The UFC might be two-thirds of the way through its pre-UFC 211 hiatus, but that does not mean that there was a lack of significant women’s fights taking place over the weekend.
From Essex to California; China to Costa Rica; relevant bouts took place that will have an impact on the current unified rankings. Here’s the most notable action from the past few days.
ANDY BEATS BI IN KING OF THE CAGE REMATCH OF THE NGUYENS
King of the Cage President Terry Trebilcock Jr. had billed it the “win-win fight for everybody”. Andy “the CrAsian” Nguyen defending her King of the Cage atomweight title against Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen in a rematch of their 2016 Legacy FC bout.
Bi emerged the victor in their first contest, but much had changed since July 2016. While Bi was gaining notoriety as a prospect to watch with wins over Katie Saull and Jayme Hinshaw, Andy was hitting her stride at 105 pounds too.
After making a successful defence of her King of the Cage title against Cassie Robb in October 2016, Andy submitted Miyuu Yamamoto in under five minutes at RIZIN’s New Year show. By the time the two Nguyens hit the cage in San Jacinto, California on Saturday night, there was no doubt that both women had grown as fighters since their first meeting.
After five competitive rounds, and a fun refereeing performance from the internet’s favourite MMA official Cecil Peoples, it was Andy who had her hand raised. All three judges scored the contest 49-46 in “the CrAsian”‘s favour.
King of the Cage has become a hotbed of emerging female talent, with the stock of the victorious Nguyen only continuing to rise. The decision victory marked her second successful defence of King of the Cage’s atomweight title.
After the bout, the 35-year-old hinted that she wanted to step back into the RIZIN ring. The Japanese promotion has an atomweight grand prix scheduled later this year. The reigning King of the Cage champion would be a worthy addition to the eventual lineup.
AMATEURS IMPRESS AT BCMMA 19
Unbeaten amateurs Cory McKenna and Joanne Doyle added one more to their respective win columns at Colchester’s Charter Hall on Saturday.
Doyle found her way onto the radar in 2016, going 4-0 as an amateur. That run included winning the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships at 145 pounds.
On Saturday Doyle improved her amateur record to 6-0 with a quick submission of Patrycja Chodorowska. Doyle had taken the fight on short notice, but showed no signs of being ill prepared, choking her Polish opponent out at the 2:10 mark in round one.
Cory McKenna also had to make a quick shift in focus for her bout at BCMMA 19. Originally scheduled to face Gabriella Ringblom, McKenna ended up fighting Finnish flyweight Anette Osterberg.
McKenna won via decision, and added the BCMMA flyweight title to her collection in the process. The fighter already holds the promotion’s strawweight title, and can now look forward to a two month stint training with Team Alpha Male in the United States as a two-weight champion.
— Cory McKenna (@CoryMcKenna99) May 7, 2017
PADILLA, CORDOBA AND WEILI WIN ACROSS THREE CONTINENTS
Elsewhere there were notable victories for three fighters at very different stages of their careers.
In Ventura, California at Combate 14, Sheila Padilla enjoyed the Cinco de Mayo celebrations with a submission win over Alyssa Garcia. Padilla improved her record to 3-1, and with a quick win over an opponent who had found success in the RIZIN ring, she is another fighter who would fit well into one of those RIZIN Grand Prix brackets later this year.
In San Jose, Costa Rica, Reina Cordoba returned to action after 18 months away and got back into the win column. Cordoba submitted Alejandra Orozco at the 1:54 mark in round two at Calvo Promotions 13 on Thursday. It was the first time the region’s top flyweight had fought since a November 2015 defeat to rising prospect Sabina Mazo.
And finally in Jining, China, Kunlun MMA met Jungle Fight with the former coming out on top. Jungle Fight flyweight champion Simone Duarte bought an undefeated 4-0 record with her to China, but left with the first defeat of her professional career. Weili Zhang’s first round stoppage win moved her to 12-1 and solidified her status as one of the most exciting talents outside of the United States.
Amanda Bell vs. Gabby Holloway Booked for King of the Cage, February 4
For the first time in a while, the women’s featherweight division is generating a little buzz. King of the Cage will be hoping that upswing in interest extends all the way to Lincoln City, Oregon on February 4, as Amanda Bell vs. Gabby Holloway has been added to the KOTC: Heavy Trauma card. Bell confirmed the booking on Wednesday via social media.
Got the confirmation yesterday! I'll be facing Gabrielle Holloway Feb. 4th at King of the Cage in Lincoln City,… https://t.co/9kOpksj5Xn
— Amanda Bell #NoDAPL (@TheLadyKiller00) January 4, 2017
With top five featherweights Megan Anderson and Charmaine Tweet headlining Invicta FC 21 on January 13, and Holly Holm clashing with Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208 for the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight championship on February 11, the 145 pound division is starting to gain momentum. That only adds to the importance of Bell and Holloways upcoming bout.
Amanda Bell (3-4) had a lot of momentum behind her in 2014, after back to back batterings of Marina Shafir and Maria Hougaard Djursaa opened up a three fight win-streak for the fighter, and saw her move into the division’s top ten. Since then, Bell has found going tough against stiffer opposition.
The Medford, Oregon based fighter saw hopes of an Invicta title shot slip through her grasp when she was submitted by Faith van Duin in April 2015. Bell also came up short against Megan Anderson earlier this year, but would move back into the 145 pound division’s top ten with a win on February 4.
