On December 30th, at UFC 219, Holly Holm landed 44 significant strikes on Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino according to FightMetric. 75% of those, or 33 significant strikes, were to the head of the Brazilian. However, while we have no doubt that those shots were slightly more venomous, none were any cleaner than the one that Justino’s own coach Jason Parillo landed on her in the backstage area before the fight.
Over the weekend, Justino posted a video to Instagram that shows Parillo giving her a little pep talk ahead of the bout, but mid-clip, out of nowhere, the former professional boxer catches the UFC women’s featherweight champion unawares with a pretty solid slap before having a little chuckle and a celebratory fist-pump.
The brave soul.
‘Cyborg’ herself eventually joins in with the laughter, but in a way that suggests she is only barely resisting the urge to carry out an unspeakable attack that would necessitate a follow-up trip out to some quiet region of the nearby Nevada desert.
Indeed, when she finally decided to provide some much-needed context to the video, ‘Cyborg’ admitted that, in the moment, violence was just a whim away (a whim away, a whim away) but added that this is something Parillo has always done to help get her head in the game.
“It’s a slap that I’m not expecting,” Cyborg told Combate. “He’s talking to me and then, out of nowhere, gives me this slap. But he does it to wake me up, to see if I’m really there. We’ve been working together for a while and he always does it.”
“It’s not something that I like, actually, at the time it makes me want to punch him in the mouth (laughs). It’s something that’s our own, we always do it and it always helps wake me up(Translation via MMAJunkie).”
Perhaps Parillo shouldn’t continue tempting fate with this particular tradition.
Justino was, of course, given the perfect outlet to release her aggression moments later, as she marched out to face Holm in the evening’s main event. In the end, however, she actually entered a very controlled performance, one of the most patient and tactically astute of her career, to outpoint ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ on all three judges scorecards.