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|For the second time in three years, Marloes Coenen, left, couldn't handle Cris Justino's power.|
Justino (12-1) became the first-ever 145-pound champion of Invicta Fighting Championships on Saturday, defeating Marloes Coenen via TKO in the fourth round of their title bout at Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Mo.
It was Justino's second victory since serving a one-year suspension that was handed down by the California State Athletic Commission for a failed test in December 2011.
"I'm very happy," Justino said. "The champ has come back."
The Brazilian was perhaps even more dominant over Coenen (21-6) than she was in their first meeting -- a third-round TKO victory in January 2010.
Coenen, who said she was surprised by Justino's punching power in that fight, spoke of a renewed strength and conditioning program that would be the difference in the rematch.
It was Justino, though, who held a clear physical advantage once again on Saturday. She repeatedly threw Coenen to the ground whenever the two tied up, only to force her back to her feet so the routine could repeat itself.
A monster straight right midway through the fourth round dropped an already-fading Coenen. Justino capitalized on it, jumping into full mount and dropping elbows and short punches until referee John McCarthy waved it off at the 4:02 mark.
Afterward, Justino spoke of her relationship with the Invicta promotion, which made its debut on cable and satellite pay-per-view.
"I train every day," Justino said. "I don't train for two months before a fight. I train every day, hard. I'm very excited to fight in Invicta. I told you before that I want to grow with Invicta. People see Invicta and they see me."
Justino was nothing if not dominant in her second Invicta performance. She took Coenen down easily in the opening frame and seemed to hurt her with punches in the second round after defending a single leg attempt.
By the third, Coenen was slow to get her to feet following Justino throws and started to look desperately to her corner for help. Late in the round, Justino crippled her with a flurry of body shots and strong knees from the Thai clinch.
It improves Justino's official record in title fights to 4-0. She won the inaugural Strikeforce featherweight title in 2009 and then defended it twice. A third defense, a first-round TKO over Hiroko Yamanaka in 2010, was changed to a no-contest.