Bloody Elbow presents its fight primer coverage for UFC 214 on Saturday, July 29th in Anaheim, California. Here, we take a look at the women’s featherweight title fight between Cris Cyborg and Tonya Evinger.
The first of three (three!) title fights at UFC 214 is the vacant women’s featherweight championship bout between Cris Cyborg (17-1-1 NC MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Tonya Evinger (19-5-1 NC MMA, 0-0 UFC). UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 airs live from Anaheim, California this Saturday night, July 29th. The main card airs on PPV at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with the preliminary card on FXX at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, plus Fight Pass prelims at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT.
Germaine de Randamie was recently stripped of her title after refusing to fight Cyborg, who is the greatest women’s 145er of all-time. Evinger is replacing Megan Anderson, who withdrew due to undisclosed personal reasons. In a different world, this would’ve been a champion vs. champion battle between two Invicta FC titleholders. Cyborg is the heavy favorite to add UFC gold to her extensive list of accomplishments, while Evinger is seeking to make the most of her unexpected (and in the eyes of many, overdue) UFC call-up.
How do these two stack up?
Woodley: 32 years old | 5’8″ | 68″ reach
Evinger: 36 years old | 5’7″ | 67″ reach
What have these two done recently?
Cyborg: W – Lina Lansberg (TKO) | W – Leslie Smith (TKO) | W – Daria Ibragimova (KO)
Evinger: W – Yana Kunitskaya (SUB) | NC – Yana Kunitskaya | W – Colleen Schneider (UD)
How did these two get here?
It’s been a tough several months for Cyborg. Following her September 2016 win over Lina Lansberg, the Brazilian was passed over for the inaugural women’s featherweight title fight after she’d turned down the February date to face one of Holly Holm or Germaine de Randamie. She also dealt with a positive drug test for the banned substance spironolactone. USADA issued her a retroactive TUE, thus avoiding any suspension for taking the diuretic. Cyborg also stirred up some controversy for getting into a brief physical altercation with Angela Magana at the UFC Fighters Retreat, although no disciplinary action was taken from the UFC’s side. After nearly ten months off, we’ll see one of the sport’s most vicious knockout artists return to the cage, where she’s dominated her foes for more than a decade. Notable wins throughout her legendary career include Gina Carano, Marloes Coenen (2x), and Shayna Baszler.
Evinger held the Invicta FC women’s bantamweight belt with a TKO win over Mexican prospect Irene Aldana back in July 2015. After a non-title defense vs. Pannie Kianzad (who missed weight), “Triple Threat” bested Colleen Schneider, then had an armbar loss to Yana Kunitskaya overturned after the referee erred in telling her to move out of a legal position to defend the submission. Evinger won the immediate rematch over the Russian with a rear-naked choke. She was set to fight Helena Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24 (replacing Megan Anderson, who signed with the UFC to fight Cyborg), and now she’s again subbing for Anderson, this time with much higher stakes on the line. It should be noted that Evinger has never fought at 145 before, so it’ll be a tall task to end Cyborg’s reign atop the division.
Why should you care?
Cris Cyborg is fighting! That’s pretty much guaranteed excitement coming your way, and you know Evinger is going to give it one hell of an effort to pull off a remarkable upset.