On Friday night, Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino returned to Las Vegas for a Muay Thai fight in the Lion Fight promotions at Lion Fight 14 on AXS TV. Cyborg was coming off of a dominant win over French Muay Thai Champion Jennifer Colomb in her previous Muay Thai bout, but she was set to face one of the toughest challenges of her career.
Cyborg was taking on undefeated Jorina Baars for the Lion Fight welterweight title.
When the opening bell rang, Cyborg came in with her bull rush, but she quickly took a kick directly to the face that dropped her to one knee. Referee Tony Weeks jumped in to separate the fighters, and Cyborg immediately came back looking to throw her power.
Baars was able to control the range for the first part of the round and continued to rock Cyborg, including a huge head kick that dropped the MMA champ right to the ground. Round 1 was all Baars, as bars used her quick technique to avoid punishment from Cyborg while getting the better of every exchange.
Baars took the center of the ring to kick off the second round, and she refused to let Cyborg overpower her in the clinch.
Cyborg got her first solid attack by dumping Baars midway through the second, as she began to find her rhythm and close the distance. Baars was able to use her length in the final minute to keep Cyborg at bay and take advantage of Cyborg being flat-footed by attacking the legs, before the final bell rang.
The third round began with a big flurry from Cyborg, but Baars remained calm and immediately went back to the center of the ring.
Baars connected with a huge knee to the jaw of Cyborg that sent her flying into the ropes, but Tony Weeks decided not to give a count despite the fact it was a clear knockdown.
Cyborg was showing clear damage on her face at the midway point of the fight, as she struggled with the length of Baars. Cyborg was able to throw Baars to the ground with ease when the two women tied up, and the fight ended with a wild exchange that simultaneously saw Baars land a high kick and Cyborg throwing a straight right.
Cyborg came out in the fourth with a sense of urgency and was throwing wild punches that landed on few occasions, but Baars weathered the storm and showed no signs of being intimidated. Cyborg landed a big shot to the body and then threw Baars to the ground, but she had still yet to land a knockdown. Instead, Cyborg was using her strength to continuously toss Baars to the mat.
The fourth ended with a huge shot from Cyborg that landed flush, but Baars shook her head and walked right back towards her opponent.
With one round to go, Baars appeared to have a slight edge thanks to the early knockdown.
In the final round, Baars scored a knockdown with a spinning kick to the body, which was a bit controversial but made up for the missed knockdown call from the devastating knee earlier in the bout.
Cyborg was throwing wild flurries in an attempt to overwhelm Baars and make up for the knockdown earlier in the round, as the two entered the final stretch of the fight.
The two women continued to throw until the final bell as a thrilling bout, which could be a fight of the year candidate, came to an end and went to the judges scorecards.
When the judges scorecards were ready, Baars earned the decisive win (49-45, 48-45, 49-44) to become the inaugural Lion Fight welterweight champion.