History was made in July with the inception of the UFC’s newly-formed 115-pound women’s strawweight division and two fighters have already established themselves as top contenders for a shot at the UFC women’s strawweight championship in 2015.
On July 16, in the UFC’s first women’s strawweight fight, decorated BJJ black belt Claudia Gadelha (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made a successful octagon debut by defeating Finnish prospect Tina Lahdemaki (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in an entertaining three-round battle at “UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs. Miller” in Atlantic City, N.J. The fight took place on the untelevised preliminary card, but it nevertheless drew high praise from UFC President Dana White.
As expected, Lahdemaki proved to be a solid test for Gadelha on the feet and on the mat, but the Brazilian’s ability to control the fight from top position ultimately propelled her to victory.
Following a striking exchange early in Round 1, Gadelha slammed Lahdemaki to the mat and she used ground and pound to set up a move to mount. Lahdemaki was forced to give up her back and Gadelha attempted a pair of neck cranks late in the round, but Lahdemaki defended well and made it to the bell.
Gadelha scored more takedowns in Rounds 2 and 3, but Lahdemaki was active off of her back and she landed some solid strikes on the feet that cut Gadelha on the bridge of the nose in the middle stanza. Just as Lahdemaki began to build some momentum with right hooks late in the final round, Gadelha took her back down and she kept her there until the end of the bout.
After three hard-fought rounds of action, the judges returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Gadelha with scores of 30-26 and 30-27 twice. The talented 25-year-old has yet to taste defeat in her career and she is unquestionably one MMA’s premier female fighters at 115 pounds.
Thanks to her impressive performance in her UFC debut, Gadelha looks to be in line for a strawweight title eliminator bout before the end of the year. Lahdemaki, who did well in defeat, is hoping to land a spot on the upcoming UFC card in Stockholm, Sweden on Oct. 4.
Also on the UFC Fight Night 45 preliminary card, popular bantamweight Leslie Smith (7-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) notched her first UFC victory with a commanding first-round stoppage of “TUF 18? quarterfinalist Jessamyn Duke (3-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC).
Smith opened the brief fight with lead left hooks and right hands that backed Duke up. Duke fired back with an uppercut and she caught one of Smith’s kicks, but Smith freed her leg and unloaded with punches, knees and a head kick. She continued to attack with knees and more punches to the liver until Duke finally collapsed to the canvas and the fight was stopped. The official time of Smith’s TKO victory came at the 2:24 mark of Round 1.
Ten days after Gadelha and Lahdemaki took part in the UFC’s first 115-pound female fight, the strawweights returned to the cage at “UFC on FOX 12: Lawler vs. Brown” in San Jose, Calif. Polish striking sensation Joanna Jedrzejczyk (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) kicked off her UFC career with a unanimous decision victory over Brazil’s Juliana de Lima Carneiro (6-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC).
Jedrzejczyk was taken down very briefly in the early stages of Round 1, but she quickly returned to her feet and her takedown defense was solid from that point forward. Lima worked to get the fight back down to the ground throughout the opening five minutes, but Jedrzejczyk stayed on her feet against the cage and she landed some nice left and right hooks before time expired.
Round 2 easily went to the Polish fighter, who continued to mix up her strikes with overhand rights and left hooks to the body while thwarting Lima’s takedown attempts. As the round progressed, Jedrzejczyk landed body kicks, knees and a standing elbow. Lima tried for another takedown, but Jedrzejczyk stuffed it and scored with a front kick to the face.
Jedrzejczyk remained very aggressive with her strikes in Round 3 and it was clear that she was not content to coast to a decision victory. She landed more overhand rights, but Lima finally managed to secure a body-lock takedown and she got the fight back down to the ground. From there, Lima transitioned from side control to a top-side guillotine choke attempt. Jedrzejczyk escaped to her feet and she landed short knees in close before the final bell sounded.
Lima’s late-fight rally was not enough to steal back the fight, and the judges returned scores of 29-28 and 30-27 twice for Jedrzejczyk, who took the unanimous decision win.
The 26-year-old striker may not have long to savor her victory, however, as the UFC is currently targeting a strawweight title eliminator bout between Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha for later this year. An exact date has not yet been established for the proposed bout, but it could take place as early as November. The winner of the Gadelha-Jedrzejczyk fight would then move on to challenge the winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 20? for the UFC women’s strawweight title.
