When I think about my prediction of Jorina (pronounced Yorina as the J's are pronounced like Y's in Holland) over Cyborg, I didn't even have to mull it over long. In truth, I don't even think I picked an upset. Jorina Baars is way better than Chris Cyborg in Muay Thai and kickboxing. Jorina Baars has beaten far better fighters than Cris Cyborg. Jorina throws solid combinations, lands flush low kicks, moves extremely well, has awesome timing on her teeps and step up knees, and most importantly for someone fighting Cyborg, Jorina is big for the weight class. She is 5'11 and has fought over 150 pounds before. So this means that a clinch and pressure game is tough to do on her, even though Jorina isn't particularly strong in the clinch for a tall fighter. The only thing Cyborg had going for her was aggression. Some thought power would be an obstacle, but Jorina has been hit harder by other fighters, including one that used to be a guy. Not to mention, the gauntlet of training in Holland. Cyborg's only chance was to make the fight ugly, throwing Jorina on the ground and landing wild shots. She was only able to do this in spots, and was beaten throughout the five round fight. Yet I couldn't help but be bothered by the fact that on the strength of her name and history in MMA, people thought that she would be able to just show up and dominate in Muay Thai. This is the lost narrative of a fight that people only see value in discussing the loser, not the winner.
The reason why I think people feel that Cyborg is the story, is because MMA is hot. Cyborg was, and still is considered the biggest threat to Ronda Rousey, the biggest female combat sports star of all time. Yet the main thing people felt she had going for her in that possible bout was her power and aggression. That and an aura of invisibility. They even announced her as "the most dangerous woman on the planet" as she entered the Lion Fight ring. It wasn't just that she lost, but it was the way she lost that made her the story. She walked through the offense of Jan Finney and Gina Carano, both were able to land a few clean before Cris's aggression took over. Yet every time Cyborg hit Jorina clean, Jorina literally shook it off and went right back to work. Adding to this Jorina was able drop Cyborg, scoring four downs in the fight but only being rewarded for two, due to Tony Weeks missing them which is another story (seriously, they were obvious). It all added up to shattering the invincibility of a woman who had a terminator-like aura. Meaning that she wouldn't go into the bout with Ronda as an unstoppable force anymore, but as a force that had been recently stopped in another sport.
This view, though accurate, completely misses what happened in the match making. The idea was that Cyborg was so awesome, she could just show up and beat the best in the world in kickboxing. Understandably, MMA has a history of this. Thanks to K-1, who eliminated clinch, gave yellow cards for stalling, and eliminated 5 rounders, MMA fighters were able to have success against elite kickboxers. They turned a game into a sprint, meaning that early aggression could be enough to score a down, which more times than not is the difference on the final score card. Tatsuya Kawajiri was able to beat Kozo Takada. Alistair Overeem, who though has a heavy stand up background, is predominately an MMA fighter and was able to win the K-1 WGP. I can go further, pro wrestler/MMA fighter Sylvester Terkay lost a split decision to K-1 WGP champ Remy Bonjasky, but those who watched it know that on aggression alone Terkay probably won the first two rounds and at minimum should have gotten an extra round. And lets not even get started with Bob Sapp, who bullied and illegal punched his way into super stardom, beating Ernesto Hoost twice with no fighting background whatsoever. Thanks to these events, people feel that an elite level MMA fighter should be able to have continued success against stand up fighters. Not to mention the fact that good stand up fighters that go into Muay Thai struggle with MMA fighters on the feet, which sells the illusion even more. This is ridiculous. They are two different sports and this was Jorina's sport.
If you go long enough, skill will always win out. Terkay was visibly hurt by the low kicks of Remy, if that fight went five rounds then Remy stops him. Kawajiri was handedly beaten by Masato in his next bout. Alistair Overeem's K-1 run would have been much different if he had to win a regional tournament, European GP, Elimination bout, and then the WGP. Instead he was selected straight into the Elimination tourney by the fans, which we all know is another way of saying by FEG. Kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters are skilled at their game, and just showing up with aggression won't do it for long. Cyborg would have the same trouble in a Muay Thai fight with Amanda Kelly, Germaine De Randamie, and Mariam Nakamoto. I see this win for Jorina like Joe Calzaghe sees his win over Jeff Lacy. It isn't his best win, but its the one that put him on the map to the world. Jorina's victory was as she said, just another fight to her. She wasn't fighting for the honor of Muay Thai and kick boxers, but in a combat world where women want to be on TV too and MMA is the best shot at that. In a world where elite kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters are already announcing MMA fights in hopes of getting exposure in the UFC. This night should belong to Jorina Baars, an awesome fighter who ran out of opponents, but was able to get her biggest win, when most thought she was being lead to the slaughter. Congrats "Jo Jo" someone needed to say something about the winner.