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Pound-for-Pound In-Depth: MMA’s Top Five Greatest Female Fighters

Megumi Fujii MMA UFC
(Submission savant Megumi Fujii. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

When "Carano vs. Cyborg" pulled in 856,000 viewers on Showtime, it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there could be a market for women’s MMA outside of Japanese all-girl leagues and one-off fights in the U.S. Strikeforce and Bellator are both planning high-profile women’s tournaments, and 2010 could be the year that women finally gain some measure of equality in the sport. In honor of the coming revolution, we’ve launched a top 5 women’s pound-for-pound list in our Power Rankings section; get to know these warriors below, and let us know what you think.


1: Megumi Fujii (18-0)
Armed with grappling credentials that include two BJJ championships at the Pan American Games and nine All-Japan Sambo titles, Fujii has tapped 15 of her 18 opponents during her five-year MMA career, and outpointed the other three. Her relentless, inventive ground attack is reminiscent of Kazushi Sakuraba in his prime, and at just 115 pounds, the 35-year-old packs more talent per ounce than any other woman in the world. In a sport where retiring undefeated is a mythical feat, Fujii just might pull it off.
Watch this: Fujii’s "Alive" and "Hurt" highlight reels.

2: Tara LaRosa (17-1)
Tara LaRosa MMA
Though Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg draw more attention, hardcore fans know that Tara LaRosa is the most talented female fighter our country has to offer. The former women’s bantamweight champ of BodogFight, LaRosa has run through a who’s who of U.S. talent including Roxanne Modafferi, Amanda Buckner, Shayna Baszler, and Kelly Kobold. She hasn’t lost since 2003, and she’s finished her last seven fights by stoppage. The word is that she’ll be competing next in a women’s 125-pound tournament for Bellator; if that works out, get ready for a whole new batch of YouTube highlights.
Watch this: Tara LaRosa vs. Shayna Baszler


Scott Coker Viciously Punk’d by Cris Cyborg

Cristiane Cris Cyborg Santos Evangelista MMA Strikeforce
("Cris? Do you think that maybe *I* could be on top tonight?"
"Get a decent win streak together and we’ll talk." Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.

Practical jokes are like knockout punches — they both rely on timing for maximum devastation. Cristiane and Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos understand this better than anybody. Who knows why they’d want to give Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker a heart attack the night before an already cursed event, but  oh boy did they get him:

The Strikeforce promoter is usually calm and cool under the worst of circumstances, and the weeks leading up to the show featured plenty of them, as several matches had to be rearranged for various reasons. But he thought he had a nightmare scenario on his hands the night before the show.
At about 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, on a show where every major match but the main event fell apart, Coker got a phone call from the Santos camp. They were apologetic, saying that they had no idea beforehand, but that when the commission was testing Santos, they found out that she was pregnant and the fight was off. Coker fell for it…though later he was told it was a prank. Good thing for Coker – and for Santos.

Too bad we couldn’t be there to see Coker’s reaction. We’re guessing it looked something like this.


‘Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg’ — Liveblogging for the Ladies

Gina Carano Cris Cyborg Strikeforce MMA
("Hey, I’m Gina!" 
"I am the one known as ‘Cyborg’."
"Look, whatever happens tonight, I just want you to know that I have tons of respect for you, and I feel honored to be fighting you."
"I want to kill you so bad, my dick’s hard."
Photo courtesy of
this set on CombatLifestyle.)

So who wants to witness some history in the making? Tonight, the curse is lifted, and the most significant women’s MMA fight of all time will take place. (Before that, there will be some men’s MMA matches of varying importance.) Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg results await you after the jump. Refresh the page every few minutes for round-by-round updates and occasional digressions. Warning: The Showtime broadcast is delayed on the west coast, so check your local listings, and if you’re not getting it live, maybe stay away from the comments section for a while, lest you be spoiled.


