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Women’s MMA 2015 Top 50: #50 – #31

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Coenen vs Blencowe Bellator 141

2015 has been a sensational year for women in mixed martial arts. More promotions than ever before have been promoting women’s fights and new champions have been crowned right, left and center. Bellator have begun to develop their featherweight division, Invicta FC have continued to promote outstanding shows — only not enough of them — and the UFC crowned two new champions in incredible fashion.

We saw Ronda Rousey receive unprecedented mainstream media coverage, Joanna Jedrzejczyk become the new favorite of MMA’s hardcore fans, and Holly Holm beat a seemingly unbeatable champion in Australia. With so much great action taking place throughout the year, here is my countdown of the top 50 women fighters in 2015. The criteria is simple, only their 2015 records, level of opposition, and performances are taken into consideration. To get you started here are places 50 through 31. Be sure to keep an eye on MMA Latest News over the coming days as we continue the countdown.

50) Amy Montenegro (7-2)
2015 record: 2-1
Most notable win: Glena Avila (SFL 45 – America 7)
Boasting a 5-1 professional record at the time, Montenegro made her Invicta Fighting Championships debut in 2015. After debuting with a win against Brianna van Buren, she lost a close decision to Jamie Moyle in a fight that made many people’s WMMA fight of the year shortlist. Montenegro’s year ended with championship gold as she earned a hard-fought decision win against Glena Avila to become the inaugural Super Fight League America Strawweight Champion.

49) Alex Chambers (5-3)
2015 record: 1-1
Most notable win: Kailin Curran (UFC Fight Night 65)
After two punishing rounds in Adelaide back in May, Alex Chambers appeared to be on the verge of losing her UFC career. Kailin Curran had put a beating on Chambers that had the Australian’s corner telling her she was five minutes away from being cut. With everything on the line, Chambers pulled off one of the year’s most memorable finishes, submitting Curran with less than two minutes left. Chambers went on to face Paige VanZant in September where she was largely competitive up until she picked up an injury early in the second round. Chambers was eventually submitted in the third round.

48) Kaline Medeiros (6-4)
2015 record: 3-1
Most notable win: Calie Cutler (NEF – Fight Night 17)
The year started with a defeat to Chelsea Bailey, that saw Kaline Medeiros’ record drop to 3-4 as a pro. By the time 2015 was done she had won three straight, stopping by the Bellator and Legacy cages to improve her record to 6-4 overall. Medeiros handed Calie Cutler her first professional defeat in April, and followed that up with wins over Sarah Payant and Kathina Catron. Bigger fights should await in 2016.

47) Aspen Ladd (2-0)
2015 record: 2-0
Most notable win: Amanda Bobby Cooper (Invicta FC 14)
Only 19-years-old when the year began, exciting flyweight Aspen Ladd has established herself as one of the sport’s brightest prospects. Ladd made her pro debut inside the Invicta cage, stopping Ana Carolina Vidal in the first round. A step up in competition against Amanda Bobby Cooper in September saw Ladd’s stock rise further. Despite being considered by many to be the underdog, Ladd was one of Invicta FC 14’s top performers, submitting ABC in the second round.

46) Jingnan Xiong (6-1)
2015 record: 5-1
Most notable win: Liliya Kazak (Kunlun Fight 19)
Chinese flyweight Jingnan Xiong only made her professional debut in 2014, but has quickly amassed a seven fight record. While the level of competition is what you would expect for a one year pro, five wins in a calendar year is always impressive. Even in her sole defeat, Xiong took the much more experienced Colleen Schneider to a decision in June.

45) Kate Jackson (7-2-1)
2015 record: 2-0
Most notable win: Eeva Siiskonen (LFN Fight Night 12)
Having already faced notables such as Hanna Sillen and Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her six year professional career, 2015 saw Kate Jackson cement a spot as the UK’s number one flyweight and move into the top ten rankings at 125 pounds. Wins over Eeva Siiskonen and Linn Wennergren made it a perfect 2-0 for 2015, before Jackson hit Las Vegas to try out for The Ultimate Fighter 23 at the end of the year.

