Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos made her return to the cage tonight after an eighteen-month layoff, taking on 12-2 Japanese prospect Hiroko Yamanaka in the co-main event of Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal.
Despite her long layoff, Cyborg showed absolutely no rust once the cage door shut, pulling off a vintage, sixteen-second blitzing of her would-be challenger. The 26-year-old Brazilian swarmed Yamanaka immediately, clocking her with a right hand that buckled her. After briefly considering working for the rear naked choke, Santos went back to battering her opponent, eventually finishing the bout with more punches.
“Thank you all guys for coming to watch my fight,” said the champ. “I’m very happy. I trained hard one year out. This is amazing. I love fighting, I love training, I want to fight more. Thank you Strikeforce for the opportunity. This gift is for Christmas for you guys.”
Cyborg was asked her opinion on fighting whom most are pegging as the only reason left for her to stay at 145lbs. (unless she physically can’t make 135): Rowdy Ronda Rousey.
“I think she speaks too much,” she said. “I’m ready. Anywhere. She’s coming? I’m ready.
Whether or not that fight materializes, the fact remains that the bulk of the top women’s mixed martial artists compete at 135lbs. As such, Cyborg asserted that she’s willing to attempt the cut to bantamweight, but would prefer to compete at her more natural weight class.
“I’d try for 135 for more fights, but I like 145,” said Santos. “But, if Strikeforce wants me at 135, I’ll go.”
Santos improves to 11-1 in victory and extends her current winning streak to ten straight. Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal went down at the Valley View Casino in San Diego, California.