by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos finally has an opponent set in her sights.
On Wednesday, Strikeforce executive Mike Afromowitz confirmed that the Brazilian sensation faces veteran Hitomi Akano at Strikeforce’s first Showtime televised effort, “Shamrock vs. Diaz,” on April 11 in San Jose.
Afromowitz said the bout’s placement on the main card had yet to be determined. It is scheduled for three, three-minute rounds at a weight limit of 145lbs.
Last month, Strikeforce acquired Santos’ contract in a buyout of troubled ProElite assets. She was widely expected to take on women’s MMA star Gina Carano before ProElite’s flagship MMA promotion, Elite XC, was forced to cease operations.
Carano is reportedly still in negotiations with Strikeforce, though CEO Scott Coker recently said if a deal is made, she will likely fight on a yet to be announced card in May.
Santos withdrew from a scheduled appearance against Marloes Coenen at last weekend’s XMMA 7 in Montreal, Canada due to a shoulder injury.
The 23 year-old native of Curitiba has won all but one of her seven professional appearances, most by TKO.
Akano, 34, is a BodogFight veteran with a professional record of 14-5. She currently trains with standout Megumi Fujii at the Ani Abe Combat Club in Tokyo, Japan. A submission specialist, ten out of her fourteen victories come from armbars.