'Cyborg' Looks to Oct. EliteXC-CBS Return

By Gleidson Venga Aug 8, 2008
Few fighters, male or female alike, have made the indelible impression Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (Pictures) achieved in her July 26 U.S. television debut for EliteXC on CBS. In just under six minutes, the Brazilian fighter floored Shayna Baszler (Pictures) (9-5) on two occasions amidst an onslaught of machine-gun punches that left Baszler crumpled at her feet.

In Curitiba, Brazil, where Santos trains with her husband and fellow fighter Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos at the world-famous Chute Boxe Academy, the 140-pound dynamo’s exploits are well known.

“The Brazilians knew I would perform that way,” said Santos. “The Americans were the ones who didn’t know me yet. I think everybody liked that.”

Indeed they did.

Santos’ victory -- the fifth one added to her unblemished career -- has already linked her to the sport’s most popular female attraction, Gina Carano (Pictures). “The Face of Women’s MMA” is likely to clash with Minnesotan Kelly Kobold-Gavin (16-2-1) at the third installment of CBS’s “Saturday Night Fights” on Oct. 4, though Santos might be only a few steps behind the undefeated Carano.

“I think I’m going to fight at the same event that she will in October,” said Santos, 23. “I don’t know who I’ll be facing, but if Carano and I win, people will be expecting our fight and we will have to face each other. The event should start marketing for it and we should be facing each other on the pay-per-view by the end of the year.”

Launched in February 2007, EliteXC has yet to move into the potentially lucrative pay-per-view market currently dominated by the UFC, though the Los Angeles-based company has said they are working in that direction.

“That’s what we’re trying to build toward is pay-per-view stars,” Jeremy Lappen, EliteXC’s Head of Fight Operations, told AOL Sports on July 31. “We want to do pay-per-view once it's big enough and meaningful enough to be worth fans' money.”

A marquee matchup between Carano, 26, and Santos would certainly be a draw for fans, and could silence criticism steered at EliteXC’s alleged “kid glove” handling of Carano in the selection of her opponents.

Santos’ aggressive nature, indicative of her Chute Boxe roots, would lend itself to a competitive pairing with Carano (6-0), a muay Thai stylist by trade.

“I think everybody wants to watch this fight,” said Santos, who went nearly two years without a fight for a lack of opponents. “I’ll keep on training, I’ll win my fights and I’ll be very well prepared, just waiting for the right time to come. It will be inevitable. She will have to face me sooner or later. I’m waiting for her.”
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