NEW YORK (June 9, 2009)–After an eight month hiatus, mixed martial arts’ (MMA) leading lady, the undefeated and extremely popular Gina “Conviction” Carano (7-0) will compete in the first fight of her multi-fight agreement with STRIKEFORCE and is set to square off with rival powerhouse Cris “Cyborg” (7-1) in what is one of the most eagerly anticipated battles of all time, Saturday, August 15, live on SHOWTIME® at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Carano and Cyborg, the consensus two best female fighters in the world, will be the first women in MMA history to headline a major MMA fight card. In addition, they will fight for the first STRIKEFORCE 145-pound Female Championship.
“I’m really excited to be coming back and to have a new home with Strikeforce,” said the 27-year-old Carano, whose combination of stunning looks and athleticism have cemented her role as the face of women’s MMA. In a Yahoo! online poll that named the “Top 10 Influential Women of 2008,” Carano ranked fifth, placing ahead of First Lady Michelle Obama and famed journalists Katie Couric and Barbara Walters.
“I’ve wanted this fight with Cyborg for a long time and so have the fans so it was important to me that it happen in my first fight back. I’ve been training hard the last few months and come August 15, I will be in the best shape of my life. This fight will absolutely deliver on all the hype.”
The live SHOWTIME telecast of STRIKEFORCE: “Carano vs. Cyborg” will begin at 10:30p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the west coast) and will include up to five bouts.
Tickets for STRIKEFORCE: “Carano vs. Cyborg,” priced from $30, go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. PT at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070) as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000), Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com), and the official STRIKEFORCE website
Carano has soared to superstardom over the last two years while dominating opponents live on CBS and SHOWTIME. She raised her profile further during a stint as “Crush” on NBC’s athletic competition series American Gladiators. Carano is represented by Wasserman Media Group.
The matchup with Cyborg will be the second start of Carano’s career under the STRIKEFORCE banner. On December 8, 2006, she turned the tides on a determined Elaina Maxwell, a protégé of Cung Le, and pulled out a unanimous judges’ decision at STRIKEFORCE: “Triple Threat.”
The media has emphatically shown its appreciation for Carano’s individuality. She has been prominently featured in a number of national magazines including Muscle And Fitness and Maxim. Big Biz Magazine voted her “The Hottest Woman In America” in its Spring 2008 issue and Maxim ranked her number 16 in its Hot 100 list published in May 2009. Carano has also been profiled in the popular ESPN documentary series E:60.
The 23-year-old Cyborg, who hails from Brazil, has established herself as Carano’s top rival by leveraging her superior strength and striking skills to pummel opponents. In her last start, also her Strikeforce debut, Cyborg manhandled Hitomi Akano on April 11, stalking and battering the Japanese fighter before finishing Akano at the 35 second mark of the third round.
Cyborg is a member of Brazil’s famed Chute Boxe fight squad and trains alongside her husband and fellow Strikeforce competitor, Evangelista “Cyborg.”
After co-promoting two events live on SHOWTIME in 2007 and 2008, STRIKEFORCE in
March 2009 signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on the premium cable television network.