MMA is the fastest growing sport on the planet, and women’s MMA seems to be the fastest growing segment of that sport.
With the UFC picking up its second female division, and more than a few rival organizations assembling rosters of their own, there’s a lot to catch up on in the world of WMMA.
TUF Winner Julianna Pena is Back
The first ever female TUF winner will try her new contract on for size at UFC 171. Julianna Pena has been scheduled to face Jessica Andrade at the March event.
Pena dominated Jessica Rakoczy last November to win The Ultimate Fighter 18, bringing her overall record to 5-2. Her performance on the show was a huge boon to her career, as losses in her sole 2012 and 2013 appearances prior would have likely kept her off of the UFC’s radar.
Jéssica Andrade is a Brazilian fighter who holds a 10-3 record. She is currently 1-1 in the UFC, dropping her debut via TKO to Liz Carmouche, but rebounding with a decision win over Rosi Sexton in October.
Despite her lack of UFC fights, she managed to sneak in at #9 on the bantamweight rankings, followed closely by Pena at #10. With such a small pool of fighters, a win here for either of them could easily launch them deep into Top 10.
UFC 171 will take place on March 15 in Dallas.
Bantamweight Contenders at UFC 170
Women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will defend her title against Sara McMann in the headlining bout of UFC 170.
Joining the two on this historic card in WMMA history will be top bantamweight contenders Alexis Davis and Jessica Eye.
Davis is one of the fastest rising stars in the weight class. She bounced back from a loss to Sarah Kaufman in Strikeforce last year with a resounding four wins in a row. Two of those, decision victories over Liz Carmouche and Rosi Sexton, were in the UFC.
She is now ranked #3 in the division, which made the decision to give the title fight to Sara McMann a little bit surprising. Hopefully Davis will get her shot after this one, granted she makes it past the very tough Jessica Eye.
Davis holds a 15-5 record overall, and is the former Raging Wolf women’s flyweight champion.
Jessica Eye meanwhile is 1-0 in the UFC, and 8-0 since making her Bellator debut in 2011. For her UFC debut, she defeated Sarah Kaufman (Davis’s last loss) by split decision at UFC 166. With eight decision wins on her record though, Eye seems to have trouble putting opponents away.
She is currently ranked at #5 in the weight class, although a win over Alexis Davis could rocket her into title contention. Eye holds an 11-1 record overall.
UFC 170 will take place on February 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
WSOF’s Inaugural Strawweight Champion
The World Series of Fighting continues its expansion into WMMA with a strawweight (115) title fight between top ranked Jessica Aguilar and undefeated prospect Alida Gray.
The bout will decide the promotion’s inaugural women’s champion.
Aguilar has already made history though as the WSOF’s first female signing, and it’s not hard to see why the organization was interested in her. She’s been undefeated since November 2010, picking up seven wins in a row.
Among her defeated opponents are Invicta FC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and WMMA icon Megumi Fujii, who she fought to two razor thin decisions.
Jessica Aguilar is now 16-4 in her MMA career.
Alida Gray might not be as well known as her upcoming opponent, but she spent 2013 tearing through her competition. With only a year of professional fighting under her belt, Gray has racked up four straight finishes en route to a 4-0 record.
She became the Sugar Creek Showdown women’s strawweight champion in her debut bout, defeating Patricia Vidonic (who Aguilar also bested via a controversial decision in Bellator).
Both fighters will be making their WSOF debuts.
WSOF 8 will take place on January 18 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.