UFC adds three women’s bantamweight bouts to upcoming cards
While the female strawweights have recently taken center stage in the UFC, the promotion has not forgotten about its women’s bantamweight division. Three 135-pound female fights have been added to the upcoming UFC event schedule including a likely title eliminator between Cat Zingano (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Brazilian knockout artist Amanda Nunes (9-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who is coming off of back-to-back first-round stoppage wins. The fight takes place at “UFC 178: Jones vs. Cormier” on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas.
Zingano became the number one contender for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship this past year following a third-round stoppage of Miesha Tate at the TUF 17 Finale, but a serious knee injury and the tragic death of her husband have since kept Zingano on the sidelines. Now fully healed, she looks to regain her contender status with a win over Nunes.
Zingano and Nunes are known as two of the most aggressive fighters in the women’s bantamweight division and the pair has combined to earn 16 wins inside the distance. In Zingano’s April 2013 UFC debut, she overcame a slow start against Tate and finished the former Strikeforce champion with a series of knees and a vicious elbow midway through Round 3.
Nunes enjoyed a rapid rise to stardom while competing for Strikeforce in 2011, but convincing losses in two of her next three fights against Alexis Davis and Sarah D’Alelio left Nunes in need of a big victory in order to remain in bantamweight title contention. Since debuting for the UFC this past August, Nunes has returned to the form that led her to dominant wins in six of her first seven fights. She easily dispatched of Sheila Gaff at UFC 163 and made it two-for-two inside the octagon by stopping Germaine de Randamie in November.
Before Zingano and Nunes square off in September, Russian standout Milana Dudieva (10-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will make her long-awaited UFC debut against Elizabeth Phillips (4-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at “UFC Fight Night 48: Bisping vs. Le” on Aug. 23 in Cotai, Macau. Dudieva was set to compete at UFC 174 this past month, but visa issues forced her off of the card and she was ultimately replaced by Phillips, who dropped a split decision to Valerie Letourneau.
Dudieva found herself one win away from a UFC contract in April 2013, but back-to-back losses to current UFC rising star Jessica Andrade and Swedish prospect Pannie Kianzad delayed the Russian’s journey to the octagon. She rebounded with a pair of quick submission wins this year and, with visa problems hopefully in the past, now makes her UFC debut next month.
Phillips bounced back from a one-sided TKO loss to Miriam Nakamoto in her pro debut by racking up four straight victories for the Conquest of the Cage promotion including three wins inside the distance. Her May 30 victory over Katie Howard earned her a short-notice opportunity with the UFC and she stepped in to challenge fellow late replacement Letourneau at UFC 174. Though she started strong, Phillips began to tire and slow down as the fight progressed, and Letourneau took advantage with precise striking en route to victory.
Last but not least, the aforementioned Jessica Andrade (11-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Valerie Letourneau (6-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) are set to square off at “UFC Fight Night 51: Bigfoot vs. Arlovski” on Sept. 13 in Brasilia, Brazil. Andrade was viewed by some as an unlikely contender at bantamweight due to her small stature, but she has proven many critics wrong during her brief UFC career with wins in two of her three bouts. The 22-year-old is coming off of triumphs over Rosi Sexton and Raquel Pennington and looks to continue her climb up the rankings.
Letourneau initially planned to earn a contract with the UFC by winning “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” but those hopes were dashed when she was submitted by Roxanne Modafferi in the elimination round. She remained on the sidelines until May when she returned to action and quickly defeated a vastly overmatched Jordan Moore. Letourneau then stepped in on short notice to make her UFC debut in her home country of Canada at UFC 174 and showcased her technical striking skills in victory over Elizabeth Phillips.
Invicta FC 8 announced for Sept. 6, streams on UFC Fight Pass
Following many months of delays, Invicta Fighting Championships 8 has at last received a date and location. The all-female fight card takes place on Sept. 6 at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., and features a pair of championship fights.
Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (11-3), who has not fought since she won the title in April 2013, returns to the cage to defend against former Valkyrie champion Yasuko Tamada (15-8-3) in the 105-pound main event.
Waterson became the second Invicta FC atomweight titleholder when she submitted heavily-favored champion Jessica Penne in the Invicta FC 5 headliner. She has won nine of her past 10 fights and is 3-0 at atomweight since returning to the sport in 2012 following the birth of her daughter. Waterson was originally in talks to face reigning Deep Jewels featherweight champ Seo Hee Ham at Invicta FC 8, but Ham’s team requested a non-title fight before challenging Waterson for the championship in order to first build up a fan base with Invicta FC. Ham will likely make her debut against another member of the Invicta FC roster later this year.
