Jim Gensheimer / Mercury News
Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 | 8:44 a.m.
- ‘Cyborg’ does all the talking in and out of cage (8-16-2009)
- Strikeforce Notebook: Hieron leaves San Jose somewhat happy (8-16-2009)
- ‘Cyborg’ TKOs Carano (8-15-2009)
- Carano-‘Cyborg’ set to make history (8-13-2009)
- UFC to counter-program Strikeforce event (8-12-2009)
- Latest Strikeforce fight goes up in smoke (8-11-2009)
- Even in Philly, UFC's White still talking about Fedor, Strikeforce (8-7-2009)
- Fedor signs with Strikeforce, M-1 to co-promote (8-3-2009)
- Xtreme Couture's Hieron to face Nick Diaz at Strikeforce show (7-30-2009)
- Female fighters a big hit in Big Apple (7-16-2009)
Some 13,524 fans filled the HP Pavilion Saturday night to watch mixed martial arts history as Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos battled for the first-ever female championship in the San Jose-based Strikeforce MMA organization.
Santos, the Brazilian slugger, walked away with a first-round TKO, a shiny belt, and plenty of new fans.
“I want to thank Gina Carano for the opportunity, I want to thank all the fans because I train a lot and I do everything for the fans,” Santos said. “Everything I do is for the fans.”
Here’s a breakdown of what happened in San Jose by the numbers.
The first, and much-hyped, female title fight lived up to its billing. The two women pressed the action from the opening bell to a split second before the closing buzzer when referee Josh Rosenthal pulled “Cyborg” off of a defenseless Carano an instant before the round ended.
“I think if Gina could have got past the first two rounds, then I think the tide would have changed,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. “Gina hit her with some good jabs and she had some good escapes. I was surprised Gina was trying to grapple with her a little bit.”
The number of possible opponents for Strikeforce’s Fedor Emelianenko, a fighter several consider MMA’s pound-for-pound king. He was in attendance Saturday night.
He witnessed Fabrcio Werdum made quick work of Mike Kyle, submitting the San Jose fighter with a guillotine at 1:24 in the first round to put his name at the top of the Fedor sweepstakes.
“Of course I want to fight Fedor because everybody knows Fedor is the best,” Werdum said.
The second challenger for a possible fall bout with the Russian heavyweight is newly inked Strikeforce fighter Brett Rogers, who disposed of former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in 22 seconds in his Strikeforce debut in June. Rogers talked with media members Saturday while getting mobbed for autographs and photos from fans.
Number of possible opponents Jay Hieron had to prepare for in the last few weeks.
The Las Vegas-based fighter was originally scheduled to fight on the Aug. 1 Affliction card. When the organization folded, Hieron inked a deal with Strikeforce to challenge California fan favorite Nick Diaz for the welterweight title.
Diaz didn’t take a mandatory drug test on Monday and Hieron then had to prep for late replacement and “Ultimate Fighter” season No. 7 standout Jesse Taylor.
Hieron overcame his frustrations by scoring a grind-it-out victory (30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards.
“I was lying to myself, saying it doesn’t bother me,” Hieron said. “But at the end of the day, I got the job done.”
The crowd was not pleased with the timing — with one second left in the five minute round — of the late stoppage and voiced their disapproval with a chorus of boos.
But Carano’s corner didn’t argue the decision.
“She was done. We’re not gonna contest that. The ref pulled her off, she wasn’t answering, she wasn’t going anymore,” said Shawn Tompkins, Carano’s trainer at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. “I don’t want to take anything from Cyborg. She’s a great fighter, a dominant force in that division.”
Andy Samuelson can be reached at email@example.com or 702-948-7837.