44) Alexa Grasso (7-0)
2015 record: 1-0
Most notable win: Mizuki Inoue (Invicta FC 11)
The past twelve months have been bittersweet for one of the sport’s big prospects. Alexa Grasso got the nod from the judges in an outstanding fight back in February, where she defeated Mizuki Inoue at Invicta FC 11. That had many, including UFC President Dana White, proclaiming that the Mexican strawweight was the future of the sport. An Invicta strawweight title shot was earmarked, but injury would keep Grasso out of the cage for the rest of the year, with DeAnna Bennett instead of Grasso fighting for Invicta’s strawweight title next month.

43) Julia Jones (4-0)
2015 record: 3-0
Most notable win: Diana Rael (Rumble on the Ridge 31)
It was the perfect in-cage year for atomweight prospect Julia Jones. When 2015 began she had not fought in almost a year, after making her pro debut against Jenny Silverio in February 2014. Decision wins against Alyssa Garcia and Paulina Granados sat either side of Jones’ first win inside the distance — a second round submission of Diana Rael in April. Jones has become a top ten atomweight and looks set to become an even greater force in 2016.

42) Raquel Pa’aluhi (5-4)
2015 record: 1-0
Most notable win: Ediane Gomes (Invicta FC 12)
This was the year that Raquel Pa’aluhi secured the biggest win of her nine fight career. Her decision victory over Ediane Gomes at Invicta FC 12 in April moved her to the cusp of title contention in Invicta, and forced many fans to realise that Pa’aluhi would be a useful addition to the UFC’s slim bantamweight division. This was also the third year in a row that Pa’aluhi has only fought once, serving as a further reminder that fights are hard to come by for female bantamweights, particularly in Invicta who only held four events in 2015.

41) Jamie Moyle (3-1)
2015 record: 2-1
Most notable win: Amy Montenegro (Invicta FC 13)
With a strong amateur resume behind her, Syndicate MMA’s Jamie Moyle jumped right into the deep end when she began her pro career. All four of her fights have taken place inside the Invicta FC cage, which meant that the talented youngster was moving towards title contention at pace before she was defeated by Sharon Jacobson in September. Moyle appeared on three of Invicta’s four events in 2015, gaining impressive wins over J.J. Aldrich and Amy Montenegro. She remains one of the strawweight division’s top prospects despite ending the year with that defeat to Jacobson.

40) Colleen Schneider (9-6)
2015 record: 3-1
Most notable win: Jingnan Xiong (Kunlun Fight 26)
Being submitted by Irene Aldana in little more than a minute in February was not the start to 2015 that Colleen Schneider had in mind when the year began. Her reaction to that defeat could not have been better, embarking on a world tour that saw her pick up wins in China, Mexico and Japan. In June Schneider handed Jingnan Xiong her only career defeat, and followed that up with wins over Diana Reyes and Bryanna Fissori. Schneider returns to the Invicta cage January 16 to face Raquel Pa’aluhi.

39) Kyra Batara (4-3)
2015 record: 3-1
Most notable win: Celine Haga (FFL Epic Evolution)
The female face of Campbell McLaren’s Combate Americas, Kyra Batara showed signs in 2015 that she can become a serious force at 105 pounds. The 21-year-old started the year trading wins and losses with Celine Haga and Kaiyana Rain. After beating the former, and losing to the latter, Batara made her Combate Americas debut in September against Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc. Batara defeated her more experienced opponent by decision, then followed that up with a third round stoppage of Liz McCarthy in December.

38) Katlyn Chookagian (5-0)
2015 record: 3-0
Most notable win: Defeating Linn Wennergren and Melinda Fabian in one night
After an impressive run as an amateur that saw her win seven straight, including a win over Andrea “KGB” Lee, Katlyn Chookagian found opponents hard to come by. Then two came along in one night when she beat Linn Wennergren and Melinda Fabian in a one-night tournament in Hungary in May. The exciting flyweight rounded off her year by beating decorated grappler Sijara Eubanks in October. Her breakout year as a pro could have been even more impressive, had a July bout with Ingrid Medrano not fallen through due to pre weigh-in weight issues for Chookagian.

