With all the news this past weekend, one item may have been incidentally flew under the radar, but will be important for the future of the women’s divisions.
The International MMA Federation has formed a Women’s Committee, which held its first meeting on International Women’s Day. The committee of four women will help facilitate and oversee projects to expand women and girls in the sport internationally in the coming years not only in the amateur, but pro ranks as well.
The IMMAF itself has been a catalyst for the expansion of the women’s divisions internationally over the years, with stars like Minna Grusander and Sunna Davidsdottir making their way into the professional end of the sport.
The flyweights are featured this time as InvictaFC hosts their second Phoenix Series Friday night. Set with a field of international talent, the winner has a shot of facing the winner of the Vanessa Porto and Karina Rodriguez for the flyweight title.
A group of young guns are also in line in reserve and non-tournament bouts.
For those new to the series, the tournament consists of one 5 minute round for the quarter and semi-finals, with the finals a full three round fight. Fastest finish time in the quarterfinals receives opponent choice for the semi-finals, plus any finish gets a bonus.
Weigh-ins and draws were held Thursday in Kansas City. All tournament participants made weight. Only Chantel Coates missed the mark on the whole card, and will forfeit 25% of her purse plus is now ineligible to be a injury replacement.
The card starts at 7 p.m. central time and will stream on UFC Fight Pass.
In what will be the first time Bahrain will see a female MMA fights, 53 women athletes from across 22 countries will competing for the IMMAF World Championship. Five champions will be crown in a six day tournament November 11-19.
Two countries will be sending representatives for the first time as Tunisia and the host country Bahrain will have athletes taking part.
The US has one lone representative in bantamweight Fotini Kandris.
Emilce Ortiz def. Anita Cardozo by KO 1:45 round 3 (110)
Monica Quiroga def. Ruth Roa by KO 3:45 of round 2 (115)
Angelica Bordon def. Charline Acosta by TKO 2:30 round 2 (130)
Laura Patino def. Beatriz Acosta by Unanimous Decision (110)
Sally Ortigoza def. Claudina Candia by TKO 4:55 round 1 (135)
Araceli Roja def. Katherin Souludre by submission 2:10 round 1 (120; amateur bout)
At World Series of Fighting in Tokyo, Japan, Japanese fighting legend Hisae Watanabe made a successful return to MMA, defeating Ye Ji Lee by TKO at 3:00 of round 2.
Watanabe (20-6) hadn’t fought MMA in nine years, but she came in like she hasn’t missed a step. The KO specialist racked up her 12th finish by that method and will look to make an impact in the atomweight division.
In the other female bout on the card, Ukraine’s Anna Bezhenar got her second win as a pro, defeating Singapore’s May Ooi by unanimous decision.
In other pro action this past week:
At Dragon House in San Fransico, California Jaimelene Nievera defeated Charlene Gellner by leglock round 2. In an amateur bout, Edna Martinez defeated Maritza Sanchez by split decision
In Fight Night Kotka, Finland Eeva Siiskonen and Irén Rácz fought to a draw
At 100% Fight in France, Maguy Berchel and Maria Casanova fight to a draw
Holly Holm has taken more World MMA Awards than any other fighter.
Holm won four trophies, including Upset, Newcomer, Knockout, and Female Fighter of the Year at the ceremony this past weekend at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
The ceremony will air on Friday on Fox Sports 2.
It is a rematch everyone wants to see, and it will be in the UFC.
Tecia Torres will looks to keep her record undefeated as she takes on Rose Namajunas on April 16 in Tampa, Florida. The match could see the next contender for the strawweight title.
Torres (7-0) is coming off a win over a late replacement in Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger in December. She is officially 3-0 in the UFC.
Namjunas (4-2) has won back to back fights, with her only losses to Torres and Carla Esparza.
The two first squared off at InvictaFC 6 in 2013, with Torres taking the unanimous decision win.
Also announced for the card, Raquel Pennington (6-5) is looking for her second straight win against former title challenger Bethe Correia (9-1).
Both matches will air on Fox Network April 16.
Jessica Aguilar and Juliana Lima have agreed to a fight. Rumor is UFC 198 in Brazil May 14.
