Highly touted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis made a successful UFC debut earlier this month, but her victory didn’t come as easily as some had predicted. Davis narrowly outpointed Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton in a main-card bout at UFC 161, which took place June 15 in Winnipeg.
Davis (14-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) got off to a strong start in Round 1 and landed some nice knees in the clinch. Sexton (13-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) reversed a takedown and wound up in Davis’ guard. Davis trapped the British veteran in a tight triangle choke, but Sexton refused to submit and landed some hard right hands in the final minute.
Sexton secured a takedown in the second round and landed ground and pound until Davis kicked off of the cage and took top position. She landed knees to the body and took Sexton’s back. Davis was unable to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke, but she blasted Sexton with numerous punches from back control as referee Herb Dean kept a close eye on the action.
The fighters scrambled in Round 3, and Davis used a heel-hook attempt to set up a transition to Sexton’s back. She threatened with more rear-naked choke attempts, but Sexton continued to display excellent submission defense and eventually turned into Davis’ guard. Davis finished the fight on top, and her positional control on the ground was enough to win her the round.
All three cageside judges scored the fight 29-28 for Davis, whose career came full circle with her return to Winnipeg. The 28-year-old made her MMA debut in the city in April 2007.
UFC announces two more female fights for summer events
In the wake of Davis’ successful UFC debut, another Canadian standout also will look to make an impact when she competes inside the octagon for the first time.
Former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman (16-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who holds two victories over Davis, will face one of her toughest opponents to date when she takes on 2004 Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX Sports 1 2. The event takes place Aug. 28 in Indianapolis.
In February 2010 Kaufman became the first Strikeforce women’s champion at 135 pounds. She made one successful title defense via highlight-reel slam knockout of Roxanne Modafferi before relinquishing the belt to Marloes “Rumina” Coenen. Kaufman’s quest to regain the title ended in defeat to Ronda Rousey this past August, but she has won four of her past five fights. Most recently, Kaufman earned a razor-thin split-decision victory over Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith at Invicta FC 5 in April. The action-packed bout was named “Fight of the Night.”
Unlike UFC women’s bantamweight champion Rousey, McMann has not experienced the same meteoric rise to stardom as her fellow Olympian, but she has already scored a number of key wins. After opening her pro career with a 5-0 record that included decision victories over Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger and Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano, McMann debuted for Invicta FC on the promotion’s second card. She narrowly defeated submission specialist Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler in a “Fight of the Night” winner.
The victory over Baszler earned McMann a spot on the UFC roster, and she made a successful debut in April by dominating Sheila “The German Tank” Gaff en route to a first-round TKO triumph at UFC 159. A win over former Strikeforce champ Kaufman would place McMann on a short list of top contenders for Rousey’s UFC title.
In a second UFC women’s bout announced this month, the aforementioned Gaff (10-5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will welcome fellow striker Amanda “Lioness of the Ring” Nunes (7-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) to the octagon at UFC 163. The event will be held on Aug. 3 in Rio de Janeiro.
Gaff dropped down to 125 pounds in 2011 after suffering a close decision loss to Milana Dudieva at bantamweight. She racked up three straight first-round knockout victories – two of them in 10 seconds or less – and had been in line to compete for the inaugural Cage Warriors women’s flyweight title this past October. An illness forced Gaff out of the fight, but she received a call from the UFC and made her promotional debut against McMann in April. The Olympian out-grappled Gaff, who now looks to rebound with a big win in August.
Nunes is also renowned for her vicious knockout power, and she, too, has found success in multiple weight classes. In January 2011, Nunes made her Strikeforce debut at 145 pounds and knocked out contender Julia “The Jewel” Budd in just 14 seconds. Nunes is 1-2 since the victory over Budd, however, and most recently dropped a one-sided decision to Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio at Invicta FC 4. She competes in her home country for the first time since February 2010 when she faces Gaff in Brazil.
