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.
After an eventful promotional week for TUF 20, several sites are reporting the teams and opening round matches for the show, which will have its two hour premier Wednesday on Fox Sports 1.
Team Pettis (Green) : Alex Chambers, Felice Herrig, Carla Esparza, Joanne Calderwood, Ais Daly, Randa Markos Thomas, Jessica Penne, and Justine Kish
Team Melendez (Purple): Rose Namajunas, Heather Clark, Emily Kagan, Angela Magana, Tecia Torres, Lisa Ellis, Angela Hill, and Bec Rawlings.
After the teams were selected, they seeded the competitors and had each match have a representative from each time. The opening round matches contain two epic rematches – Penne vs. Ellis and Clark vs. Herrig. Here is the complete list:
Rose Namajunas vs. Alex Chambers
Heather Clark vs. Felice Herrig
Joanne Calderwood vs. Emily Peters Kagan
Aisling Daly vs. Angela Magana
Tecia Torres vs. Randa Markos Thomas
Jessica Penne vs. Lisa Ellis
Carla KristenEsparza vs. Angela Hill
Justine Kish vs. Bec Rawlings
The start of the season begins Wednesday oin Fox Sports 1.
One of the top pound for pound boxers on the planet was in negotiations with the promotion since the beginning of the year. Having started her career undefeated with six finishes, Holm will have a big step up in competition in the UFC.
No word on when she will debut with the promotion.
Sufficed to say the possible match between her and boxing champion Cecilia Braekhus for the fall is now got going to happen.
Justino has hired Tony Aponte to help with the cut. Aponte has helped BJ Penn and Heath Herrig in their weight cuts. No word on an opponent as of yet.
Justino was set to defend her featherweight title against Ediane Gomes, but both have decided to drop to 135. Knapp is not sure of the status of the title. If all goes to plan, Justino will fight again next year at 135.
With Justino out for the promotion’s 9th card, it looks like Barb Honchak will defend her title and main event.
We will have more information next week. Wombat Sports will have live coverage of InvictaFC 8 in Kansas City the first week of September.
The match bewteen Shayna Baszler and Bethe Correia has been moved to UFC 177 on August 30 in Sacramento, CA after cancellation of UFC 176. The fight is expect to be on the Fox Sports 1 prelims.
InvictaFC vet Duda Yankovich is in stable condition after suffering a stroke this past Wednesday in Brazil. Her coach, Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, was there when the stroke happened and rushed her to a hospital after doctor’s advice. They found her middle cerebral artery was obstructed.
She is currently in the ICU hooked to machines, but conscious. She is doing much better according to her US manager and thanks the fans for their thoughts and prayers via text with him.
We hope for a complete recovery.
Experienced martial artist Kirstie Gannaway has signed to OneFC. Currently residing in Singapore, the Australian native has over eight years of training, but has yet to step foot in a cage competitively. She won a contract OneFC at an open tryout and is training at Evolve MMA, OneFC’s training facility. She is the third female to sign to OneFC. No word on when she will debut.
Before she stepped into the octagon this past Sunday, the UFC let Sarah Moras know that with a win or not she would have another UFC match due to Alexis Dufresne not making weight. No word on if this is another one fight contract.
Finland’s Eeva Siiskonen will face France’s Isabelle Pare in a bantamweight match at Carelia Fight 10 in Imatra, Finland Sept. 6.
The Girls S-cup is set for August 2.
The tournament, which combines kickboxing with standing submission, is an annual event and has sparked the careers of many Japan fighters.
This year they will have two tournaments with some highly touted prospects and vets of the Japanese fight scene.
In the 48 kg tournament will be 16 year old Yukari Yamaguchi, two time Shootbox high school champ Mio Tsumura, and MMA veteran Mei Yamaguchi. A fourth participant has yet to be named. Yamaguchi is training partners with InvictaFC vet Mizuki Inoue.
Multi-time champ Rena Kubota will look for another title as she takes on international talent in an eight women “World S-Cup” torunament. Among those announced for the bracket are Lorena Klijn and Christina Jurjevic.
More fighters are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Congratulations to Amanda Lucas. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Felix, Thursday at 8 pounds 3 oz.
This Sunday at 1 p.m. pst/4 p.m. est we will talk to MMA fighter Hadley Griffith. The Oregion native is looking to make her mark against the undefeated Emily Corso.
UFC president Dana White told reporters this week that Felice Herrig got into a fight on set of TUF 20. He failed to mention who was the other person involved, but our guess is Heather Clark. You can read why here. Herrig is still on the show.
With Cyborg set for InvictaFC 10, expect Barb Honchak to defend her 125 belt at InvictaFC 9.
High touted amateur prospect Taylor Stratford is looking to make her pro debut by the end of the year. Having been sidelined for over a year due to injury, her only loss was to Ronda Rousey. Rousey stated in interviews she feels Stratford is the top prospect at 135.
After her loss to Takayo Hashi, DEEP-JEWELS fighter Shizuka Sugiyama has decided to move to flyweight.
In a very rare event, there is no pro WMMA fights this weekend.
Legacy Amateur Series will feature three female bouts in Austin, Texas.
The main event will feature Colbey Northcutt (3-1) taking on Amy Coleman (5-1) for the bantamweight title. In a pair of strawweight fights, Ashley Milligan battles Bi Nguyen and Sijin Kurian faces Jordan Carmona.
In other amateur action:
At 24/7 Entertainment in Midland, Texas, Shyann Farmer fights Kenia Rosa
Jamie Mix takes on Cindy Benitez at RCWC in Garden City, KS
At Caged Warrior Championship in Larose, Louisiana, Takara McGilbra battles Jamie Blanton (155)
Amanda Pack fights Jesse Brennan at BFL in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
At Archangel Worldwide in Riverside, CA, Kelly Vanhoy takes on Elizabeth Rodriguez
Anna Dempster faces Kola Shippentower at Rumble at the Roseland in Portland, OR
At Premier FC 16 in Agawam, MA, Lisa Blaine fights Sarah Click
Paola Ramirez battles Michelle Motter at Fight Club OC in Costa Mesa, CA
Maureen Shea will be looking for a second weight class title as she takes on Angel Gladney in Oxnard, CA for the vacant IFBA super bantamweight title.
Shea (23-2) was a sparring partner for Hillary Swank on “Million Dollar Baby” and racked up 11 KOs in her career. She is currently the NABA featherweight champion and on a ten fight win streak.
Gladney (8-9-1) is looking to snap a two fight losing skid. She went on a seven fight unbeaten streak to start her career.
In Indio, California, Chantel Cordova and Patricia Alcivar will battle for the vacant NABF super flyweight title. Both coming off losses, Cordova (12-5-1) and Alcivar (7-2) will be looking for their first Continental title.
In other boxing action:
In a pair of bouts in Sofia, Bulgaria, Teodora Bacheva takes on Ivana Yaneva and Kremena Petkova battles Galina Gumliiska
Jennifer Hamann faces Ariel Beck in Shelton, Washington
In Grand Forks, North Dakota, Sonya Three Fox fights Concha Ross
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.