Aguilar (19-5) was on an 11 fight win streak before losing her UFC debut to Claudia Gadelha. Lima (8-2) is coming off back to back wins.
The Ultimate Fighter 23 has started shooting this past week, with “Get in the House” matches. The cast has yet to be announced, but won’t surprise us if they are revealed during UFC 196 fight week.
Multiple WMMA Press Award winner Angela Lee will be back in action February 20th as she takes on Rebecca Heintzman at One Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Lee (4-0) has submitted all of her pro opponents with her first three in the first round. She won the “Submission of the Year” with a twister over Natalie Gonzales-Hills.
Heintzman (2-1) was undefeated as an amateur and is coming off a decision loss to Katlyn Chookagian.
Both fighters have signed multi-fight deals with the promotion.
UFC Tonight announced Wednesday that Justine Kish will make her long awaited UFC debut against Nina Ansaroff January 2nd in Las Vegas at UFC 195.
Kish (4-0) was a part of TUF 20, but didn’t fight because of a knee injury. She has a notable win over top contender Randa Markos. This will be her debut at strawweight.
Ansaroff (6-4) is coming off a decision loss to Juliana Lima, after winning five straight.
The match will air on the preliminary matches on Fox Sports 1.
After being passed up for a title shot, Miesha Tate says she doesn’t know what is next for her.
Tate was on “The MMA Hour” this past Monday to comment about her situation. Tate hasn’t been in touch with the UFC directly since the announcement or Ronda Rousey taking on Holly Holm, having her management handling communications. She stated she refused the fight with Amanda Nunes not because of Nunes, but because it would be a Fight Pass card, which would mean less money. Tate’s opinion is she is undervalued for facing tougher opponents. Nunes would be a great match for her according to Tate.
Tate’s other point was there is no clear path for her to get another title shot. After being promised the title shot after her win against Jessica Eye and having that taken away, she is weary of if she wants to continue fighting; stating a move onto the Fox analyst desk or into movies as an option out of fighting.
Tate and UFC President Dana White will discuss Tate’s future in the next few weeks in Vegas.
Bellator adds another female match for their 146th card in Thackerville, OK, on November 20.
Arlene Blencowe will look to rebound after her loss to Marloes Conene taking on Gabrielle Halloway, who is coming off a loss to Julia Budd.
Blencowe (6-5) won four straight before her loss to Coenen and is a world boxing champion. Halloway has a notable win over Andria Wawro and will fight for the fourth time this year.
The match joins Julia Budd versus Roberta Rovel on the card, which will stream on the prelims on Spike.com.
OneFC announces three female bouts for their upcoming cards.
Coming off her KO win over Ann Osman, Irina Mazepa (1-0) will take on boxing world champion Ana Julaton (2-1) at OneFC: Spirit of Champions in Manila, Philippines December 11th.
The OneFC card in Phnom Penh, Cambodia December 5th has a pair of atomweight bouts: Tharoth Sam (2-1) takes on Jeet Toshi (2-2), while Vy Srey Chai (0-1) battles Eh Ya Nut (pro debut).
Shootboxing champion Rena Kubota will make her official transition to MMA on New Years Eve Rizin card. Kubota will face Italian kickboxer Jleana Valentino.
Kubota is a four time shootbox champion and is now training at AACC in Tokyo with InvictaFC champion Ayaka Hamasaki. Valentino has won several regional titles in kickboxing and looks to continue what has been a wave of Italian talent making moves on the world MMA stage.
The match joins Gabrielle Garcia facing a yet to be named opponent. TNA Wrestling star Lei’D Tapa, who is training at American Top Team at present, is being considered for the fight.
World amateur wrestling champion Kanako Murata is also being consider for the card to make her MMA debut.
Part of the Rizin card will air New Years Eve on Spike TV in the U.S.
Speaking of making the transition to MMA, Mackenzie Dern has been training at the MMA Lab in Phoenix, Arizona with RFA champ Jocelyn Lybarger and UFC fighter Lauren Murphy to get ready for her first fight in the cage. No word on when that will be.
InvictaFC star Sharon Jacobson is going to try to qualify for the 2016 US Olympic wrestling team. The qualifying trials are in December with the team trials being in April. Randi Miller has also expressed interest in trying for the team again as well.
