The UFC’s women’s strawweight division is the newest perhaps most ferocious weight class the UFC has to offer the fans. Who would have thought the lightest division in the UFC would hold such an array of skilled and dangerous fighters who, time after time, put on incredible fights for the fans. It’s not often that the UFC finds themselves behind the trends, but it wasn’t too long ago that they didn’t have a women’s strawweight division. During this time, many other organizations, including the World Series of Fighting and Invicta FC, did include a women’s strawweight divison; and it didn’t take long for the UFC to recognize the potential the weight class had.
It’s in this division where things get interesting at UFC 190. Although headlined by the most popular female fighter in the world, Ronda Rousey, the first fight on the main card has a much more interesting narrative, a narrative that goes all the way back to before the UFC ever had a strawweight division. Opening the PPV portion of UFC 190 is a fight between two of the top female strawweights in the world, one of whom was ranked #1 in the world well before current UFC champ, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, took the MMA world by storm. When that woman, former WSOF champ, Jessica Aguilar and Claudia Gadelha meet each other in the Octagon this weekend, it will be a clash of two fighters who could very well be fighting for the belt sooner rather than later.
Jessica Aguilar, the former #1 strawweight in the world, is finally making her UFC debut. After reigning as the WSOF champ for a year, going 3-0 in the organization, and winning her last 10 fights, she will finally be able to test her mettle against a tried and tested fighter in Claudia Gadelha. With victories over 3 of the UFC’s current flyweights, including former champ Carla Esparza, Aguilar has set herself up to make a huge impact in the young division. Even more impressive, Aguilar was ranked #1 in the world even while the majority of the UFC’s strawweights were competing for the belt. It’s well known that the UFC is at the top of the sport, so to see a fighter who isn’t a UFC champion still ranked #1 in the world is truly a testament to the skill and respect Aguilar has within the MMA world. It might even be the only time that has ever happened. Jessica Aguilar is truly an uncrowned king, or should I say queen.
Of course, as with any ruler, you don’t keep your crown, or in this case get it back, without challengers along the way. This is Aguilar’s first big test, this is the fight that will serve to prove her legitimacy. In reality, Aguilar only lost her #1 spot when Jedrzejczyk began her current hot streak. It’s an odd thing when a fighter drops in the rankings not due to a loss, but to the success of another. It’s even more strange to think that these fighters, at the time, were competing in separate organizations.
With Rousey headlining and Aguilar and Gadelha mixing it up, there is no doubt UFC 190 belongs to the female fighters. Despite Aguilar’s fight being lost in the madness that comes with promoting a Rousey-headlined event, be sure to know that Rousey isn’t the only woman on this card that has held a #1 spot. This is a closely matched fight, and it isn’t a coincidence that it will be opening the Pay Per View main card. Aguilar is one fight away from getting a chance to reclaim what was once hers, she has the UFC belt in her crosshairs, but she has to get through Gadelha first.
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
- Opinion3 months ago
A list of fighters who fought Michael Bisping – while on steroids
- Interviews1 month ago
Exclusive: Alexander Gustafsson eyeing summer 2018 return- wants title shot next
- Interviews3 months ago
Sage Northcutt on Moving to Sacramento and Life at Team Alpha Male
- Cage Warriors3 months ago
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Inman Talks Cage Warriors 87, His Love For Fighting And Craig White Possibly Tiring Himself Out.
- Rumours3 years ago
Proto MMA History: The Day Antonio Inoki Almost Killed The Great Antonio
- BAMMA2 months ago
BAMMA 32: Official Results and Live Stream
- Interviews3 months ago
Tim Means on Lawsuit Against Supplement Companies “I’m Going to Shut Them Down”
- Interviews3 months ago
Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”