For the first time since June of last year, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (10-1) is slated to return in the cage. After re-signing with Strikeforce in late August, the women's featherweight champion plans to defend her belt against Hiroko Yamanaka (12-1) at an as-of-yet unannounced Strikeforce show on December 17th. Promotion officials announced the matchup during the live broadcast of Strikeforce Challengers 19.
Considered by many to be the top pound-for-pound women's fighter in the world, Santos has won 10 consecutive fights, including four straight by brutal knockout. The 26-year-old holds notable victories over Jan Finney, Marloes Coenen, Hitomi Akano, and Gina Carano -- the latter of which held the Strikeforce-Showtime ratings record for two years with 576,000 viewers, and marked the first all-female main event for a nationally televised mixed martial arts show within the United States. Following her win over Finney, Santos' contract status with the promotion was caught in limbo for an extended period before terms could be reached.
She now faces Yamanaka, a fighter considered by many to be the number-two ranked women's featherweight in the world. The Jewels and Smackgirl standout has compiled an eight-fight win streak stretching back to late-2008, and is the former Smackgirl open weight champion. She last fought in July, where she defeated Mongolian professional wrestler Esui via second round armbar at the age of 32.