Top Five Contenders for Cyborg Santos in 2011

654_lgThe Strikeforce 145 pound title picture opens up wide in 2011.

The biggest complaint that was most often stated about Cyborg Santos is the lack of contenders for her title. As 2010 ran its course, several women stood up to say they would like a shot at the Strikeforce champ. For those not in the know of the contenders to the throne; here are the top five prospects.

1) Amanda Nunes

After making very short work of possible contender Julia Budd on Jan. 7 at Strikefroce Challengers, Nunes has finished all but one fight (her only loss) via knockout. With her win, Nunes has gotten her via extender for two years, so she will be a staple in U.S. MMA for a while. Her management is hoping to get her a few more matches before Cyborg, but she is the current number one contender for the title.

2) Germaine de Randamie

How many people can say they are 45-0 in kickboxing? Randamie can. The “Iron Lady” has a 1-1 record in MMA, but with her striking skills and a solid team at the Combat Sports Academy training her in grappling and jiu-jitsu; expect her to make a big impression in her Strikeforce debut Jan. 29 verses Stephanie Webber.

3) Ronda Rousey

The Olympic bronze medalist in Judo has made a quick impression on MMA, and I do mean quick. Rousey has finished all of her amateur opponents in under a minute (two under thirty seconds) and said she is turning pro this February. She also stated that her goal was to face Cyborg be the end of 2011. With the drive of an Olympic champion, it will be tough to stop the world class grappling of Rousey. She admits that her striking is her weakness, but will be concentrating on that in the matches leading to Cyborg.

4) Hiroko Yamanaka

The top Japanese 145er is 11-1 over all, and is looking forward to Strikeforce’s promise of bringing her to the states this year. After facing most of the heavier competition in Japan, the move would be welcomed. She is well rounded, winning most of her matches with unanimous decision victories.

5) Rin Nakai

Nakai has been recently pushing for a US debut, and for good reason. With four submissions and two knockouts to her credit, it’s hard not to argue that the flamboyant Nakai wouldn’t be an asset to any MMA organization, let alone Strikeforce. Her last match from Sengoku is set to air here in the states on HD Net this Friday.

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