Tamada brings a wealth of experience into her Invicta FC debut and she has already battled many of the sport’s top female fighters in the lighter weight classes. In June 2010, Tamada became the first and only Valkyrie flyweight champion at 100 pounds, but she struggled after Valkyrie’s collapse and dropped four straight fights in succession. She has fared much better in recent bouts, however, and has put together a solid three-fight winning streak. Tamada has never been stopped in her career, but she has only finished two opponents thus far.
The newly-vacant Invicta FC strawweight championship will also be up for grabs at Invicta FC 8 when former XFC champion Stephanie Eggink (4-1) makes her promotional debut against Finnish standout Katja Kankaanpaa (9-1-1) in the co-main event.
Eggink has established herself as a rising star in the 115-pound women’s division thanks to three straight victories over formidable opponents. She captured the XFC women’s strawweight title in September by submitting current “TUF 20? cast member Angela Magana with a second-round triangle choke. When XFC lost its U.S. TV deal, Eggink received her release and signed on with Invicta FC. She looks to add a second championship title to her collection in September.
Kankaanpaa is no stranger to Invicta FC fans and she has already engaged in a pair of three-round contests for the promotion. At Invicta FC 5, Kankaanpaa handed recent UFC signee Juliana de Lima Carneiro her first loss, but it was Kankaanpaa who tasted defeat for the first time when she returned to Invicta FC in December. At Invicta FC 7, she was narrowly outpointed by Joanne Calderwood, who is now viewed as one of the favorites to win “TUF 20.” Kankaanpaa bounced back with a win over Ukrainian prospect Alyona Rassohyna in May and she returns to Invicta FC in search of one of her biggest victories to date.
Elsewhere on the card, Ediane Gomes (10-2), who was originally slated to challenge Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane Justino, instead drops down to 135 pounds to face hard-hitting wrestler Tonya Evinger (14-5) in what will likely serve as a title eliminator for the recently vacated Invicta FC bantamweight title. Gomes is 2-0 under the Invicta FC banner and she has not lost a fight since she was submitted by reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in March 2011. Evinger is currently riding a four-fight winning streak that includes key victories over Carina Damm and Sarah D’Alelio. Of her 14 career wins, 11 have come inside the distance, and she put on an excellent performance in her Invicta FC debut.
Long-time friends and in-cage rivals Roxanne Modafferi (15-11) and Tara LaRosa (21-4) will face off for a third time in a featured flyweight bout at Invicta FC 8. LaRosa won the pair’s first meeting in March 2006 and Modafferi evened the score in the May 2010 rematch. However, Modafferi has suffered six straight defeats since then, while LaRosa is coming off of back-to-back setbacks. The trilogy fight won’t determine an immediate title contender in the Invicta FC flyweight division, but fans of the veteran fighters are nevertheless interested in seeing a third and deciding bout between the two pioneers of the sport.
In other action at Invicta FC 8, Michelle Ould (7-3) looks to extend her winning streak to four when she takes on rising star DeAnna Bennett (4-0) in a flyweight bout. Ould earned her biggest win to date when she defeated fellow Invicta FC fighter Munah Holland at Bellator 74 in September 2012, but the collapse of Bellator’s women’s divisions and subsequent injuries have kept Ould out of action since then. Bennett has finished three of her four pro opponents and she holds wins over “TUF 18? winner Julianna Pena and Colleen Schneider, who also tried out for the show. The Utah native is one of the flyweight division’s brightest prospects.
Xtreme Kombat champions Irene Aldana (3-1) and Alexa Grasso (4-0) will both make their Invicta FC debuts in September. The Mexican teammates are slated to face Peggy Morgan (2-1) and Ashley Cummins (3-2), respectively, in bantamweight and strawweight bouts.
Aldana opened her pro career with three devastating highlight-reel knockout victories – all inside the first minute of Round 1 – and she captured the Xtreme Kombat women’s bantamweight title in October. In her most recent bout, she was stopped by unbeaten Jungle Fights champion Larissa Moreira Pacheco. Morgan, a former featherweight who holds a key win over Revelina Berto, dropped down to 135 pounds in order to compete on “TUF 18,” but she was unable to advance past the quarterfinal round. She most recently took part in the TUF 18 Finale in November, but dropped a unanimous decision to fellow castmate Jessamyn Duke.