Immortal FC has announced two matches for their “Road to Invicta” strawweight tournament.
Caroline Silva vs. Adriana del Vigna
Morgana Silva vs Nicolle Caliari
The matches will happen in Paranagua, Parana, Brazil November 11th. Winner of the tournament will get a contract with Invicta.
A few more matches announced this past week:
Leah Nidas looks for her first pro win as she takes on Shaena Cox November 14th at Pure FC in Wisconsin.
Andy Nguyen looks for her second win and first pro title as she takes on Melissa Karagahnagis for the CUFF atomweight title in Trinidad.
At Cage 31 in Helsinki, Finland Lucie Pudilova defeated Suvi Salmimies by split decision.
Also in Finland Kate Jackson defeated Linn Wennergren by split decision at Fight Night Kuopio 13 in Kuopio
In pro MMA action Friday, at XFN 25 in Tulsa, Okalahoma, Jaymee Jones defeated Ronni Lawrence by unanimous decision.
Paige VanZant has her next challenge, and it is against her toughest test to date.
VanZant will take on Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night 80 in Las Vegas December 10th. The fight will be the main event.
VanZant (6-1) has been on a roll since entering the UFC, having won three straight in the promotion. Her only loss came to Tecia Torres, and has yet to be finished.
She will face fellow InvictaFC alum Calderwood (10-1) who is coming off a win over Cortney Casey. Calderwood went undefeated until her loss to Maryna Moroz earlier this year.
Another match on the card sees a returning Emily Peters-Kagan taking on Kailin Curran who are both looking for their first UFC win.
The event will stream on UFC Fight Pass.
As the new USADA random drug testing has started for the fighters in the UFC, Claudia Gadhela got tested this past week. The results are yet to be released.
Former UFC champ Calra Esparza stated on social media she had to fill out a schedule for the USADA just in case they wanted to test her.
Charmaine Tweet has a new opponent for her upcoming homecoming match, and it is a familiar face.
Anna Barone will look to avenge her last loss to Tweet in what will be the end of a trilogy at PrestigeFC in Weyburn, Canada October 24th. They will fight at 155 pounds.
Tweet (6-5) lost her second pro fight to Barone (2-4) by KO in 18 seconds in 2011. Tweet would get her revenge three years latter with a first rounf rear naked choke.
Also on the card, Bobbi Jo Dalziel takes on Christina Barry in a 150 catchweight bout.
The card will stream and will have more details as they become available.
Coming off her first pro loss, strawweight prospect Danielle Taylor will take on Calie Cutler has been announced for KOTC in Las Vegas October 17th.
Taylor (5-1) was the KOTC 115 champ before being defeated this August to Jamie Colleen. Cutler’s only loss was to Kaline Mederios and has yet to be finished as a pro.
The match will eventually on Mav TV.
IMMAF 2015 flyweight champ Micol Di Segni will make her pro debut against Danella Eliasov October 4th at EFC in Joahnnesburg, South Africa. The Italian standout Segni is helping to head a movement to again acceptance for female fighting in her home country. Eliasov won her pro debut this past February.
Alexandra Buch will face Katharina Lehner at GMC 7 on November 7th in Castrop-Rauxel, Germany. They will fight at at catchweight for 138. Buch (8-4) is on a two fight losing streak while Lehner (3-0) is undefeated at featherweight. Lehner will face Judith Ruis October 24th in Germany before her match with Buch.
Suriname will see three female MMA bouts on Halloween.
Torarica Summer Fights announced an event this week which will see the MMA debut of world kickboxing champion Denise Kielholtz. Her opponet is to be announced. Also on the card, Natasha Ribeiro De Souza and Chavella Lee will have separate fights and in amateur action, Sandy Shara takes on Wendy Santos.
Brazil’s upcoming all female promotion AFC Athenas has signed WSOF and XFC vet Kalindra Faria. The promotion is looking to debut in January 2016.
Southern Asia will see some bouts this coming weekend:
Super Fight League will return home to India with top Indian female fighter Daizy Singh taking on Lalvenhimi. This will stream on the SFL youtube channel Saturday morning September 18th.
On Sunday September 19th, Angela Lee will return to the OneFC cage taking on Russia’s Elena Pashnina. The card will stream on the OneFC website for $10.
