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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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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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