Gina Carano Weigh-In Pics and Video

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Gina Carano hot weigh-in photos picsGina Carano weigh in photos hot StrikeforceGina Carano Cris Cyborg weigh-in photos MMAGina Carano hot body pics weigh ins Strikeforce MMA
Gina Carano weigh-in photos Cris CyborgGina Carano fist pose Strikeforce Carano vs. Cyborg weigh ins photos picsGina Carano Cris Cyborg Strikeforce MMA weigh in photos picsGina Carano Cris Cyborg face-off staredown pics photos Strikeforce MMA
(For lots more Carano vs. Cyborg weigh-in pics, hit up CombatLifestyle and

(Props: MMA Fanhouse)

The face of women’s MMA was in fine form at yesterday’s weigh-ins — which is unsurprising, considering Scott Coker was weighing her every day. We’ll be liveblogging the Showtime broadcast of "Carano vs. Cyborg" tonight starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, so swing by and let us know what you think. After the jump: The ultra-slick show-opening video for Carano vs. Cyborg. Deal with it, Gladiator.


The 10 Most Cursed MMA Events of All Time

If it wasn’t for bad luck, Strikeforce’s upcoming “Carano vs. Cyborg” card wouldn’t have any luck at all. Despite the best intentions, some MMA events are destined to be magnets for injuries, unwelcome surprises, and other bizarre occurrences. But which events have been screwed by fate the hardest? Knock on wood, grab your crotch, and read on…

#10: UFC 67: All Or Nothing, 2/3/07
UFC 67 event poster

The aptly-titled “All or Nothing” event was the first UFC pay-per-view in nearly a year to lack a title fight by the time it finally took place.  That’s all the more disappointing when you consider that it had two a couple months out from the event, pitting TUF “Comeback” winners Matt Serra and Travis Lutter against the champions in their respective weight classes.

The first title fight went down the drain when Georges St. Pierre injured his knee during training and had to put off the fight with Serra (and we all remember how that went when it finally happened).  Fortunately they still had Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter to fall back on…right?  Only Lutter failed to make weight for his title shot, downgrading his “Rocky” storyline to a “Bad News Bears” one.  Instead they just had themselves a normal old three-rounder, with Lutter holding his own in the first round before getting triangled/elbowed to death in the second. What fun.

#9: UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida, 5/23/09
UFC 98 Rashad Evans Lyoto Machida MMA poster

The event that famously launched “the Machida Era” only included Lyoto as a last resort. Originally, the card was to be headlined by the heavyweight title scrap between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, until Mir informed the UFC that he was still recovering from knee surgery. The main event was then changed to a light-heavyweight title fight between Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but Jackson — who had just gone the distance with Keith Jardine two months earlierbowed out due to lingering hand and jaw injuries. And so, the UFC decided to give a well-deserved light-heavyweight title shot to that weird Brazilian guy with the unibrow.

If you’re Rashad Evans, that would be enough to make this one of the unluckiest fight cards ever. But UFC 98’s string of setbacks extended to the supporting cast as well. Josh Koscheck pulled out of the event due to a broken toe and was replaced by Brock Larson; Koscheck’s scheduled opponent, Chris Wilson, missed the show because of incomplete paperwork. James “Born Under a Bad Sign” Irvin suffered one of his many knee injuries and was replaced by Xavier Foupa-Pokam. Yushin Okami also went down with a dodgy knee and was replaced by Chael Sonnen. And finally, hard-luck-case Houston Alexander broke his hand during training and was replaced by Krzysztof Soszynski. Later, it was discovered that the MGM Grand Garden Arena had been built on an Indian burial ground.


Training Video: Cris Cyborg Is Satan

(Props: cnovs13 via Moth2Flame)

When you watch this video of Cristiane "Cris Cyborg" Santos going through some caveman-style training at Advanced Human Movement, you don’t see a woman who’s on the verge of calling for her mommy. Cyborg is a physical dynamo. Check out the 2:39 mark, where she repeatedly picks up her husband Evangelista with a bungee rope harnessed to her back. I don’t know if I could even do that once, and I outweigh Cyborg by a solid 20 pounds of stomach fat. It’s no wonder why the Brazilian is a betting favorite by as much as -200. Anybody plan on taking Gina Carano in this one?

After the jump: Fabricio Werdum gets in a workout at AHM. Werdum will be facing despicable cheater Mike Kyle on the undercard of "Carano vs. Cyborg."