Keri Ann Melendez announced will make her Bellator debut in late spring.
Coming off a busy February, all the Women’s Unified Pro MMA Rankings saw changes coming off the InvictaFC 12 card , the opening round of the DEEP-JEWELS 106 tournament, and all the UFC events.
With the return of Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the InvictaFC champion regains her #1 status at featherweight after her TKO win over Charmaine Tweet. Marloes Coenen (now 2), Julia Budd (now 3), and Faith Van Duin (now 4) all drop a spot. Talita Nogueira drops off the list due to activity.
Tweet drops from 7 to 10 in the rankings due to her loss, rotating Amanda Bell (now 7), Gabrielle Holloway (now 8) and Megan Anderson (now 9) up a spot.
With her loss to champion Ronda Rousey, Cat Zingano drops from #2 to #3, trading spots with Miesha Tate in the only change in the 135 top ten.
With Deanna Bennett’s successful drop to 115, she drops out of the 125 rankings. All of the fighters from 4-8 in the flyweight rankings last month move up a spot. Roxanne Modafferi moves from 10 to 8, with Jin Tang (9) and Silvana Gomez (10) debuting on the list.
With her win over Mizuki Inoue, Alexa Grasso has debuted in the top ten at strawweight, taking the #8 spot. Tecia Torres (now #9) and Kalindra Faria (now #10) drop a spot.
At 105, Mina Kurobe enters the list at #9 after her win over Emi Tomimatsu at the DEEP-JEWELS tournament. Cassie Rodish drops off the list with Saori Ishioka dropping a spot to #10.
In action Monday at RXF 16 in Brașov, Romania, Delia Georgescu defeated Maia Buzas by TKO round 1.
On Thursday in Tokyo, Japan, Momo Koseki successfully defended her WBC atomweight title wiht a KO over Aisah Alico in round 2.
With fight week vastly approaching, Invicta and the UFC have announced some events before the two cards commence in L.A.
The first is an open workout at the UFC Gym/Sunergy in Terrance, CA Wednesday.
11 a.m.: Charmaine Tweet workout
11:15 a.m.: Alexa Grasso workout
11:30 a.m.: Irene Aldana workout
11:45 a.m.: “Cyborg” Justino workout
1 p.m.: Cat Zingano workout
1:30 p.m.: Raquel Pennington workout
2 p.m: Holly Holm workout
2:30 p.m.: Ronda Rousey workout
If you noticed, Justino and Rousey won’t be there at the same time. It is expected Justino will be cageside for the Rousey versus Zigano title fight Saturday. Shannon Knapp states the Justino and Rousey superfight is closer than everyone thinks.
The other UFC fight week event announced is at 11 a.m. pst Saturday at L.A. Live. The UFC will hold a press conference and fan event for the participants for the next seven events. Expected to be in attendance is Felice Herrig and Jessica Eye.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has suspended Ashlee Evans-Smith for testing positive from the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide after her fight with Raquel Pennington. Smith was fined 30% of her purse and her license is suspended for nine months retroactive from the fight. This means she will be able to return to fighting August 6th if she tests clean before she is re-licensed.
Congratulations to Society Nine on reaching their kickstarer goal. We have been helping to campaign for the company which is going to revolutionize women’s MMA gear. There is still four days left if you want to contribute and get yourself some of their great stuff including a pair of those revolutionary gloves. Go here.
Congrats to amateur MMA fighter Jackie Abshire, who is the current Steve Austin’s “Broken Skull” Challenge champ. She defeated the “Skull Buster” obstacle course record by three and a half minutes. She won $10,000 and will continue to win $10,000 every episode her time in the extreme obstacle course isn’t broken.
Next weekend, Finland’s Suvi Salmimies has a new opponent. Karla Benitez will step in to take on the hometown fighter at Cage 29 in Helsinki. Salmimies (2-0-1) will find her biggest challenged in the more experienced Spain’s Benitez (10-7-1). Benitez is coming off back to back losses,
Invicta fighter Cassie Crissano is asking for your help.
The featherweight is in a custody battle for her youngest son. You can read more and help her get a good lawyer by going here.
