Cris Cyborg set to make UFC debut in May





MANILA, Philippines – Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino will make her highly-anticipated Octagon debut on the undercard of UFC 198 on May 15 (May 14 in US). 

The world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization announced the fight booking on Tuesday, March 29 (PH Time) after Justino campaigned for several weeks to have a spot on the pay-per-view card via social media and in several media outlets.

Widely regarded as one of the top female MMA fighters in the world today, Justino is slated to square off with Leslie Smith in a 140-pound catchweight bout. 

Justino (15-1, 1 NC) has not suffered a loss since her professional MMA debut against Erica Paes in May 2005 and has finished 13 of her 15 wins by way of knockout.

The 30-year-old Brazilian had long been rumored for a super-fight versus former UFC women’s bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey, but the marquee match-up lost its luster after the latter suffered a second-round knockout loss at the hands of Holly Holm in late 2015.

Justino prominently took out another women’s MMA superstar in Gina Carano when both ladies faced each other in a high-profile confrontation under the Strikeforce banner in August 2009. 

In the other corner, Smith (8-6-1) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Japanese sensation Rin Nakai this month. 

The 33-year-old American sports a 2-2 UFC win-loss slate and has fought numerous notable names, including Sarah Kaufman, Jessamyn Duke and Jessica Eye.

UFC 198, which takes place at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil, is headlined by a heavyweight championship clash between reigning division kingpin Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic. –