Cris "Cyborg" Justino Shows Impressive New Strategy in Rematch With Marloes Coenen

By Rich Bergeron

Cristiane Justino (12-1, 1 NC) destroyed Marloes Coenen (21-6) on Saturday night at Invicta 6 in a rematch of their January, 2010 bout. This time, the match was for the all-female MMA organization’s featherweight title.

Cyborg kept control of the bout through three full rounds of action with a measured pace her fans are not familiar with. Coenen’s only minor victory was taking Justino deeper into a fight than any other previous opponent by surviving until late in the fourth round. It was Justino’s first time going into the fourth round in her career.

Cyborg began the fight with a few punches, inspiring Coenen to turn to grappling to stop the attack. The two changed positions against the fence until the first of what would be multiple takedowns landed by Cyborg. Coenen had no answer for Cyborg’s strategy, only landing weak arm punches on occasion and failing to lock up any submission attempt.

Round after round, Cyborg worked the standup to her advantage, taking Coenen down with suplexes and slams, only to let her right back up again. Finally, she adjusted and rained down some ground and pound punishment later in the fight.

By the third round, Coenen was holding on for dear life in pure defensive mode. Cyborg really began to tee off with outside strikes with around a minute and a half left in the round. Coenen miraculously made it through the barrage to answer the bell for round four.

A final takedown late in the fourth round led to Cyborg gaining full mount and raining down an impressive onslaught of elbows and punches. Coenen just couldn’t keep resisting the attack. Referee John McCarthy put an end to the fight at the 4:02 mark, saving Coenen from a knockout.

Cyborg told Julie Kedzie after the fight that she trained every day and was “very happy” to represent Invicta as their new featherweight champion.

Justino looked much more fine-tuned in this fight, and she displayed a new level of patience. Rather than trying to go out and smash Coenen to secure a quick victory, she seemed intent on proving she could pick her opponent apart and earn a more technical win by fighting smart. She looked more dangerous than ever in that respect, and Invicta will have a tough time finding an opponent who will be able to really test her in the future.

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