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Top Ten: Women’s Pound-for-Pound

Vinny Craig

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Ever wanted to know the top ten best champions over 6 feet tall? How about the best multi-division fighters? Well then this is the best place for you. This is a series that will come out on a week that doesn’t have a UFC event, and will usually cover something from the last weekend’s events. With Ronda Rousey stopping Cat Zingano just 14 seconds into their fight, I thought we would take a look at the best women’s pound-for-pound rankings across MMA.

 

  1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC Strawweight)

For the sake of my sanity, let’s say her name once.  Joanna Jedrzeczyk (8-0; 2-0)), we’re going to call her JJ, starts off the list as a UFC Strawweight.  JJ has been a busy fighter since making her debut in 2012 as she has fought 8 times in the span of 31 months. She made her debut in SFT in her native Poland, and beat Sylwia Juskiewicz by unanimous decision. She would win her next four fights until her first real test came when she would face UFC and Bellator veteran Rosie Sexton. She knocked out the vet in the second round and punched her ticket to the UFC. In her UFC debut, she beat Juliana Lima at UFC on Fox 12 in July. The unanimous decision victory instantly brought up talks of her being the first challenger for the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 20. JJ had to get through Claudia Gadelha before she could punch her ticket against Carla Esparza. JJ beat her opponent narrowly and won the title-eliminator match. She now is scheduled for a chance at the title against champion Carla Esparza this month at UFC 185 in Dallas.

 

  1. Alexis Davis (UFC Bantamweight)

At number 9, we have jiu-jitsu black belt and MMA veteran Alexis Davis. Davis (16-6; 3-1) has been one of the top in her division for quite some time. She made her debut in 2007, with a loss to future Strikeforce champion Sara Kaufman. She would win her next five before another loss, this time to Tara LaRose. She also lost to Women’s MMA veteran Shayna Baszler, and Elainia Maxwell before she signed with Strikeforce in July, 2011. She picked up decision victory over Julie Kedzie in her Strikeforce debut and then split her next two before the organization disbanded. She signed with Invicta FC, where she would win both of her fights, including avenging a loss to Baszler. She signed with the UFC and fought vet Rosie Sexton in her debut. She picked up the Decision win. She beat her next two opponents in Liz Carmouche and Jessica Eye to earn a title-shot.  She would fall victim to champ Rousey in just sixteen seconds. As of right now, she is not scheduled for another fight.

 

  1. Carla Esparza (UFC Strawweight)

The first ever UFC Strawweight title holder Carla Esparza (10-2; 1-0) comes in at number 8. Esparza is a title holder through and through, as she held the inaugural Invicta and UFC titles in her career. She started her pro career in 2010 with a 48 second TKO victory. In just her fourth fight, she was a part of Bellator’s 115 lbs. tournament where she lost in the quarterfinal to Megumi Fuiji. Three fights later, she lost to future title-holder Jessica Aguilar at Bellator 46 for her second loss in the organization. That was her last loss; as she has gone on to pick up five straight victories. Some of those include Felice Herrig, Sarah Schneider and Bec Rawlings. She won season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter by winning all three of her preliminary fights and then the final against Rose Namajunas. With that win, she was the inaugural UFC Strawweight title, and is schedule to Joanna Jedrzejczyk for her first defense at UFC 185 on March 14.

 

  1. Sarah Kaufman (UFC Bantamweight)

Former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman (17-2, 1 NC; 1-0, 1 NC) is the number 7 women in the world. Kaufman started her career, and rattled off twelve straight wins, including wins over Miesha Tate, Shayna Baszler, and Roxanne Modafferi.  In that span, she won the Strikeforce belt over Takayo Hashi and then defended it against Modafferi. Her first pro loss came in her next bout against Marloes Coenen, where she would also lose her belt. She would go on to win three straight against Megumi Yabushita, Liz Carmouche, and Alexis Davis found her in a familiar spot with a title-shot against Ronda Rousey. ‘Rowdy’ beat the former champ by her patented armbar in under a minute to give the Canadian just her second career loss. She then fought in Invicta for one fight, a Fight of the Night victory over Leslie Smith. In her two UFC fights, she has one win and one no-contest as her loss to Jessica Eye was overturned by the TSAC. She is not currently scheduled for a fight right now.