Standing in her way is former Bellator featherweight Gabby Holloway (5-4). The “Gabbanator” found success hard to come by inside the Bellator cage. Matched against two of the best the promotion had to offer, Holloway lost by decision to Julia Budd in February 2015, before suffering her second Bellator defeat against Arlene Blencowe earlier this year.
Holloway is currently ranked 8th in the Unified Women’s MMA Rankings. Entering Bell’s home State on February 4, a win for Holloway would solidify her spot in the top ten and open the door for another crack at top five opponents in future.
King of the Cage: Heavy Trauma takes place February 4, at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon. The event is headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Tony Lopez and Fabiano Scherner.
KOTC: Home Turf Broadened MMA’s Boundaries
Prior to The Showroom swinging open its doors, the calm before the storm settled anxiously over the vast amounts of real estate available, at least for the time being, but, soon enough, the atmospheric pressure would bubble to its breaking point inside the cavity of the Gold Country Casino in Oroville, California for King of the Cage (KOTC): Home Turf. When KOTC’s ring announcer, Dean Stone, welcomed a start to the evening, the spotlights shined brighter, and the walkway’s ramp to the cage pulsed an electric blue. KOTC: Home Turf touched on the range of MMA’s possibility: clashing styles, grind out decisions, jolts of energetic desire, flash knockouts, hometown pride, and fans perched on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
Charles Guthrie defeated Chris Valdes by way of unanimous decision.
Anthony Segoviano defeated Bruno Lima by way of split decision.
KOTC’s amateur title was on the line when Cass Bell, the reigning owner of the belt, stood across from his challenger, Jason Roope. Roope, before the bell rang stared daggers through Bell, and he spent the entirety of five rounds stabbing the champ with a relentless attack. Bell didn’t exit without dulling some of Roope’s progress, accelerating through a size-able cut on his eyebrow and testing the challenger’s RPMs, and his supporters heralded the valiant effort. Going the distance, the end results presented Roope as the new amateur champion, which actually unlocked his validation to upgrade his rank to professional:
Jason Roope defeated Cass Bell by way of unanimous decision.
Jeremiah Davis defeated Santino Valdez by way of unanimous decision.
Richard Dusio defeated Aaron Hamilton in round 2 (1:57) by way of rear naked choke.
Montel Williams Jr. defeated Connor Miller by way of unanimous decision.
Stepping off his back porch to enter the KOTC arena, the importance of Home Turf crystalized in the scowl of Tyler Diamond when he faced Tyrone Henderson, a visitor from the metropolitan of Chicago, Illinois who hoped to seize some of Diamond’s pristine record.
Round one kicked off with Diamond’s hard-nosed wrestling background paying dividends. Slams and a smothering top position didn’t prevent Diamond from visiting his well of resolve. Henderson, at one point in the round, snatched Diamond’s arm in a Kimura that had the undefeated member of Team Alpha Male tickling the back of his own head as a contortionist. Most would have circumvented such a stretch of the tendons and tapped, but Diamond’s friends, family, and cornermen urged his fortitude to seep out; escape forecasted Henderson’s devolving demise.
Diamonds may be forever, but the will of Diamond’s opponents can only survive for so long. By the end of round two, Henderson’s seals began to crack, and Diamond, who turned a back and forth tussle into a one-way street, refused to visit the judges’ scorecards:
Tyler Diamond defeated Tyrone Henderson in round 3 (4:29) by way of TKO.
In the case of Greg Houtman versus Martin Farmer, opposites attracted in every way possible. Farmer, the outsider with a longer reach and lighter features, geared up for gamesmanship on the ground; whereas, Houtman, the inked up favorite from Yuba City, visualized his fist as a wrecking ball.
Weathering Houtman’s blitz, Farmer buried the fight into the canvas, the perfect fertilizer to his strategy. Achieving a mounted position in a scramble, Farmer planted some ground and pound, but the shots were merely bait for the light heavyweight out of Roseville, California to harvest the win with technical precision.
Martin Farmer defeated Greg Houtman in round 1 (4:14) by way of armbar.
Originally slotted as the co-main event, the last-minute adjustment pairing Benito “Golden Boy” Lopez against Rick James created the perfect ending to KOTC: Home Turf’s script. Many things about the main event lasted longer than the fight itself: the walkouts to the cage, the formal introduction of each corner, and the blinks of onlookers as the newly minted main event materialized.
Lopez’s baby-faced grin transformed into a seasoned warrior at the bell’s call for combat. Eight seconds ticked off the first round when Lopez instinctually reacted to an attempt by James to shoot in on his legs, and the undefeated prospect out of Team Alpha Male separated his opponent from his conscious soul with a flying knee. A lifetime accumulated in the heart of Oroville was punctuated in a cardiac arrest causing moment for spectators. Dean Stone concluded the the main event’s mayhem by reading the final results:
Benito Lopez defeated Rick James in round 1 (:08) by way of KO.
The prizefighters of Oroville’s own dug a line across the cage’s threshold, and any opposition would regret crossing such a boundary, especially at KOTC: Home Turf. In reality, whether staking claim to Oroville as a birthplace or not, the crowd at Gold Country Casino welcomed all competitors’ efforts into their agricultural fold. Join KOTC when they return to Gold Country Casino on October 8, 2016, and stay tuned to MAVTV when this episode of KOTC airs on April 30, 2016, though dates and times are subject to change.
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