Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Carano - Cyborg press conference at MSG

New York, NY (Phanatic Magazine) - The hype kicked off for the biggest women's match in mixed martial arts history Tuesday when Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos got together for a press conference, fan meet and greet session and open workout at Madison Square Garden.

The fetching Carano (7-0) and Santos (7-1) will headline a STRIKEFORCE world championship quadruple-header on Saturday, August 15, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

It's the first time that the ladies will participate in the main event of a major MMA card. At stake will be the newly created STRIKEFORCE Women’s 145-pound World Title.

"I am not into public speaking, but I am so humbled and blessed by this unbelievable turnout of media and fans," Carano said. "It feels so great the support that you have given Cyborg and I. (But) It is not just us. There are four title fights on this great card."

Indeed, the event looks to be one of the most loaded non-UFC cards ever put together. Joe Riggs (30-10) and Nick Diaz (20-7) will revisit their bitter rivalry that began three years ago in the UFC when they face off in the first welterweight (170 pounds) STRIKEFORCE championship fight in history.

Meanwhile, World Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (29-11) will put his title on the line and, at the same time, attempt to avenge a previous defeat when he squares off with old nemesis and two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Fabricio Werdum (11-4-1).

Finally, World Lightweight (155 pounds) Champion Josh Thomson (16-2) will defend his STRIKEFORCE crown against Gilbert Melendez (15-2), the man whom Thomson dethroned by way of unanimous decision at HP Pavilion on June 27, 2008.

Despite all the hardware that will be up for grabs it's clear that Carano is driving the interest in the card. A former cast member on American Gladiators and the daughter of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Glenn Carano, Gina was named one of the hottest women in the world by Maxim Magazine.

Carano's looks certainly drive her popularity but she still must perform inside the cage and Santos is unquestionably her toughest opponent to date.

"I have the ultimate, utmost respect for Cyborg," Carano said. "This is the toughest fight of my life."

With that in mind, Carano enlisted the help of former UFC heavyweight champ and MMA legend Randy Couture in order to get ready for the fight.

"Cyborg is very strong. That is why I have reached out to Randy Couture to support me," Carano said. "He has been a mentor to me. I need somebody like him to get me mentally and physically ready for the biggest fight of my career. He is a great backboard for me. He is my head trainer and he will be in my corner."

Santos, the wife of Evangelista Santos, expects a close, hard-fought bout.

"I think the one who makes the fewer mistakes will win this fight," Santos said. "I am expecting a war. I have been training a lot since my last fight. I am ready and very excited."

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