Even though she had a title defense in the offing on Friday night, the lead-up to Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s fight with Charmaine Tweet constantly circled back to her rivalry with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and whether or not the two would ever fight.
Rousey has to defend against Cat Zingano at UFC 184 on Saturday night, but Cyborg kept her side of the hopes for a fight with Rousey alive with an face-breaking performance against Tweet.
Although she had been out of the cage for nearly a year and a half, Cyborg showed no signs of ring rust. She immediately rushed Tweet, landing a flurry of punches. A right hand sent Tweet crashing to the canvas, but Cyborg continued her onslaught, landing a few well-placed punches, but couldn’t find the finishing blow and forced Tweet to return to her feet.
It proved to be the perfect move for Cyborg as she unleashed another flurry of punches. Tweet’s nose was obviously busted up, gushing blood, as she doubled over and backed into the cage. Referee Herb Dean had seen enough and stopped the fight.
In a mere 46 seconds, Cyborg once again showed why we all want to see her get down to 135 pounds and fight Rousey. For her part, Cyborg sounds as if she’s still going to try and get down to bantamweight in order to make the fight happen.
“I am so happy to come back a champion. Maybe someday I’ll be in UFC soon,” she said.
“My team and me train hard for this. I would try my best; I would try 100-percent to make 135.”
Strawweight Alexa Grasso earlier this week said that she wants to emulate Rousey. She wasn’t able to pull off a Rousey-like finish, but she definitely showed a well-rounded arsenal in her fight with Mizuki Inoue.
It was a strong performance from both fighters, but Grasso was the more aggressive and more effective fighter throughout, earning a unanimous nod from the judges.
Inoue was also aggressive, consistently pushing forward and putting pressure on Grasso throughout the three rounds. Grasso’s striking was much more abundant and powerful than Inoue’s, plus, when Inoue put Grasso on the mat, which she did several times, Grasso found a way to turn the fight to her advantage.
The victory doesn’t quite put her in Rousey territory, but Grasso is now 7-0 and looking for a shot at Invicta FC strawweight champion Katja Kankaanpää.
“If Invicta lets me, I would like to fight for a title,” said Grasso after the fight. “If I can, I would be so, so glad.”
In earlier action, DeAnna Bennett won a unanimous decision over late replacement Norma Rueda Center, while Irene Aldana submitted Colleen Schneider, who was also took the fight on short notice.
Invicta FC 11: Cyborg vs. Tweet Results
Cris “Cyborg” Justino (12-1, 1 NC) vs. Charmaine Tweet (6-4)
Alexa Grasso def. Mizuki Inoue via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
DeAnna Bennett def. Norma Rueda Center via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Irene Aldana def. Colleen Schneider via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:05, R1
Jamie Moyle def. J.J. Aldrich via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:20, R1
Amy Montenegro def. Brianna Van Buren via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Christine Stanley def. Laura Salazar via TKO at 2:59, R1
Aspen Ladd def. Ana Carolina via TKO at 4:21, R1