Well Andy is on the Fence on this one… She refuses to pick a winner!
So I’m not one to sit on the fence and would rather be wrong and have people crack the shits at me because I’m not on board with their “favorite athlete or agree with their strategy” or whatever it may be. But at least we get to CREATE the discussion, and I prefer to discuss and look at alternatives than just dead air!
So with that said here’s MY thoughts on this AWESOME fight!
Cris Cyborg vs Tonya Evinger
First off if you don’t usually buy PPV’s this IS THE ONE! Not just for Jones and DC or Woodly and Maia.
But this is essentially what I would consider probably the 2 best female athletes at 145 pounds on the planet right now. Yeah I said 145 pounds and “probably”!
Sadly the whole “UFC public” might not know this and even look at me like I’m mad, but I’ll explain later don’t worry…
Ok weight differences are there but let me get into that. Nunes or Shevchenko certainly have more hype than BOTH Cris and especially Tonya. And I KNOW so many were sold on Megan Anderson as the “BIG challenge” for Cris but facts are facts and stats are stats. So don’t let the past of the UFC hype machine make your minds up for you.
A good example of this is the “Hype” behind Megan Anderson. She WILL be a great fighter but take away the hype. She has lost to a 135er badly (In Cindy, and was then fed two 145ers, OUTSIDE of the top 15 to pad up a 3 fight win streak?) And please forgive me if I am wrong but I do belive she is still a white belt, this is simply due to being so green in the sport, nothing to do with effort or skill. But knowledge plays a BIG part in this sport.
So which fighter is going to give Cris a better challenge? Someone who beats people that beats Megan and on a 10 fight win streak just like Cris and the only difference is weight class? Or someone with some marketing hype? (Again Megan WILL be great! She’s just green! nothing wrong with that, with more experience she would be a MASSIVE threat to Cris, but not yet, stats don’t lie).
I say DEFINITELY YES! The athlete who is on a 10 fight win streak!
That’s why this fight is such a sleeper and a pity it’s not being sold as more to what is it really is.
So let’s start with the athletes themselves. As I was discussing just the other day with someone who has spent time with both of these 2 outstanding fighters. I cannot say just how good this fight in theory should be. But also what I believe is REALLY going to make things interesting is the styles!
Cris is straight out Chute Boxe old school in your face RAGE from the bell until she gets tired. And tired she does! it takes about 3 rounds from history. She has stamina but her power fades after the 3rd on the very rare occasion when it gets there. She traditionally walks around at an estimated near 200 plus pounds!
That’s MASSIVE for even a 145er! If you recall her last UFC fight at 145 pounds (not 140) she was cutting weight and showed a scale picture of 175 pounds weeks out. So her size is no joke. We are talking about a HUGE athlete swinging hard at you full blast until you cave. – But she has holes in her game because of her style, as pointed out by Jorina Baars (in a pure striking match – Which is Cris’ platform, the ground is her last resort although she is still very solid there.)
Just like most Chute Boxe athletes most punches are wide and looping, the reason for this is because it allows for fast forward movement while being able to plant your feet on the move getting in the foot through hip to fist torque, and if you clip someone its going to take away their equilibrium due to being hit around the ear/side jaw area and they will fall even if the punch doesn’t put them out.
And in turn gives Cris valuable seconds to use her weight advantage to lay and pound on her opponent who even if they regain their vertigo, the opponent then has to struggle to push near 170-200 pounds off them when Cris is holding 1 arm and punching them with the other.
But its not THAT simple, Cris ALWAYS looks for the stiff jab to put her opponent off guard for that split second before the barrage begins. A classic example is the Leslie Smith fight below (don’t forget Leslie’s ideal weight class is 125, so 135 is not totally ideal for her but that’s all the UFC has and Leslie is one tough cookie, as you can see she takes the shots but not so much the weight.)
So look for the stiff jab to land then it’s RAGE CITY from Cris until the bell sounds.
This is a rinse and repeat recipe for Cris in slightly different ways. Has been the same strategy for her last 7 or 8 fights. If her punches don’t drop her opponent then its to force them onto the cage where looping punches in bunches continue to rain to the body and head with the same pressure and intent to finish as quickly as possible. – key shots are around the ears and to the liver.
Ironically its this style that could play exactly into Evinger’s talents!
Ever Since her UFC TUF fallout, and ironically this was not long after Cris’s PED suspension. (funny how the world works). If you take the Suspension date, and the TUF date, BOTH fighters are on a 10 fight win streak! I hope now the people laughing at me for calling Evinger probably the top 145er opponent for Cris can hear me out a little.
Not only has Tonya defeated quite a few UFC 135’ers who used to be in InvictaFC out of those what most people don’t understand is that the depth level of the 145 pound division is NOTHING compared to the 135 division. (I’m sorry it’s true, it’s also why Bellator could buy it so fast)
As per the video below it’s why when Tonya comment’s to Ariel that perhaps the UFC missed the boat in signing up 145 talent. She is correct. Bellator was able to purchase the top 20 in the world essentially, minus Dandois and Cyborg! Why because half in the top 10 fight at 135 AND 145 just to get more fights, 145 is just not a super deep pool; so most can’t earn money in just 145 unless they simply cannot cut to another weight to offset income. (Strike-force is GONE!)
So onto Tonya, its no secret her skillets are wrestling and simply pounding people until they have nothing left. Much like Cris but on the ground instead of on the feet. Tonya set’s up take-downs with her striking, and perhaps the best description for this is she makes the fight dirty and gritty. There is a strange sinking of the opponent when watching an Evinger fight.
It’s like watching a shark circling it’s pray and you know the end result it’s simply a matter of how long the prey is going to keep kicking its nose until it realizes that it doesn’t change any outcome and then the shark swims off having had its dinner… Tonya get’s the job done by punches, submissions, elbows it doesn’t matter whatever it takes to get the job done, that’s an Evinger fight. It’s a beat-down.
She also cuts a LOT of weight to make her 135 and is used to being one of the biggest in he division. So this time around she clearly wont be, however if it goes to the ground it is a place where Tonya feels right at home and not only will be looking to take it there “carefully” of course, but even from the bottom Tonya will be wise to any trick or tactic that Cris is going to use and even with the weight difference Tonya’s skill level should still enable her to get out of the “basic” positions easy enough that Cris is used to folding an opponent into with her size.
Additionally Tonya has had some fast finishes and slower ones but she is a FINISHER. So if it hits the later rounds expect Evinger to be the fresher of the 2 and certainly the more motivated going into later rounds if that happens.
If we hit round 3, I can almost hear the typical USA chants come out of nowhere for Evinger!
And THAT my friends is what is going to make this fight one VERY interesting one indeed!
We have a classic striker vs grappler, where weight classes aside are both at the top of their game! And what’s more they can both hold their own in their opponents area of strength too.
Enjoy the fights everyone!
It’s also worth noting that Evinger is ABOVE an 8 to 1 underdog! So if you are a bit of a punter it’s well worth the risk. (Think back to Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey, We have another striker grappler situation here but in reverse!) I put some down. So obviously I am expecting Evinger to do well.
Unibet in my country are doing a 50% bonus pay so for some small $ you can walk away with some serious $$ just by betting on Tonya for the Win, or past 1 round, or a myriad of betting choices if that’s your thing! (Nope I get nothing from them! Pay me Unitbet!)