 

  1. Cat Zingano (UFC Bantamweight)

Number 6 goes to a familiar face from last weekend. Cat Zingano (9-1; 1-1) is last on the list of armbars by Ronda Rousey. She started her career in 2008, and won her first two fights impressively. She then beat Barb Honchak by decision to take the Fight to Win 130 lbs. Women’s title.  Not even a year later, she faced Takayo Hashi for the 125 lbs. Women’s title for the same organization. She won that fight by KO and went on to Invicta after that. She would pick up one victory over Raquel Pennington. In her UFC debut, Cat looked good in a decisive TKO win over future title-challenger Miesha Tate. This gave Zingano a shot at crack at Rousey for the belt. They were supposed to coach TUF 18 and then fight at UFC 168. Just before, Zingano blew out her ACL and couldn’t coach of the show. When she was finally ready to come back, the most tragic thing happened to her. Her husband committed suicide on January 13, 2013. This devastated the contender and left her out even longer. She got back into the cage at UFC 178, and slammed and hit her way to victory over Amanda Nunes. This earned her that title shot that eluded so long ago, at UFC 184. After all that happened, Zingano barely got to show her skills. See this for more info on that fight.

 

  1. Jessica Aguilar (WSOF Strawweight)

The first woman on this list not from the UFC comes from WSOF’s Strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar (19-4 MMA; 3-0 WSOF). Aguilar has been one of the best women fighters for quite some time. She has faced some of the best 115 pounders, and kept her winning ways on track. Her debut came with a blemish, as she lost to future TUF competitor Lisa Ellis. In her seventh fight, she fought Angela Magana for the second time. When Magana tried to tell the ref that Aguilar was bleeding, he took it for a verbal submission. This called for a rematch, which Magana won. She made her Bellator debut in June of 2011, when she beat Carla Esparza. She would go on to win 4 of her five Bellator fights. She beat Alida Gray in her WSOF debut for the Strawweight title. She beat her next two opponents to defend her belt in Emi Fujino and Kalindra Faria. Her last loss came to Zolia Frausto Gurgel at Bellator 31 in September 2010. She currently doesn’t have a fight scheduled.

 

  1. Miesha Tate (UFC Bantamweight)

In the fourth spot on the list, it’s Cupcake. Miesha Tate (16-5; 3-2), a former title-challenger, comes in at number 3. Being in the shadows of Rousey, she is clearly the second best UFC Women’s Bantamweight. With her relentless pressing and never give up style, ‘Cupcake’ is a style nightmare for everyone. She made her debut in 2007 at a Hook N Skoot event where she picked up the victory. She wouldn’t even be a pro two years before getting her chance in Strikeforce. She lost her first fight to Sarah Kaufman, a future champion. She would pick up Women’s Welterweight tournament victory and a chance champ Marloes Coenen. She would lose the belt in her very next fight against non-other than Ronda Rousey. This put her in a slump where she lost two of her next three, including another title-fight to Rousey. This changed Tate for the better as she changed camps, styles, and even made better diet choices. With this, she has picked up three straight decision wins over Liz Carmouche, Rin Nakai, and Sara McMann. She has yet to get another fight signed for the UFC.

 

  1. Barb Honchak (Invicta Flyweight)

The only Flyweight on the entire list, Barb Honchak (10-2 MMA; 5-0 Invicta) stops in for the bronze medal of my list. Honchak of the older women on this list at 35, but is at her best now in Invicta FC. Although she lost two of her first three fights to the likes of Cat Zingano and Angela Magana, ‘Little Warrior’ hasn’t seen defeat in quite some time. After her losses, she went to beat the likes Felice Herrig and Roxanne Modafferi. She made her Invicta debut in July of 2012 against Bethany Marshall. Barb would get the win by TKO, and make continue her winning streak to four. Her next fight came to Aisilng Daly, a tough contest for anyone. It took Honchak all fifteen minutes, be she picked up the win and a shot at the title. After beating Vanessa Porto for the Flyweight belt, she has defended it twice against Leslie Smith and Takayo Hashi. She is not currently scheduled for a fight.