Fujii announces Oct. 5 retirement fight at Vale Tudo Japan 3rd
One of MMA’s most legendary female fighters, Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii (26-2), is set to retire from active competition in October. Fujii announced this past weekend that she will compete one final time at Vale Tudo Japan 3rd, which is set for Oct. 5 in Tokyo. An opponent has not yet been named.
Fujii is one of only two MMA fighters to have begun a career with at least 22 consecutive victories. She did so against most of the sport’s top female talent at 115 and 125 pounds. In October 2010, her famed winning streak came to an end at Bellator 34 when she dropped a contentious split decision to Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto Gurgel in the finals of the inaugural Bellator 115-pound women’s title tournament.
Fujii bounced back from the disappointing loss with three victories in Japan, and she then returned to the U.S. to face top-ranked contender Jessica “Jag” Aguilar at Bellator 69. Fujii suffered her second decision defeat in equally contentious fashion, and she hasn’t fought for the promotion since then. In her most recent bout, Fujii scored a close decision win over former Valkyrie champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi at Vale Tudo Japan 1st in December.
The 39-year-old’s decision to end her fighting career comes as little surprise. Fujii first contemplated retirement in early 2010 while battling a number of injuries that continue to bother her today. She would like to get married and start a family, but it’s expected Fujii will remain involved in MMA as a trainer and mentor even after her retirement. She is responsible for training some of Japan’s elite female fighters, including former Smackgirl champion Hitomi Akano, former Valkyrie champion Yasuko Tamada and the first and only Jewels lightweight queen champion, Ayaka Hamasaki.
Regarded as “28-0? by many fans, Fujii has been a pioneer for women in MMA for close to a decade, and her legacy in the sport will live in well past her retirement fight in October.
Invicta FC adds televised PPV option for July 13 event
Invicta Fighting Championships stages its sixth all-female fight card on July 13, and fans will have new viewing options available for the upcoming event. In addition to online PPV on Ustream, the promotion announced this past week that Invicta FC 6 also will be available on cable and satellite PPV. In the U.S., iN Demand, DISH Network and Avila-TVN will carry the event. Canadian viewers with Bell satellite TV can also tune in to watch the PPV. All viewers, including those in the U.S. and Canada, can still purchase the event online at Ustream.
Invicta FC 6 is headlined by a much-anticipated rematch between former Strikeforce champions Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (11-1) and Marloes “Rumina” Coenen (21-5), who vie for the inaugural Invicta FC featherweight title. Justino stopped Coenen in the third round of their January 2010 Strikeforce title fight. Coenen dropped down to 135 pounds and captured the promotion’s women’s bantamweight championship nine months later. She headlined Invicta FC’s debut card and most recently scored a first-round submission win over Fiona Muxlow in December.
Untimely injuries have resulted in a number of changes to the latest Invicta FC card. Scottish striker Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (6-0), who originally was booked to face Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha, has received another new opponent after replacement foe Sarah “White Tiger” Schneider suffered an injury this past week. Calderwood now meets unbeaten Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA prospect Norma Rueda Center (2-0), who steps in on short notice.
Invicta FC 6 takes place on July 13 at Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.
The full Invicta FC 6 fight card includes:
- 145 title: Marloes “Rumina” Coenen (21-5) vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (11-1)
- 115: Ayaka Hamasaki (9-0) vs. Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha (10-0)
- 135: Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio (7-3) vs. Lauren Taylor (6-0)
- 125: Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (5-3-1) vs. Jennifer Maia (7-2-1)
- 105: Jessica Penne (10-2) vs. Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc (8-6)
- 115: Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (6-0) vs. Norma Rueda Center (2-0)
- 145: Ediane “India” Gomes (10-2) vs. Julia “The Jewel” Budd (5-2)
- 115: Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt (5-2) vs. Mizuki Inoue (5-1)
- 135: “The Queen of Mean” Miriam Nakamoto (1-0) vs. “Diamond” Duda Yankovich (1-1)
- 115: “Thug” Rose Namajunas (2-0) vs. Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (2-0)
- 115: Ashley “Smashley” Cummins (3-1) vs. Emily Kagan (2-1)
- 145: “Miss” Mollie Estes (1-2) vs. Veronica “The Heartbreaker” Rothenhausler (1-0)
- 105: Cassie “The Hulk” Robb (0-1) vs. Livia “T-Rex” von Plettenberg (1-1)
Ohio Athletic Commission suspends Damm
Brazilian veteran Carina “Barbie” Damm (18-9) has been suspended for the second time by a state athletic commission for an infraction related to drug testing. The 34-year-old was first suspended by the CSAC in 2008 after testing positive for elevated levels of the anabolic steroid nandrolone. In her latest offense, Damm is accused of submitting an invalid urine sample just prior to her June 1 decision loss to Jessica “Evil” Eye in Cleveland.
