UFC 240 Mixed Martial Arts

Cris Cyborg, right, getting hit by Englewood’s Felicia Spencer during a mixed martial arts bout July 27 at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta. Cyborg won the match.

Our hometown hero took one to the chin.

She stood tall against one of the better fighters of the last decade and withstood punch after punch, each time recoiling and attacking.

Englewood's Felicia Spencer lost her UFC 240 fight against Cris Cyborg 30-27 on Saturday, her second career fight with the promotion.

Cyborg came in with a 20-2 record and was hungry to shake off a tough knockout. She was by far the most physical opponent Spencer had faced, but Spencer handled it well.

Even in the loss, I think the MMA community learned something: Felicia Spencer is the future of the division.

The 28-year-old fighter admits she doesn't look like the typical fighter, and her kind personality contrasts her inner animal in the octagon. But she made a dominant fighter look beatable and proved a formidable a fighter.

More importantly, Spencer showed she isn't going anywhere in the featherweight division.

The fight started similar to most, an aggressive, attacking Spencer shaking off all intimidation of her opponent. She connected on multiple strikes and gashed Cyborg's forehead with an early elbow in the first round.

Cyborg was crisp and efficient, landing countless strikes to the head and body of Spencer.

Most didn't seem to phase Spencer, who continuously tried to get Cyborg to the ground where she could use her weight and strength against her.

But where she found success in past fights, utilizing her elite grappling skills and forcing a submission, she was unable to exploit Cyborg, who was coming off a first-round knockout at the hands of Amanda Nunes.

Felicia looked like she was wearing down Cyborg, who cut from 180 to make the 145-pound weight. If things would've gone to the ground, maybe it would've ended differently. But it didn't and Cyborg was able to ride her striking ability to victory.

Spencer withstood 59 strikes to the head, 43 to the body and 20 to the legs in three, five-minute rounds, but controlled for 1:46 more than her opponent.

Even in the final seconds of the final round — faces bloodied and fatigue setting in — Spencer kept lunging and kept swinging.

It stings, for her and all who support her in our area.

This fight was what she had been grinding toward for years and had the ability to thrust her into title consideration.

It was her biggest test yet and her fiercest battle. A battle that lived up to it's billing — a dominant vet looking to reclaim her spot atop the division and a steel-chinned warrior still battling for the respect she ultimately deserves.

It's Spencer's first professional loss and how she responds will determine her future in the UFC.

Will she be the same fighter? Will she come out of it stronger?

I'd bet on it.

Email Jacob Hoag at jacob.hoag@yoursun.com and follow him on Twitter @ByJacobHoag.

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