Not only will Cris “Cyborg” Justino not be making her debut at a catchweight of 140 pounds next time out, but the reigning Invicta FC featherweight champion will also not be fighting Cindy Dandois, as originally announced last month.
Undefeated for over a decade, “Cyborg” will now defend her 145-pound title at Invicta FC 15 in Costa Mesa, California on Jan. 16 against promotional-newcomer Daria Ibragimova, the promotion announced Monday. The all-women’s MMA company signed the Russian grappler in June after going unbeaten in her last seven bouts — including six submission wins and one TKO victory.
Justino was long expected to finally begin her journey down to 135 pounds in an attempt to lure former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey into a highly anticipated bout. Plans unraveled, however, once Rousey lost her first professional bout in November against Holly Holm at UFC 193. With the prospect of a blockbuster fight against Rousey no longer viable, Justino decided to stick around 145 and defend her title, Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said recently.
A dangerous striker, Justino has defeated all but one of her opponents by KO or TKO since 2009.
Co-headlining the card is a strawweight title fight, as newly crowned champion Livia Renata Souza steps in to defend her 115-pound title against DeAnna Bennett.
Souza is undefeated through eight professional bouts. The Sao Paulo native unseated former champion Katja Kankaanpaa via fourth-round submission in April.
Bennett carries an undefeated record of her own, going 8-0 since starting her pro career in 2012. She last fought at Invicta FC 14 in September, beating the former champion in a close-fought unanimous decision in Kansas City, Missouri.