 

  1. Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (Invicta Featherweight)

At the runner up position, it’s Invicta Featherweight champion Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (13-1, 1 NC; 3-0 Invicta).  The only featherweight on this list, she faces competition in a shallow division of Women’s MMA. Making her debut in 2005 in Brazil, she lost her only fight of her pro career. After four straight wins, she signed with Elite XC, where her first real challenge came with women’s pioneer Shayna Baszler. Cyborg took the victory with a second round TKO in Stockton, California (Diaz, 209). After one more fight in Elite, she made Strikeforce debut. She started out roughly, missing weight by six pounds in her debut against Hitomi Akano. She still picked up the victory and used her relentless pressure to get the TKO win. Then the Gina Carano fight came, where she headlined her first card. She beat Carano with 1 second to spare in the first round, send the legend into retirement and taking the inaugural Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight title. She would defend her belt two more times, before she had a NC and was stripped of her belt for taking PED’s. She made her Invicta debut directly into a title-eliminator fight with Fiona Muxlow. She would win that fight by TKO, and move on to fight for the belt. Her next fight for the belt came against a familiar opponent in Marloes Coenen, whom she had already beaten before. She won the inaugural belt by fourth round TKO. In her next, she would take the quick victory over Charmane Tweet in just 46 seconds.

 

Hm. Claudia Gadelha (UFC Strawweight)

Originally my number 10 pick, after some alterations, Claduia Gadelha comes in as the honorable mention. Being a part of the first ever UFC Strawweight fight holds some relevance, but more importantly her fight style and one fight away from a title shot at all times position are what kept her in this list. A Brazilian training with the likes of Renan Barao, Jose Aldo, and Junior dos Santos, ‘Claudinha’ brings a style of impressive jiu-jitsu and patience to the Octagon. The youngster at only 26, made her pro debut in 2008 at just 20. She would win six of her seven by submission, and 8 of her first 11 by finish. She made her Invicta debut for the Strawweight tile-eliminator against Ayaka Hamasaki. She won by TKO with just over a minute to go in the fight. As aforementioned, she took part in the first UFC Strawweight fight at UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller. She would also be the first to win, as she beat Tina Lahdemaki by unanimous decision. She then was given another title-eliminator fight, as she and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went the distance to see who got the first shot at champion Carla Esparza. The victory went to Jedrzejczyk, and left Gadelha with her first career loss. Her next opponent is TUF competitor Aisling Daly, where they will meet in Poland on April 11.

 

  1. Ronda Rousey (UFC Bantamweight) 

If you didn’t see this coming, I’m sorry I can’t help you out much. Rousey (11-0; 5-0) showed us this weekend why she is the best pound-for-pounds women’s fighter. Her judo skills and always improving striking make her the most dynamic fighter women’s MMA has ever seen. She started off her career with 8 straight armbar finished, the first seven coming in the first round. These included wins over Charmane Tweet, her Bantamweight debut for the Strikeforce title, the first ever women’s fight in the UFC against Liz Carmouche, and another fight with Tate that went three rounds. She didn’t skip a beat, as her total fight time in her next three fights is a minute and thirty seconds. This includes what was supposed to be her toughest opponent yet in Cat Zingano, whom she beat by straight armbar just 14 seconds into their headliner fight on Saturday. See this for more on that fight. The only fight left for ‘Rowdy’ is a super fight with either Cyborg or Gina Carano. Another one I think I’m interested is would be a fight with now Strawweight champion Carla Esparza.

 

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate

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Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.

But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.

After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.

The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.

Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.

He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.

In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.

Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.

Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.

This is me and Anderson exchanging respect while being attended to by the doctors.

A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on

The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.

Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.

Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.

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