Cris Cyborg Knocks Out Gina Carano in First Round of Strikeforce Fight

Gina Carano may still be the face of women's MMA, but she's not the best female fighter in MMA. Cris Cyborg destroyed Carano in the main event of Saturday night's Strikeforce card, beating her throughout the first round and finally winning by TKO just before the round came to an end.

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Carano vs. Cyborg
Cris Cyborg punches Gina Carano in the face at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.
Esther Lin, Strikeforce
Esther Lin, Strikeforce

Carano vs. Cyborg

    Cris Cyborg punches Gina Carano in the face at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    Gina Carano's leg gets caught by Cris Cyborg at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 15: Cris Cyborg (L) battles Gina Carano during their Middleweight Championship fight at Stikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on August 15, 2009 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

    Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

    Gina Carano punches Cris Cyborg in the face at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 15: Cris Cyborg (R) battles Gina Carano during their Middleweight Championship fight at Stikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on August 15, 2009 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

    Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

    Cris "Cyborg" Santos, of Brazil, top, punches Gina Carano in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    Jeff Chiu, AP

    SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 15: Cris Cyborg (Top) battles Gina Carano during their Middleweight Championship fight at Stikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on August 15, 2009 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

    Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

    Cris "Cyborg" Santos, of Brazil, celebrates after beating Gina Carano in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Cris "Cyborg" Santos, of Brazil, celebrates after beating Gina Carano in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    Jeff Chiu, AP

    Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory over Gina Carano to win the Strikeforce title on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    Gegard Mousasi dominates the fight against Babalu Sobral, winning the fight in one minute at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce




The fight was fast-paced and exciting from the start, but it was never particularly close. Cyborg was simply bigger, stronger and tougher, and she battered Carano throughout the first round. Carano showed great heart and wouldn't give up, and she did land her fair share of strikes and mount Cyborg on the ground. But Cyborg's punches were too powerful for Carano to take.

The official stoppage from referee Josh Rosenthal came at 4:59 of the first round -- right before the buzzer sounded -- and at first there was some question as to whether Rosenthal had stopped the fight or just the first round. But Carano was being battered badly by Cyborg, and Rosenthal made the correct decision to protect Carano and end the fight.




"I want to thank Gina Carano for the opportunity, and I want to thank the fans," the Brazilian Cyborg said afterward, through her translator. "The key tonight was five years of training."

Carano applauded Cyborg and embraced her in the cage afterward, but she did not speak during the Showtime broadcast, as it was explained that she was being checked out by the on-site medical personnel.

Cyborg improved her record to 8-1, while Carano fell to 7-1. Cyborg is now the Strikeforce 145-pound women's champion, and it's a safe bet that if Carano wins another fight, she'll get a shot at Cyborg's title. But she'll have to get a lot better if she's going to beat the new champion. Cyborg is for real.

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