Saturday, the WMMA Press Association announced it’s pick for the 2014 Promotion of the Year.
The UFC held 31 female pro bouts this year, the most by any organization. This doesn’t include the Ultimate Fighter 20 pre-tapes matches from this summer. With their expansion of their bantamweight division and addition of the starwweights, the UFC has gained ground in the women’s divisions and looks to continue the momentum in 2015.
The crowning of Carla Esparza as the first ever UFC strawweight champion took the “Headline of the Year” honors.
Congratulations to the UFC for the WMMA Press Awards 2014 Promotion of the Year.
The UFC announced two strawweight matches Wednesday.
Carla Esparza and Joanna Jedrzejczyk have a date and location for their title match. The champion will defend her belt for the first time against the undefeated Polish fighter at UFC 185 March 14th in Dallas, TX. Esparza (10-2) won the initial 115 title in the TUF 20 finale with a rear naked choke over Rose Namajunas and is on a five fight win streak.
Jedrzejczyk (8-0) took Cláudia Gadelhato a split decision to earn the title shot. She made her UFC debut with a decision win over Juliana Lima.
The ,match will serve as the co-main event and will be on pay-per-view,
A month later, Paige VanZant and Felice Herrig will throw down at UFC on Fox 15 April 18 in Newerk, NJ.
VanZant (4-1) had a “Fight of rhe Night” performance in her UFC debut, defeating Kalin Curran by TKO in the thrid round this past November. Her lone loss was to Tecia Torres and has yet to be finished.
It will be a step up in competition with the more experienced Herrig (10-5) who defeated Lisa Ellis in her UFC debut. She had won four straight before losing to Tecia Torres at Invicta in 2013.
No word on if the match will be televised on the prelims or main card.
With the new year comes new champions and new shake-ups in the rankings.
With the Ultimate Fighter 20 over and Invicta having it’s last card for the year, several fighters climbed their way into the top 10.
Herica Tiburcio debuts in the atomweight top 10 taking the #1 spot after her win over Michelle Waterson. With the loss, Waterson drops to #3 and Ayaka Hamasaki takes the #2 spot. With her strawweight debut in the UFC, Seo hee Ham drops out of the rankings.
Becoming the first ever UFC champion, Carla Esparza takes the #2 spot this month, behind the #1 ranked World Series of Fighting champion Jessica Aguilar. Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes the #3 spot with her win over Claudia Gadelha, in turn Gadelha drops two spots to #4.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (#7), Tecia Torres (#8), and Kalindra Faria (#9) all drop a spot.
In the flyweight division, DeAnna Bennett moves up a spot to #3, changing spots with the fighter she defeated, Jennifer Maia (#4). With her inactivity in the division, Zoila Frausto drops off the list and #7-10 from December’s list move up a spot. Roxanne Modafferi debuts in the flyweight top ten.
Only change at bantamweight sees Tonya Evinger re-enter the top 10 at #10.
Featherweight also saw one change as Megan Anderson enters at #10.
The former InvictaFC champion proved once again why she is meant to wear the gold.
Carla Esparza defeated Rose Namajunas to win the first ever UFC strawweight title at the Ultimate Fighter 20 finale in Las Vegas Friday.
Esparza (10-2) used her wrestling to control Namajunas on the ground and neutralized her BJJ. Esparza would get the back and sink in the rear naked choke at 1:26 in round 3. The win not only came with the belt and the title of “Ultimate Fighter 20 winner”, she also got “Performance of the Night” for the event.
Esparza’s only losses come by the retired Megumi Fujii and the current #1 Unified ranked Jessica Aguilar. It is expected the winner of Saturday’s fight between Claudia Gadelha and Joanna Jędrzejczyk will face Esparza in her first title defense.
The main card opener saw TUF 20 semi-finalists Jessica Penne and Randa Markos battle in what won “Fight of the Night”. Markos’s striking proved somewhat effective, but it was Penne’s ground game that proved the edge in what was a split decision.
In the other six fights:
Felice Herrig showed a skilled ground game against wrestler Lisa Ellis to get the armbar at 3:05 of round 2.
Heather Clark pressed the action and landed some nice boxing combinations in her unanimous decision win over Bec Rawlings.