Joe Riggs Reportedly Pulls Out of ‘Carano vs. Cyborg’ Card Due to Bad Drug Reaction

Joe Riggs Jabba MMA
("Side effects may include headache, dry mouth, constipation, and Huttism.")

Strikeforce’s monumental "Carano vs. Cyborg" card may have lost another title fight. Earlier this week, the scheduled heavyweight championship bout between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum went up in smoke due to Overeem’s infected hand. Now, it appears that the rematch between Nick Diaz and Joe Riggs — which would have decided Strikeforce’s first welterweight champion — could be off as well. According to GracieFighter (via FiveOuncesofPain):


Afternoon Video Dump: Tompkins on Vitor Belfort, Machida: The Next Generation + More

(Props: CageWriter)

Believe it or not, Vitor Belfort‘s trainer Shawn Tompkins says that he and Vitor had been pushing for a fight against Fedor Emelianenko three months ago — and now the opportunity may have dropped in their laps. "It’s Vitor’s way of proving that he is the best pound-for-pound champion," says Tompkins of Belfort’s desire to face the Last Emperor. The Xtreme Couture striking coach tries to convince Steve Cofield that going from Jorge Santiago to Fedor Emelianenko isn’t that big of a stylistic change for Vitor, but acknowledges that Fedor probably isn’t too nervous about the last-minute opponent-switch.

Also, fighting Emelianenko is far from a lost cause: "[Fedor's fight against Andrei Arlovski] really showed a lot of the kink in Fedor’s armor. Whether Fedor believes it or not, he doesn’t deal well with speed, and he doesn’t deal well with getting hit…it’s going to be hard to keep up to Vitor’s pace." And as for their previous refusal to take on Gegard Mousasi at light-heavyweight? Tompkins drops some real-talk on us: "What does Mousasi do for us in America? If Affliction sticks around, we’d like to renew our contract with them, but if they don’t, we want to go to the UFC. Beating Mousasi does nothing for us, getting beat by Mousasi…it’s not good for us at all."


Pics: Gina Carano at the 2009 ESPY Awards

Gina Carano ESPY Awards ESPYs MMA
Gina Carano 2009 ESPYs ESPY Awards MMA Gina Carano MMA ESPYs 2009 ESPY Awards Gina Carano Cris Cyborg MMA ESPYs red carpet
(Props: MMAFightGirls)

From Wednesday’s taping of the 2009 ESPY awards; the face of women’s MMA still cleans up real nice. Woefully uninformed sports site labeled that last pic "Gina Carano and bodyguard" — though maybe Carano will need one when she meets Cris Cyborg in their Strikeforce title fight on August 15th


CagePotato Comments of the Week + A Programming Note

Cristiane Cris Cyborg Santos MMA
("Ho. Ree. Shit.")

Two comments in particular made us LOFL this week, earning their authors Hall of Fame shirts from our dwindling supply. (Get ‘em while they’re still outdated!) Coincidentally, they were both Cris Cyborg-related…

Dubbs on "Exclusive Photos: ‘Carano vs. Cyborg’ Press Conference in New York City":
IMG_1038: Basic Instinct meets The Crying Game.

PurplePickle on "Kit Cope Says He Has a Gina Carano Sex Tape, Continues to Be a Total Asshole":
I don’t know about this Gina sex tape shit, but I had one of Cyborg Santos on Tivo. It showed Cyborg totally raping the shit out of this little Japanese girl for like nine whole minutes. If you look closely in the background you could see Josh Barnett yelling and cheering. It was fucking sick I tell you. I can’t believe they showed that shit on Showtime. Sad times we live in, sad times.

If you won, please send your name, address, and shirt size to We’ll be passing along your addresses to Mrs. Santos, because she told us she’d really like to visit you guys sometime. How exciting!

ALSO: "Ben vs. Ben" hits the airwaves later today for an encore performance on SIRIUS Fight Club (channel 127, or 104 for XM subscribers), beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Join us as we discuss the major themes coming out of UFC 100′s aftermath, as well as how much Gina Carano’s aforementioned sex tape would be worth to us, hypothetically speaking.