Fights this Weekend
Jorina Baars returns to Lion Fight to defend her Muay Thai title against Chantal Ughi. This is a rematch of their 2009 battle (video here).This will air on AXS TV.
In the only world boxing title match this weekend, Victoria Argueta defends her IBF World minimumweight title against Nancy Franco in Hidalgo, Mexico.
The DEEP-Jewels 106 title tournament starts this weekend in Tokyo, Japan. The opening round matches are as follows:
Mei Yamaguchi vs. Miyoko Kusaka (105)
Emi Tomimatsu vs. Mina Kurobe (105)
Satomi Takano vs. Masako Yoshida (105)
Tomo Maesawa vs. Yukiko Seki (105)
Besides the quarterfinal matches, Emi Fujino teams up with Sachiko Fujimori to face off against Ayaka Hamasaki and Yuko Oya in a tag team 10 minute grappling match.
In a rare Sunday UFC event in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Jessica Andrade will face Marion Reneau. The fight will air on Fox Sports 1.
InvictaFC star Karolina Kowalkiewicz will fight Kalindra Faria in Poland. The match was set to be a title bout for the KSW strawweight title, but Faria missed weight by 2.2 pounds. The match will now be a three round non-title affair.
In other pro MMA bouts this weekend:
Big John’s: Ogichida Spirit – Saulte Ste Marie, MI
As I explained in my open letter, I am looking to change Wombat Sports to what it was initially meant to be. I can’t do this on my own, and that;s where you come in.
We are looking for contributors to help with writing articles and covering certain combat sports. You would also get to interview talented athletes in those sports.
The main contributors we are looking for is in women’s boxing, Muay Thai, freestyle wrestling, and BJJ. (We already have some people interested in covering the WMMA portion of the site). The cool things is I have the tools to gain news and info for these sports, just not the time to write it up. You can “learn on the job” if you aren’t an expert on these topics; but being curious is the key thing.
Due to the time it takes to put together a MRS column, we have decide to split it into a few new reports. The first is the “Wombat Watercooler” which will be the places for rumors and miscellaneous newsworthy bites we find out during the week.
We are all waiting for a date for InvictaFC 11, which is looking like March. Last we heard, the promotion was “finalizing” the card.
As we mentioned in earlier articles, it is expect that Cyborg Justino will defend her featherweight title on the card, and Ayaka Hamasaki is rumored to fight at the event as well.
Speaking of Cyborg, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta has stated his company is back in talks to bring her to the octagon.
Bethe Correia has answered Sarah Kaufman and the two verbally agreed to fight. They are awaiting approval by UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and then a date and place.
XFC released a statement “firing” several of its fighters.
The most notable is flyweight champion Pearl Gonzalez. The promotion stated they offered her several matches to defend her title in Brazil but she had refused. Gonzalez’s camp hasn’t made an official statement, but they seem happy to be out of the contract with the promotion.
Same can be said of Cortney Casey, who’s management stated she was “being held hostage” under the contract. Casey had fought for PXC since her last XFC match.
Other fighters let go were Andrea Lee, Stephanie Skinner, Angelica Chavez, and Andy Nguyen, all who have fought and/or signed with different promotions since the XFC was restructured and moved operations to Brazil.
Paige VanZant has been doing the media rounds to promote her fight. She did Good Day New York this last week (watch here) and the MMA Hour Tuesday (watch here).
Zoila Frausto will be dropping to 115 once again and is campaigning to be signed to the UFC. The Bellator strawweight tournament winner has notable wins over Megumi Fujii and Jessica Aguilar.
Marina Shafir will be attending a Bellator card soon and is expected to meet up with CEO Scott Coker for a possible fight deal.
Kickboxing world champion Denise Kielholtz stated she is preparing to crossover to MMA. The Enfusion World Champion will be training with Bellator’s Marloes Coenen to make her in cage debut sometime this year. She will most likely fight at flyweight.
BJJ standout Gabi Garcia finally has a date for her MMA debut. March 28 at Jungle Fight in São Paulo, Brazil the mutli-time world BJJ champion will face a yet-to-be-named opponent. It is expected she will fight at 185 pounds.
Suvi Salmimies will be fighting at CAGE 29 in Helsinki, Finland Feb. 28. Opponent to be announced.