Joanne Calderwood went to war against Korea’s Seo Hee Ham. Both had crisp striking and Muay Thai, but Calderwood’s length and height overwhelmed the former DEEP-JEWELS champion to give the Scotswoman the unanimous decision
Tecia Torres put on a striking clinic on Angela Magana to get the overwhelming unanimous decision win.
Aisling Daly proved her ground dominance once again as she got the armbar over Alex Chambers at 4:53 of round 1
On the night’s opener, Angela Hill used her vast Muay Thai experience and her new wrestling defense to take a unanimous decision over Emily Kagan.
In what was an eventful and drama filled season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, we are set to crown the first ever UFC strawweight champion.
Former InvictaFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and InvictaFC star Rose Namajunas will square off for the initial title Friday on the TUF 20 Finale live from Las Vegas on Fox Sports 1.
Esparza (9-2) looked impressive in her semi-final bout with former InvictaFC atomweight champion Jessica Penne. Esparza’s volume striking and takedowns were key in the three round battle, which saw Penne stand in the pocket and chase Esparza. All three judges gave Esparza 30-27 on the score cards.
Esparza’s road to the finals included a rear naked choke over Angela Hill, a majority decision win over Tecia Torres, and the unanimous decision over Penne.
Namajunas (2-1) got her second kimura win in the tournament to guarantee her spot in the finals. Namajunas defeated Randa Markos in the second semi-final using her BJJ skills from bottom to transition to a kimura to get the tap in round 1.
Namajunas’s road to the finals saw her submit all of her opponents, including a rear naked choke over Alex Chambers and a kimura over Joanne Calderwood.
Semi-finalists Jessica Penne and Randa Markos will square off as well on the TUF 20 Finale and will kick off the main card.
They also announced the match order of the rest of the fights Friday, with all but two of them airing on Fox Sports 1.
Here is the schedule for Friday
Fox Sports 1 Main Card (9 p.m. est/6 p.m. pst)
Main event – Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas – initial strawweight title
In pro MMA at PeruFC, Mariana Moraes defeated Cristina Mejía by unanimous decision
In boxing in New York, New York, Heather Hardy defeated Elizabeth Anderson by unanimous decision.
In action Thursday at Circuito Team Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Juliana Velasquez defeats Priscila de Souza by unanimous decision in a pro MMA bout. In amateur action, Karoline Martins defeated Nicole Ball by knockout.
At OneFC Friday morning, Ana Julaton defeated Walaa Abas by unanimous decision and Jujeath Nagaowa defeated Tharoth Sam by TKO round 2.
Cyborg Justino has given up on going to 135 for now.
The InvictaFC featherweight stated to MMA Fighting her injury has delayed the cut and she is questioning if she can even make 135.
The plan is for Justino to defend her 145 title at InvictaFC’s 11th event in February. We are expecting an announcement Friday night during InvictaFC 10 on the location and opponent.
On Wednesday’s episode of TUF 20, two fighters advanced to set the semi-finals.
Former InvictaFC champion Carla Esparza defeated Tecia Torres in a grudge match. Esparza’s wrestling is what gave her the edge in the majority decision win. Esparza will face another former InvictaFC champion in Jessica Penne in the semi-finals.
The other semi-final saw Rose Namajunas submit Joanne Calderwood by kimura. Namajunas used her bjj skills to attack Calderwood. Calderwood tried to make up ground with strikes in round two, but Namajunas was able to get the kimura on the ground to get tap. This was the first time Calderwood was submitted in an MMA competition. Namajunas will face Randa Markos in the semi-finals.
V3 has announce an amateur bantamweight title match in Memphis for January 24 pitting two top amateur prospects.
We have us a challenger for the undisputed V3 female champ, Amberlynn Orr (8-1) will take on Alyssa Vasquez (6-4).
It will most likely be streamed and we will have more info closer to the event.
Gina Carano made a visit to the CSA gym in Dublin, CA this past week. CSA is home gym to Alexis Davis, Zoila Gurgel, and Miriam Nakamoto among others. She was just visiting there and not there to train, at least no seriously.
On the podcast Sunday at 1 p.m. pst/4 p.m. est, we will talk to InvictaFC’s Marion Reneau, who was supposed to be fighting Friday night. We will review the action from the card, and her aspirations in the promotion.
