UFC 214: Cyborg vs Evinger for featherweight title

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With three titles on the line UFC 214 Cormier vs Jones 2 takes place at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, CA on Saturday July 29.

The UFC 214 fight card is sure to draw large PPV numbers with headlining bouts Cormier vs Jones, Woodley vs Maia and Cyborg vs Evinger. Former Strikeforce champion and Invicta FC featherweight champion, Cristine Justino (otherwise known as Cris Cyborg) faces off against the current Invicta FC bantamweight champion, Tonya Evinger, in what will undoubtedly be a memorable championship war.

The UFC’s female featherweight title has, as of recently, become vacant. The former champion of the division Germaine de Randamie was stripped of her belt in June, 2017. Arguably the ‘fight to make’ was de Randamie vs Cyborg. It would have been the champion’s first title defense since defeating Holly Holm for the belt in controversial fashion earlier this year at UFC 208. Whilst fans and fighters alike believed Holm had claimed the title definitively, de Randamie won the bout according to the judges through unanimous decision.

Germaine de Randamie was offered a fight against Cris Cyborg to defend the title. However the champion declined the bout due to Cyborg’s history with PED’s (Performance Enhancing Drugs). As a result of her refusal to defend the belt, the UFC stripped Germaine of her title. With a vacant belt on the line, the UFC offered Cyborg a chance to claim gold in her favored weight division to which she eagerly accepted.

Cris Cyborg vs Ronda Rousey

Cyborg has struggled repeatedly over the course of the past few years with her attempts at making 135 pounds to compete in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Originally, the reason for her doing so was to challenge the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey.

At the time, Cyborg was the reigning champion of Invicta FC in the featherweight division. She had verbally stated multiple times and with protest that she wanted to challenge Rousey. Perhaps another important reason in the mix for Cyborg’s quest to make bantamweight, was that the featherweight division did not exist in the UFC at that point in time.

UFC Women’s Featherweight

Since the UFC formed the featherweight division for their female competitors, the weight classes have expanded substantially, now providing female athletes with more options to fight at a healthier and more natural weight. The subject of weight-cutting has been a long-time point of controversy for many, particularly within the female divisions. With the introduction of a featherweight division, fans should expect to see a larger variety of quality top contenders within the female divisions.

Cyborg was scheduled to fight Megan Anderson, another top contender within Invicta FC. However with a turn of events, Cyborg will now fight Tonya Evinger. The latter is a worthy opponent who was offered this bout on semi-short notice after Megan Anderson was forced to forfeit.

Evinger is the current Invicta FC bantamweight champion. She is set to be a quality opponent for Cyborg, who is known for her aggressive Muay Thai technique and incredulous knockout power.

Fans and fighters alike are eagerly anticipating this co-main event at UFC 214, it is a pivotal milestone for the newly formed women’s featherweight division. It is also possibly the beginning of a new era for the world of women’s MMA.

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Shanice Desilva
Shanice Desilva is a writer and personal trainer from Perth, Western Australia. She specializes in training developing athletes for competition in various sports, including combat sports. She also trains in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Perth, and has done for 6 years. Desilva is a regular contributor to FIGHTMAG, where she writes the ProLeague blog.

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