Grasso, much like her teammate Aldana, has also knocked out three opponents to date inside the first minute. She became the Xtreme Kombat women’s flyweight champion in August and now drops down in weight to 115 pounds for her U.S. debut. Her opponent, Cummins, was once one of the strawweight division’s top prospects, but a vicious loss to Joanne Calderwood and a controversial decision defeat against “TUF 20? cast member Emily Kagan have served as setbacks. The St. Louis police officer now looks to return to her winning ways in September.
Rounding out the card, Jodie Esquibel (3-1) takes on Sugar Creek Showdown women’s atomweight champion Jinh Yu Frey (2-0) at 105 pounds. In the inaugural Invicta FC lightweight bout, knockout artist Veronica Rothenhausler (1-0), who was pulled from the Invicta FC 6 card after collapsing while cutting weight, looks for a fresh start in a new division when she takes on Charmaine Tweet (5-4). Multi-time amateur champion J.J. Aldrich (7-4 amateur, 0-0 pro) makes her 115-pound pro debut against Sugar Creek Showdown women’s flyweight champion Delaney Owen (7-2 amateur, 2-0 pro), who has posted submission wins in both of her pro bouts to date.
For the first time, Invicta FC 8 will stream live on UFC Fight Pass as part of an agreement between Zuffa and Invicta FC officials. The move was made in hopes of attracting greater exposure for the fighters on the Invicta FC roster before some move on to compete in the UFC.
Holly Holm signs with UFC, fall debut possible
Former pound-for-pound boxing queen Holly Holm (7-0 MMA, 33-2-3 boxing) has at last found her way to the UFC octagon. The elite striker signed with the UFC in July and may make her promotional debut before the end of 2014.
Talks between Holm’s management and UFC brass broke down earlier this year when the two sides could not come to a financial agreement. However, with few top contenders left to challenge UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, the two sides re-entered talks and a deal was struck to bring Holm to the UFC. The reigning Legacy FC women’s bantamweight champion has thus far torn through the competition since her MMA debut in March 2011. She has knocked out six opponents to date – five of them with kicks – and scored her biggest victory in April when she stopped Brazilian kickboxer Juliana Werner at Legacy FC 30.
Holm’s striking skills are matched by extremely few women in the world and she is unquestionably one of the very best female strikers competing in MMA today. Her ground game remains a complete mystery, however, and the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division includes a number of highly skilled grapplers. Not the least of whom is Rousey, who has destroyed most of her opponents in a matter of seconds including Alexis Davis at UFC 175.
While Holm may not be ready for an immediate title shot, the UFC clearly hopes that the Albuquerque native will be able to fight her way up the ranks for a future superfight against Rousey. A date and opponent for Holm’s much-anticipated UFC debut have not yet been set.
Nine bouts set for Deep Jewels 5 card
A total of nine bouts are now set for Deep Jewels 5, which takes place on Aug. 9 in Tokyo. The all-female fight card is headlined by a Deep Jewels lightweight (52-kilogram/114.4-pound) championship rematch between interim champ Emi Tomimatsu and teen prodigy Mizuki Inoue.
Tomimatsu (7-7) and Inoue (7-2) first faced off at Deep Jewels 3 in February in what was intended to be a championship fight. However, Inoue’s inability to make weight resulted in a disqualification loss even though she ultimately submitted Tomimatsu in the bout itself. Tomimatsu, who was named as the Deep Jewels interim lightweight champion prior to Deep Jewels 3, has stated that she is not content to hold the interim belt and she wants to prove that she is the real champion by defeating Inoue in the rematch.
In spite of her controversial loss in February, Inoue remains one of the brightest female prospects to ever come out of Japan. In addition to her success in MMA, Inoue is also a two-time winner of the 53.5-kilogram division of the prestigious Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup tournament, and she is renowned for her technical striking skills. This past July, Inoue made her Invicta FC debut and defeated current “TUF 20? competitor Bec Rawlings. Inoue remains signed to Invicta FC, but it is believed that she will move on to the UFC if she is able to capture the Deep Jewels title from Tomimatsu next month.
In other featured MMA action at Deep Jewels 5, former Jewels champions collide when ex-lightweight champ Ayaka Hamasaki (9-1) takes on one-time featherweight titleholder Naho Sugiyama (10-3). The bout will be contested in the Deep Jewels featherweight (48-kilogram/105.6-pound) division and is Hamasaki’s first fight back since she took a year off from fighting to nurse injuries that were aggravated in her Invicta FC 6 loss to Claudia Gadelha.