37) Arlene Blencowe (7-5)
2015 record: 2-1
Most notable win: Gabrielle Holloway (Bellator 146)
Progress has generally been slow for Bellator’s 145 pound division since its introduction in 2014, but Australian featherweight Arlene Blencowe has been given more opportunity than most. The pro-boxer blasted out MMA veteran Adrienna Jenkins in one round in May to win her Bellator debut. A major step up in competition in August saw Blencowe submitted by Marloes Coenen, but she rebounded with her second win inside the Bellator cage, beating top ten featherweight Gabby Holloway in November to make it 2-1 for the year.

36) Marloes Coenen (23-6)
2015 record: 1-0
Most notable win: Arlene Blencowe (Bellator 141)
The clear number two at 145 pounds — behind Cris Cyborg — Marloes Coenen had the ninth 100% year of her long career in 2015. The only sadness was that we only got to see Coenen compete once, not least because when we did see her perform she looked outstanding. Facing tough Australian scrapper Arlene Blencowe in August, Coenen controlled the majority of the fight and eventually submitted her opponent in the second round.

35) Vanessa Porto (18-6)
2015 record: 1-0
Most notable win: Roxanne Modafferi (Invicta FC 12)
With Invicta’s flyweight champion Barb Honchak putting the division on hold throughout 2015, Vanessa Porto did not get the title shot she was hoping for in the second half of the year. Her lone fight for 2015 was an impressive win over the continuously-improving Roxanne Modafferi in April. That win made it three straight for the Brazilian, and cemented her spot as the number two flyweight in the world.

34) Maryna Moroz (6-1)
2015 record: 1-1
Most notable win: Joanne Calderwood (UFC Fight Night 64)
Entering 2015 as a complete unknown, Maryna Moroz crushed Joanne Calderwood’s title aspirations in April when she took less than two minutes to submit Scotland’s favorite fighter. It was a breathtaking debut that catapulted Moroz from obscurity into UFC title contention. The Ukrainian came up short against Valerie Letourneau in August and missed out on a title shot, but was competitive throughout and suggested she remains one of the bigger prospects in the strawweight division.

33) Irina Mazepa (2-0)
2015 record: 2-0
Most notable win: Ann Osman (ONE Championship – Tigers of Asia)
Russian six-time Wushu world champion Irina Mazepa only made her professional MMA debut in October, but quickly assumed the role of hype killer. Served up as fodder for ONE Championship’s Malaysian superstar Ann Osman, Mazepa executed one of the year’s most memorable knockouts to put herself on the map. Two months later Mazepa was back in the ONE cage defeating their other notable flyweight Ana Julaton.

32) Raquel Pennington (6-5)
2015 record: 1-1
Most notable win: Jessica Andrade (UFC 191)
The Ultimate Fighter 18 semi-finalist Raquel Pennington had the honor of welcoming Holly Holm to the octagon for the first time in February at UFC 184. Pennington pushed Holm all the way before ending up on the wrong end of a razor thin decision. While we might not have realised it at the time, that performance seems all the more impressive given what Holm went on to achieve throughout the rest of 2015. In September “Rocky” seized the opportunity to avenge a previous defeat, submitting Jessica Andrade in the second round of their UFC 191 bout.

31) Angela Lee (4-0)
2015 record: 4-0
Most notable win: Lena Tkhorevska (ONE Championship – Spirit of Champions)
2015 was a great year for ONE Championship, with a number of new stars emerging. Perhaps nobody’s stock rose more inside their cage than Angela Lee’s. Four fights from May through December equalled four wins. Aya Saber, Mona Samir, Natalie Gonzales Hills and Lena Tkhorevska were all defeated, with only Tkhorevska making it out of the first round. The Evolve Fight Team strawweight was a submission machine throughout 2015, forcing all four of her opponents to tap. The most impressive of those was the twister with which Lee subbed Gonzales Hills in November, a finish that is guaranteed to remain on her highlight reel for the rest of her career.

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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando

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The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.

First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)

Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.

Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.

Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.

In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.

UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira

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