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UFC 240 results: Cris Cyborg returns with punishing performance to beat Felicia Spencer

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cris Cyborg got back in the win column at UFC 240 after suffering her first loss in more than a decade in her last outing.

Cyborg suffered a knockout in her last fight against current two-division champion Amanda Nunes so she definitely had something to prove on Saturday night. Felicia Spencer proved to be a worthy opponent by surviving all three rounds but Cyborg put on a dominant striking showcase to earn 30-27 scorecards across the board.

“Our sport is growing and growing, getting better and better girls,” Cyborg said following the win. “It just makes me happy because when I started doing MMA, [we] didn’t have any girls. To see girls in the cage makes me proud.”

Spencer actually managed to draw first blood with an inside elbow that clubbed Cyborg during a wild exchange in the opening round. That shot only seemed to motivate Cyborg, who then came after Spencer like a bulldozer with arms as she came swinging with everything in her arsenal.

Cyborg blasted Spencer with several stinging punches and then started to target the lead leg with her kicks. Despite that onslaught, Spencer refused to go away as she kept slowing Cyborg down with her attempts to drag the fight to the ground.

Spencer desperately wanted the fight on the ground, which led to her pulling guard and bringing Cyborg down on top of her. It was nearly a colossal mistake because Cyborg postured up before unleashing a barrage of punches that nearly put Spencer away.

The devastating power courtesy of Cyborg definitely had Spencer in trouble but she kept finding a way to escape before working her way back to the feet. The change of positions didn’t seem to help much, however, with Cyborg still tagging Spencer with punches before the round ended.

Once again, Spencer tried for the takedown early and often in the final round but she came up short with every attempt. In return, Cyborg punished Spencer any time she got enough space to throw her strikes.

The best shot of the fight came from Cyborg midway through the third round when she clubbed Spencer with a thudding elbow that had the Canadian featherweight in trouble. Cyborg turned up the pressure looking to get the knockout but Spencer would not go down.

In the end, Cyborg mounted a ton of damage over 15 minutes while Spender definitely deserves credit for absorbing a lot of punishment but still managing to stick around until the final horn sounded.

With the win, Cyborg has now completed her current contract with the UFC with a ton of questions surrounding her future with the promotion.

“I’m going to let the UFC talk to my manager,” Cyborg said about what comes next for her. “I just wanted to get this victory first and of course I want Amanda [Nunese]. I asked for the rematch after that fight.”