On Saturday, undefeated Ashlee Evans-Smith will make her UFC debut taking on Raquel Pennington in Las Vegas. Both Smith (135.5) and Pennington (136) made weight.
Smith (3-0) won the CSA featherweight tournament last year and soon signed to the World Series of Fighting. She got the TKO over Marciea Allen in June and was waiting for another fight. She was released from the WSOF just as the UFC offer came around.
TUF 18 vet Pennington (4-4) is coming off a close loss to Jessica Andrade this past March. Pennington won her official UFC debut with a decision over Roxanne Modafferi.
The fight will kick off the UFC televised prelims on Fox Sports 1.
MMA Super Heroes will close its year with two female bouts.
Tournament champion Renata Baldan is lookig to recover from her first loss as she takes on Luciana Treze. Also, Karina Santana de Oliveira takes on Mariana Leonardo in a flyweight bout.
In other pro bouts:
At Roshambo in Australia, Megan Anderson takes on Zoie Shreiweis
Ariel Beck faces Angela Hayes at Fightforce on Butte, MT
At Maringá Combat in Maringa, Parana, Brazil, Hevellyn Moura battles Hilana Rezende
Jessica Zomchik fights Stacey Sigala at Gladiators of the Cage in Pittsburgh, PA. In amateur action, Jena Baldwin takes on Jamie Driver and Melissa Gasdick faces Sarah Click
In amateur MMA:
At Conflict MMA in Hardeeville, SC, Jenna Fox faces Annie DeCresente
At SGB in Ireland, Jaye Hayes battles Sinead Kavanagh
In a pair of bouts at British Challenge MMA in Colchester, Essex, England, Jaye Haynes fights Sinead Kavanagh and Wendy McKenna faces Ameesha Bhudia (125)
At Cowboy Extreme Fighting in San Antonio, Texas, Dominique Gallegher-Gonzales takes on Stephanie Builderback and Laurie Ashby battles Brandi Narvaez (115)
In a pair of bouts at Rumble at the Roseland in Portland, OR, Chun Yang fights Hailea Brooks and Kalyn Schwartz takes on Lisa Spangler
Yumi Matsumoto faces Danielle Alfapada at King of the Cage in Las Vegas, Nevada
At Matrix Fights in Philadelphia, PA, Serena DeJesus battles Amanda Kramny
Victoria Franco fights Makana Clemons at Kingdom 3 in Houston, TX
Undefeated Nicole Wesner will look for her first world titles as she takes on Gina Chamie for the vacant WIBF and vacant WBF lightweight title in Vienna, Austria.
Wesbner (8-0) has only started as a pro two years ago, but has stayed active on her run to a title match. Chamie is the former WBC Youth lightweight title holder.
WBC World flyweight champion Shindo Go will look to defend her title for the third time as she takes on Arely Mucino in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico.
Go (14-2) is on a four fight win streak and has 9 KOs to her credit. She has yet to be stopped. Mucino (20-2) if the former interim WBA and IBF World flyweight champion .
In Sonora, Mexico, Jackie Nava will defend her WBC and WBA super bantamweight title against Sayda Mosquera.
Nava (30-4) won her past seven fights, gaining the belts along the way. Undefeated Sayda Mosquera (7-0) is the current WBC Latino female bantamweight champion
In Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Sonya Lamonakis and Carlette Ewell will fight in a rematch for the vacant IBO World heavyweight title. The two faced each other in 2012 and fought to a draw.
Lamonakis (9-1-2) is coming off back to back wins and is the current New York State heavyweight title. Ewell (15-7-1) is returning after a two year absence since her draw with Ewell.
Karine Rinaldo will defend her EBU female super bantamweight title against Nevenka Mikulic in Corse-du-Sud, France.
Rinaldo (10-1-1) won the vacant title this past June with a TKO win over Marianna Gulyas. Mikulic (4-2-1) has finished in all but one of wins.
