Cris “Cyborg” Justino is, quite simply, one of the most dominant and accomplished mixed martial arts fighters in the sport’s young history. The former longtime featherweight world champion did not lose a single fight from November 2005 until December 2018, when she was stunned and defeated by Amanda Nunes.
The Brazilian juggernaut looks to get back on track this weekend against undefeated and surging prospect Felicia Spencer in Edmonton at UFC 240. As we look toward that co-main event contest, let’s revisit five of Cyborg’s most impressive knockout/technical knockout wins from her illustrious career.
5. 20th-straight win, UFC 222, March 3, 2018, TKO at 3:25 of R1 over Yana Kunitskaya
Though she managed to end this fight inside of one round, Cyborg had to overcome adversity to do so. Moments after the bout’s start, Cyborg marched Kunitskaya down while moving her head and keeping it off of the center-line, with a high guard.
Once within range, Cyborg threw and connected with a heavy overhand right that stunned her opponent. From there, the game Kunitskaya shot and scored with a low single-leg takedown.
Cyborg eventually fought back to her feet, but only to have her opponent take her back. Even after Cyborg managed to fight off Kunitskaya’s hands to turn and face her, the challenger pressed the champ against the cage, looking for another takedown.
With a great deal of effort, Cyborg finally freed herself from being pinned against the fence. From there, she landed an overhand right punch-left hook to the head that dropped Kunitskaya. The Russian regained her footing, only to be met with more overhand right hands from Cyborg, eventually falling once more, and succumbing to a barrage of follow-up ground strikes.
4. One-sided UFC debut, UFC 198, May 14, 2016, TKO at 1:21 of R1 over Leslie Smith
The history made by this bout’s very happening was as significant as the result itself. After years of being maligned and insulted by the UFC’s president Dana White, the UFC finally signed the top featherweight in the world, Cyborg, and signed her to fight tough veteran Leslie Smith, who already owned two UFC wins coming into the contest.
Despite being the longtime 145-pound female world champion, the UFC made Cyborg fight at a catchweight of 140 pounds for her promotional debut. She made the weight, then won the fight, quickly, though Smith was upset with what she felt was a far too quick stoppage.
Regardless, Cyborg did her part. The instant UFC star led with her crisp jab before ultimately unleashing left and right hooks that dropped Smith, and then following up with ground strikes.
3. Breakout win, Strikeforce, Aug. 15, 2009, TKO at 4:59 of R1 over Gina Carano
In terms of mainstream exposure, this violent win was Justino’s breakout victory. Her opponent, Gina Carano, was a skilled and undefeated kickboxer, and one of the most recognizable MMA fighters in the world.
Justino was just too much for Carano. The Brazilian quickly backed Carano up against the cage with punches before failing on a takedown attempt and ending up on her own back.
Carano tried to capitalize from the top position, punching down at Cyborg as she utilized a single-leg-x-guard. From there, Cyborg attempted an outside heel hook that failed to produce a submission, but did allow her to sweep Carano and end up on top, behind the then “face of women’s MMA.”
Carano fought on and continued to try and give herself a chance at winning – getting free initially, then landing several jabs, crosses, and attempting several short elbows and even getting mount once more – but Justino’s power and volume in strikes was the difference and she ultimately forced the referee to stop her assault of ground strikes from on top as the round closed. Carano never fought again.
2. Invicta FC 15, Jan. 16, 2016, TKO at 4:58 of R1 over Daria Ibragimova
Ibragimova came into the fight against Cyborg riding a seven-fight win streak. Like Carano, however, she has not fought again since.
Ibragimova fought smart and effectively all round long, spending the first half of the period pinning Cyborg against the cage, looking for takedowns. In fact, she would momentarily take Cyborg down several times in the round.
Cyborg popped back up each time, however, and with just moments left in the round calmly walked over to Ibragimova and connected with a crisp straight right punch that dropped the challenger. A few follow-up ground strikes sealed the deal and the win for Cyborg.
1. Invicta FC 6, July 13, 2013, TKO at 4:02 of R4 over Marloes Coenen
This win represented the second victory over a fellow all-time great, for Cyborg. Though undersized against Cyborg, Marloes Coenen would eventually retire as one of the most accomplished women in MMA history.
The pair first met back in 2010, immediately after Cyborg’s win over Carano, with the Brazilian earning a third-round stoppage win. In the rematch, the Dutchwoman hung tough even longer, but was dropped by an overhand right hand early in the fourth round.
Justino pounced, secured a high mount and used patient, effective trapping, base, and strikes to secure the TKO stoppage from ground punches.
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