In preparation for her UFC 219 title defense against former UFC bantamweight champ Holly Holm, UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg has been working on her hands with pro boxing legend Cecilia Braekhus.
Braekhus, who boasts a 32-0 pro record, and is widely considered the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in women’s boxing, has been very complimentary of Cyborg following their training sessions together. Having worked with Cyborg, she now feels that Holm could be in for some big surprises when the cage door closes.
Though Cyborg is believed to have a clear strength and power advantage over Holm, Braekhus also believes Cyborg will be able to hang with Holm in the speed department.
“I was a little bit surprised by how fast she was,” Braekhus said in a video shared to Cyborg’s YouTube channel. “That took me quite by surprise. I know [speed] is a huge advantage for Holly Holm… but this could actually be a little bit more even, and I think Holly Holm will get a surprise there.”
Cris Cyborg won the UFC women’s featherweight title this summer, when she clobbered Tonya Evinger to a TKO win at UFC 214. Prior to this title win, the Brazilian juggernaut went 2-0 in 140-pound catchweight bouts in the Octagon, mauling Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg to decisive stoppages.
Cyborg, who previously wore gold in Invicta FC and Strikeforce, has not lost since first pro bout, which occurred all the way back in 2005. Since then, she’s embarked on a 19-fight unbeaten streak, bludgeoning names like Charmaine Tweet, Marloes Coenen (twice), Jan Finney, Shayna Baszler, and of course, the aforementioned Smith, Lansberg, and Evinger.
Holm, meanwhile, is riding high off a violent, head-kick knockout of former women’s bantamweight champ Bethe Correia. This win was preceded by a controversial decision loss to inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie.
Who do you think wins UFC 219’s Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm featherweight title fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/12/2017.