In other boxing bouts:
In a pair of bouts in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, Vanesa del Valle Calderon takes on Valeria Almiron and Valeria Vanesa Gramajo faces Natalia Vanesa Lopez
Shelly Gibson battles Simone Hoyte in Georgetown, Guyana
In Emilia Romagna, Italy, Simona Galassi fights Evgeniya Zablotskaya
In a pair of bouts in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Jelena Mrdjenovich dukes it out with Pasa Malagic and Kandi Wyatt takes on Lita Mae Button
Sabrina Giuliani faces Farida El Hadrati in Puy-de-Dôme, France
In Differdange, Luxembourg, Caroline Thea Andre battles Gabriella Vetro
Next Wednesday, the finally two quarterfinal matches as Carla Esparza faces Tecia Torres in a match a year in the making, and Rose Namjunas takes on Joanne Calderwood.
Irene Alana has an unknown illness and is out of InvictaFC 10 next weekend against Marion Reneau. A replacement has yet to be named.
Two female bouts have been announced for MMA Super Heroes last card of 2014.
Tournament winner Renata Baldan looks to recover from her first loss as she takes on unbeaten Luciana Treze in a strawweight contest, and Karina Santana de Oliveira looks to gain her second win as a pro against flyweight prospect Mariana Leonardo.
Australia’s XFC (not to be confused with XFC International) will start its flyweight tournament February 28, 2015 in Brisbane.
The opening round features Terissa Wall (1-0) taking on Kate Da Silva (7-2) and Jaz Walker (1-0 ammy) battling Hera Tamati (0-1).
We wish a speedy recovery to InvictaFC vet Jasminka Cive as she is battle a staph infection.
Still some heavy rumors that InvictaFC 11 will be in Denver.
Princesses of Pain is back as they are set for their all female MMA card this weekend in New Zealand.
In the main event, champion Kate da Silva will start her drop in weight classes, taking on Rhiannon Thompson in a 132 pound catchweight bout.
In the co-main event, Tairi Ford and Gaela Nixon duke it out in a flyweight contest.
Amateur standout Roma Pawelek will make her long awaited pro debut as she takes on the undefeated Ashleigh Heustis at Beatdown in Newtown, ND.
Also on the card, InvictaFC vet Kathina Catron battles Rachael Smith.
In other pro bouts:
In a pair of bouts at It’s Lanna Time 2 in Germany, Katharina Lehner takes on Sandra Redegeld, and Ania Fucz faces Cinja Kiefer
Karine Silva battles Sarah Silva at AFC 14 in Lages, Brazil
In amateur action:
In a pair of bouts at Spar Star in Inglewood, CA, Danielle Mack fights Farren Romero and JaShonna Owens faces Selena Lorigo
Jady Larissa takes on Paula Eletrica at Copa Striker’s House 44 in Brazil
Pound for pound queen Cecilia Braekhus will defend her four titles this weekend in Frederiksberg, Denmark.
The 26-0 WBA/WBO/WBC/IBF World welterweight champion will take on #1 contender Jennifer Retzke.
Retzke (15-1-1) has only lost once in the past 4 years. She is the current IBO welterweight champion, but will not be defending her title.
Both Brækhus (64.6 kg) and Retzke (66 kg) made weight.
Also on the card, Klara Svensson will defend her interim WBC World light welterweight title against Lucia Morelli.
In Guanajuato, Mexico, Jessica Gonzalez will defend her interim WBC World female bantamweight title for a second time against Magali Rodriguez.
Gonbzalez (5-1) won the title last year, and is coming off a split draw to Estrella Valverde this past August. Rodriguez (14-5-1) is coming off a TKO win over Marisela Landa in August and is looking for her first win.
In other boxing bouts:
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fernanda Soledad Alegre takes on Ana Laura Esteche
Enis Pacheco faces Paola Rojas in Montelibano, Colombia
In Samobor, Croatia, Ivana Habazin battles Galina Gumliiska
Megan Ouvrard fights Cyrielle Hebert in Charente-Maritime, France
Friendships, feuding, fighting, and farts fill episode four of “The Ultimate Fighter”.
We open the show with Team Melendez, who has lost three straight fights. Melendez sees the light at the end of the tunnel, as their top seeds minus Tecia Torres are still intact.
Team Pettis has a guest coach for a few days in Uriah Faber, someone the team gushes over. Faber names Joanne Calderwood “The KO Whisperer” and sees her as a favorite to win the tournament. He also sees promised in Carla Esparza, who’s wrestling credentials are profiled. They also highlight the friendship between Felice Herrig and Esparza, something that has been going on since Espraza beat Herrig several years ago.
