Gina Carano Vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos


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This Saturday night’s Strikeforce women’s title fight between “Cyborg” Santos and Gina Carano is, without a doubt, the biggest fight in women’s MMA history.  It’s the first time a major organization has put two women in a main event bout, and it will mark the first time since her signing with EliteXC that we’ve seen Carano fight an opponent who doesn’t seem handpicked to suit her strengths.

In other words, there’s a good chance Carano could lose for the first time.  That’s part of what makes this fight interesting, but if that happens, where does Strikeforce’s women’s division, and women’s MMA as a whole, go from there?

Without question Carano has helped attract a lot of mainstream attention to women’s MMA.  People who don’t know fighting still know Carano, and she could realistically turn a lot of new fans on to the sport in general.

But if the face of women’s MMA gets beaten bloody in front of a live audience on Showtime this weekend, will those same people be equally interested in seeing Santos defend the belt in her next fight against someone who doesn’t look like a pin-up model?  And if not, what does that say about the nature of the interest in women’s MMA in general?

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