Hamasaki has already defeated many of Asia’s best female fighters including Mizuki Inoue, Yuka Tsuji and reigning Deep Jewels featherweight champion Seo Hee Ham (twice). Having conquered one division, she now moves down in weight in hopes of setting up a third fight with Ham for the Deep Jewels title next year. She must first get past Sugiyama, who has also totaled key wins during her career in Japan. Her most notable victories came against Misaki Takimoto (twice) and upcoming Invicta FC title challenger Yasuko Tamada (twice), and she is 2-0 under the Deep Jewels banner. A victory over Hamasaki could earn Sugiyama a rematch with Ham, who narrowly defeated her for the Jewels featherweight queen championship in May 2013.
Deep Jewels poster girl Shizuka Sugiyama (11-4-1) also seeks a fresh start in a new division at Deep Jewels 5. Sugiyama, who was stopped by Takayo Hashi in a middleweight (61.2-kilogram/134.6-pound) title fight at Deep Jewels 4, drops down to the newly-formed Deep Jewels welterweight (56.7-kilogram/124.7-pound) division to face South Korean striker Hyo Kyung Song (1-4), who picked up her first MMA win this past weekend. Sugiyama’s six-fight unbeaten streak was snapped by the loss to Hashi, but she could find herself back in title contention in a new division if she can defeat Song next month.
Rounding out the MMA portion of Deep Jewels 5, grappling specialist Yuko Oya (7-3) faces Sachiko Fujimori (3-0), Masako Yoshida (18-19-5) battles Mina Kurobe (2-0), and Miyoko Kusaka (4-8-1) takes on Tamaki Usui (1-0). The event also features three grappling matches pitting Saori Ishioka against Yukiko Seki, Satomi Takano against Ayaka Miura, and Yoshiko Kimata against Sayuri Yamaguchi.
Carew retains pinweight title, Rose Clark captures bantamweight crown at Roshambo MMA 3
Roshambo women’s pinweight champion Shauna Carew successfully defended her 100-pound title with a quick submission victory on July 26 at Roshambo MMA 3 in Chandler, Queensland, Australia. The once-beaten Carew (4-1) finished Ginny Connors (1-3) with a first-round rear-naked choke in one of two female title fights on the card.
Carew cut Connors with an early flurry of punches and she followed with more strikes on the ground after taking Connors down. Connors was forced to give up her back as Carew rained down punches and Carew locked on a rear-naked choke for the tapout win at the 2:08 mark of Round 1. Carew has won three straight fights since suffering her lone career defeat in February 2013 and she is now 2-0 under the Roshambo MMA banner.
Rising star Jessy Rose Clark (5-1) captured the vacant Roshambo women’s bantamweight title with a five-round unanimous decision victory over last-minute replacement opponent Rhiannon Thompson (4-1), who moved up in weight and took the fight on one day’s notice when Clark’s original opponent, Lana Kate, withdrew from the card.
Clark controlled the fight with takedowns in all five rounds and she threatened with submission attempts and ground and pound on the mat. Thompson landed some nice strikes on the feet and she stuffed some of Clark’s takedowns in the later rounds, but Clark’s wrestling proved to be the deciding factor and she kept Thompson pinned on the mat throughout much of Round 5. All three judges scored the bout for Clark, who has won three straight title fights.
In other action at Roshambo MMA 3, Megan Anderson (2-1) overcame a point deduction and took a three-round majority decision victory over Kerry Barrett (1-2).
Taila Santos (3-0) def. Geisyele Nascimento (0-2) via KO (head kick) at the 30-second mark of Round 1 at University of Champions on July 5 in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil. Santos has knocked out back-to-back opponents this year.
Betina Baino (2-2) def. Kelly Katiussy (0-1) via split decision at Adrenalina Fighting Panambi on July 12 in Panambi, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Baino has earned decision victories in each of her past two fights. Katiussy looks to rebound from the loss when she competes again on Aug. 10.
Alice Smith Yauger (1-2) def. Shannon Sinn (1-1) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) at “Sparta Combat League: Heat” on July 18 in Castle Rock, Colo. The action-packed fight was contested almost entirely on the feet and both women landed hard punches that damaged each other’s eyes. Smith Yauger scored her first pro win with a strong performance.