Angela Hill is a big underdog coming in being the #16 seed and having only one professional bout. She seemed primed for an upset however. Hill has over 16 pro Muay Thai bouts and the coaches hope takedown defense and her striking will give her an edge.
At the house, Hill’s flatulence has being coming a running joke. Angela Magana called Hill a “martial fartist”.
During a training sessions, Heather Clark injured her knee, and decided to ride a bike the next practice, much to the disdain of Magana. When Clark decides to soak in an ice bath, Magana starts a screaming at her to get out of the tub.
Justine Kish, who has never fought at 115, is having problems dropping weight and has been jogging and doing extra exercise to compensate. If she doesn’t make weight, she could be cut from the UFC. There maybe an out, however, as Kish is start to have problems with her surgically repaired knee.
We head into the the fight, which starts with Hill keeping her distance and staying to stuff takedowns. Espraza was able to get one eventually and took Hill to the mat. After a scramble, Espraza gained mount and pinned Hill down. Esprza took Hill’s back soon after for a rear naked choke attempt, but Hill fought it off. Hill fought back to her feet, but Esparza took the back standing and sunk in the rear naked choke for the tap at 3:41 of round 1.
With the full cast announced and inside the house, the The Ultimate Fighter 20 cast are ready to make tv magic and turn heads. Some of the more recent WMMA fans or those UFC fans that will be tuning in may not know the history between some of the fighters. Who are friends, who are foes, and who will be most exciting to watch.
Here is a primer of stuff to look out for come September when the show airs.
Team Mean Girls vs. The Natural Disasters
Felice Herrig has always been outspoken and a lightning rod for feuds. This includes her current beef with Heather Clark. Clark, who wanted to face Herrig, felt “The Little Bulldog” was dodging her, first because Herrig stated Clark needed to drop to 115 (which she did), and then Herrig signed to Bellator shortly after, looking like the match wouldn’t happen. Clark got her chance to fight Herrig in March of last year in Bellator. Clark broke her arm after a spectacular round 1, but kept going and, losing a split decision. As the final bell rang, Herrig got into Clark’s face screaming, and Clark took a swat at here (video here). To say there is no love loss is an understatement.
Herrig has become BFFs with Carla Esparza since the two fought in 2011. Esparza had signed to the same management company as Herrig shortly after. When Tecia Torres defeated Herrig, Esparza took little time to challenge Torres to a fight. Shortly after all were signed to TUF 20.
Herrig had given herself and Espraza the nickname “Team Mean Girls” on twitter since they were cast on the show. Bec Hyatt is also pals with the two and maybe a part of this clique going in.
Expect “The Hurricane” (Clark) and “The Tiny Tornado” (Torres) to watch each other’s back. We have dubbed them “The Natural Disasters”.
Angela Magana versus the World
Angela Magana has been known for some drama over the past few years. The best example was in the failed “Ultimate Women’s Challenge” reality show which never aired. We have heard some stories from various fighters on the show about her antics. The biggest thing to watch out for – Magana and Clark don’t like each other.
Some Other Connections to be Aware of
Justine Kish and Jessica Penne have been training with each other for the past year, and even came out to tryouts together.
Emily Peters-Kagan and Clark were teammates at Jackson’s MMA before Clark left to train in Vegas.
There was a little beef between Alex Chambers and Bec Hyatt a few years ago, but that has been squashed when we spoke to the two at the TUF 20 tryouts.
Rose Namajunas is under the same management as Herrig and Esparza.
Herrig has trained with coach Anthony Pettis before.
We won’t have to wait until September to find out who made the Ultimate Fighter 20 house.
The UFC announced this week they will be doing a media day Thursday to reveal the full TUF 20 cast, including the eight fighters that have been chosen from the tryouts this past spring. The current announced list of participants that were signed from Invicta is Tecia Torres, Bec Hyatt, Felice Herrig, Carla Esparza, Alex Chambers, Rose Namajunas, Emily Peters-Kagan, and Joanne Calderwood.
Those possibles (that didn’t announce they were out or have had fights/having fight upcoming) include:
Heather Jo Clark
Remember only eight on this list will be announced as part of the show. Those italicized are the ones we are speculating are in due to record, experience, and performance.