey is highly skilled, but I don't see her derailing Cyborg's winning streak.

    Prediction: Santos via technical knockout (second round).

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