ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It wasn’t her trademark tornado-esque whirlwind. But Cris Cyborg is finally a UFC champion.
The super-tough Tonya Evinger took Cyborg into the third round Saturday night at UFC 214 before finally succumbing, as Cyborg finally won via TKO at the 1:56 mark of the third round and claimed the vacant UFC women’s featherweight title at Honda Center.
“I don’t have the words to say, just thank you for everything, for everyone who watched me,” Cyborg said.
Cyborg stalked Evinger from the outset. But Evinger, the Invicta bantamweight champion who accepted this fight as a substitute, is one of the game’s toughest customers. She scored a takedown and a trip and did her best to stay out of Cyborg’s range in the opening round.
Evinger also got through the second round on her toughness, but Cyborg's attack was adding up. It was simply a matter of time in the third round, as Cyborg finally finished her with a rush of violent knees to end the bout.
With the victory, Cyborg, the former Strikeforce and Invicta champion, improved to 18-1 (1 NC). She hasn’t lost since her debut fight in 2005.
“I’m really happy, this is what I have worked toward my entire career,” Cyborg said.
Evinger had an 10-fight win streak snapped with her first career knockout loss.
The belt was vacated after Germaine de Randamie, who defeated Holly Holm at UFC 209 to win the inaugural, title, refused to defend the belt against Cyborg, citing her previous PED history.