Jessica Medeiros de Andrade (2-1) def. Nayara Hemily (0-2) via unanimous decision at Coliseu Fight Championship 2 on July 19 in Rio de Janeiro. Medeiros de Andrade got back on the winning track with the three-round victory after suffering her first pro loss in December.
Adriana Del Vigna (1-0) def. Vanessa Goes (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 2:48 mark of Round 1 at Imbituba MMA Fight 2014 on July 19 in Imbituba, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Del Vigna, an experienced Muay Thai striker, made a successful pro MMA debut with the quick stoppage win.
Tania Pereda (2-0) def. Karina Gonzalez (0-1-1) via submission (armbar) at the 4:19 mark of Round 1 at Xtreme Kombat 24 on July 19 in Naucalpan de Juarez, Mexico. Pereda has earned key wins in both of her fights this year. She upset Anely Jimenez at Xtreme Kombat 22 in March.
Rebecca Ruth Gullet (2-0) def. Mandy Polk (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 3:39 mark of Round 1 at “Shamrock Promotions: Collision” on July 19 in St. Louis. Gullet overwhelmed Polk with strikes throughout the opening round en route to the standing TKO victory.
Kristi Lopez (2-0) def. Katie Castro (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 26-second mark of Round 1 at “Xplode Fight Series: Cerebral” on July 19 in Valley Center, Calif. Lopez scored a takedown very early in the fight and she flurried with punches from the top for the quick TKO win. The 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu fighter, who went 3-1 as an amateur, remains perfect in her young pro career.
Also on the Xplode Fight Series card, Sharon Jacobson (1-1) def. Aleeta Munion (0-1) via TKO (slam and punches) at the 44-second mark of Round 1. Jacobson teed off with punches right away, but Munion weathered the storm and remained on her feet. Jacobson then slammed her to the ground and landed a final barrage of punches for the stoppage win.
Tatiana Padilla Suarez (1-0) def. Tyra Parker (4-5) via unanimous decision at “Gladiator Challenge: Night of the Champions” on July 19 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Padilla Suarez, a two-time world team medalist in women’s freestyle wrestling, outgrappled Parker throughout the 15-minute fight. Parker attempted submissions from her back, but Padilla Suarez held dominant positions in all three rounds and took home the Gladiator Challenge women’s flyweight title.
Katie Howard (3-2) def. Amy Cadwell Montenegro (3-1) via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) at CageSport 31 on July 19 in Tacoma, Wash. Howard rebounded from her loss to a much larger Elizabeth Phillips in late May by handing Cadwell Montenegro her first professional defeat.
Also at CageSport 31, Emily Corso (3-0) def. Hadley Griffith (1-2) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 1:52 mark of Round 1. Corso has submitted all three of her pro opponents inside the first round and only one of her fights has lasted longer than two minutes.
Marion Reneau (4-1) def. Maureen Riordon (0-1) via submission (armbar) at the 4:15 mark of Round 1 at “Resurrection Fighting Alliance 16: Copeland vs. Jorgensen” on July 25 in Broomfield, Colo. Reneau has finished three straight opponents in the first round.
Hyo Kyung Song (1-4) def. Hazuki Kimura (0-1) via TKO (corner stoppage) at the 2:10 mark of Round 2 at Road Fighting Championship 16 on July 26 in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea. Song mauled her smaller opponent with ground and pound and submission attempts throughout the fight until Kimura’s corner was forced to throw in the towel in the second round. Song will next face Shizuka Sugiyama at Deep Jewels 5 on Aug. 9.
Lacie Jackson (2-2) def. Rena Pena (0-2) via submission (armbar) in Round 1 at Global Fighting Alliance 26 on July 26 in Alexandria, La. This bout marked Jackson’s first fight back since her one-sided knockout loss to Tonya Evinger more than two years ago. The 21-year-old earned her first finish with the submission victory.
Holly Cline (2-0) def. Jordan Moore (0-2) via submission (arm-triangle choke) at the 1:45 mark of Round 1 at “Extreme Combat Challenge: Fireworks” on July 26 in Indianapolis. Cline has won back-to-back fights under the ECC banner this year. In her March pro debut, she defeated former amateur champion Jen Aniano.
MMAjunkie.com publishes the Women’s MMA Report every few weeks. Its author, Robert Sargent, is a veteran MMA journalist who also runs MMARising.com. Feel free to email us at news [AT] mmajunkie.com with any questions, news tips or suggestions.