Going into Saturday night's main event, Gina Carano was deemed the face of women's MMA, but it was Cris "Cyborg" Santos who walked out with the Strikeforce 145-pound women's title as she got a first round TKO win, punishing her way to a referee's stoppage after a barrage of strikes on the ground.
With 13,524 fans watching the historic event at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., the first round unfolded with unbelievable fast-paced action. Both fighters came out with speed and fury on their minds, punches starting to fly immediately.
It was apparent during the first clinch against the cage that Cyborg was the much stronger fighter. Carano battled back by pulling the fight to the ground, which almost resulted in her giving up a heel hook. Carano battled out and the fight was back on the feet.
Carano tried her best to land strikes on Cyborg, but the Brazilian simply seemed to walk through the punches, while landing the more damaging shots throughout. With only half of the fight in the books at this point, they clinched and the fight again went to the ground where Carano took the mount and started to reign down punches, but instead of maintaining position, she stood up with the Chute Boxe fighter.
Cyborg never let the fight get away from her again as she moved forward and blasted Carano with punch after punch. The bout eventually moved to the ground once again, where she pummeled the Las Vegas native with strikes. Carano struggled to get out of the position, and Cyborg seized the moment by standing up and unloading punch after punch until referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in to stop the fight just before the horn sounded to call an end to the round.
"Since the beginning I knew that this fight would be hard, that's why I trained so hard for this fight and for Gina because I know Gina's an excellent fighter," Cyborg said after the title win.
Taking her place in history as the first ever Strikeforce women's champion, Cyborg single handedly struck a blow to the hype machine around Carano, while wrapping the 145-pound divisional title around her waist.
"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," she said with heartfelt sentiment following the title victory. "It's always for the fans."
Cyborg was absolutely humble in victory, while Carano was nothing but congratulatory in shaking the hand of the woman who handed her the first loss of her MMA career.