For the past decade, Cris “Cyborg” Justino has been one of the most dominant fighters on the planet, running roughshod over each and every contender thrown in her path.
To say that Cyborg has decimated the competition would be an inaccurate statement because she’s not only defeated every opponent she’s faced, but the reigning UFC women’s featherweight champion has earned knockouts in every fight she’s had since 2008 with only one person making it past the third round.
In her UFC career, Cyborg has continued her reign of terror with three straight wins — all by knockout or TKO obviously — and most recently became the second ever champion at 145 pounds with a lopsided victory against Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 in July.
Now Cyborg is ready to make her first title defense on Dec. 30 at UFC 219 when she faces former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.
Holm is making her second appearance in the featherweight division after losing a close, hard fought decision to Germaine de Randamie in the inaugural 145-pound title fight back in February. Since then, Holm returned to form with a fight at 135 pounds where she knocked out former title contender Bethe Correia with a vicious head kick, just like the one she used to finish Ronda Rousey to become champion back in 2015.
It’s that specific weapon that makes Holm such a dangerous opponent according to former UFC champion Miesha Tate, who knows both of these fighters better than most.
Tate fought Holm in 2016 and she’s been around Cyborg for many years after they both served as champions in Strikeforce before coming to the UFC. While Tate obviously holds Cyborg in very high regard, she feels that Holm has an equalizer in their fight that could see the former boxing champion pull off the upset.
“I honestly think Holly has a legitimate chance to beat Cyborg,” Tate said during a recent Reddit AMA. “Holly’s head kick can knock anyone out and Cyborg is susceptible to head kicks.
“Holly also has great footwork to stay away from Cyborg.”
It’s a very interesting observation from one of the top women’s fighters in the history of the sport, who has transitioned into a role as an analyst during he retirement.
While Cyborg opened as a massive favorite over Holm according to the odds makers, Tate brings up a very interesting point when talking about a specific weapon that could turn the tide in this fight.
Holm has already stopped one legendary champion with a head kick when she flattened Rousey at UFC 193. Now Tate believes Holm might make lightning strike twice when she faces Cyborg on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.
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