On Friday, Ohio Athletic Commission Executive director Bernie Profato discussed the events surrounding Damm’s pre-fight drug test and subsequent suspension. Damm was required to provide a urine sample during an intermission, which took place shortly before her main event fight against Eye at “NAAFS: Fight Night in the Flats 9.” The sample that Damm provided was said to be “clear” and “cold.”
After lab tests determined that Damm’s provided urine sample wasn’t actually urine, she was issued a six-month suspension and fined a total of $550 ($300 base fine plus $250 to pay for testing costs). Damm plans to appeal the suspension, and she has already resumed fighting in her home country. Two weeks after the loss to Eye, Damm stopped Jessica Suelen with punches in just 49 seconds. She is scheduled to compete again in Brazil next month, but a planned August fight in North Dakota has been scrapped.
Damm is the first female MMA fighter to have been suspended twice for drug test-related infractions and one of very few women to have ever been disciplined at all. While failed drug tests are rare among female fighters, many in the industry – including fellow fighters – who believe that PED use is as common among female fighters as it is among men.
Two women’s GPs booked for MMA Super Heroes 1 on July 13
MMA Super Heroes has booked a pair of four-woman grand prix tournaments for its inaugural event on July 13 in Louveira, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The tournaments will be contested at 115 and 125 pounds, and both feature some of Brazil’s top female prospects.
In one of two flyweight semifinal bouts, Damm (18-9) faces Kalindra Faria (10-3-1) in a rematch from September 2009. Damm stopped Faria in the pair’s first fight, but Faria brings a six-fight winning streak into the rematch. As of now, Damm remains on the MMA Super Heroes card despite her recent suspension from the Ohio Athletic Commission, and it’s believed that she will still compete as planned.
The second flyweight semifinal pits Juliana “Julie” Werner Aguiar (5-3) against short-notice opponent Vanessa Melo (1-0), who stepped in to replace Bethe Correia on the card. Aguiar is a skilled striker with four knockout wins in MMA and extensive experience in both muay Thai and boxing. All three of her defeats came at the hands of recent Invicta FC title challenger Vanessa Porto. Melo made a successful pro debut in 2011 and looks to upset Aguiar next month.
On one side of the strawweight bracket, fast-rising star Kinberly Novaes (6-1) takes on grappling specialist Herica Tiburcio (5-2). Like Aguiar, Novaes is also a talented striker with plenty of experience as a kickboxer. She has won six straight fights since dropping a decision to Invicta FC fighter Juliana Carneiro Lima in her pro debut and holds a notable stoppage victory over UFC signee Jessica Andrade. Tiburcio submitted four of her first five opponents before suffering her first loss in contentious fashion in December. She now looks to rebound from a competitive decision defeat against Claudia Gadelha in May.
In the second strawweight semifinal, Ana Michelle Tavares (7-2) will reportedly make her return to MMA against an opponent to be determined. The highly skilled grappler made headlines in her July 2003 MMA debut when she upset the previously unbeaten Yuka Tsuji in Japan. Tavares went on to score notable wins over Damm, Kyoko Takabayashi and Lisa Ellis, but she has not fought since Smackgirl’s final event in April 2008.
Jin Tang (1-1) def. Lyudmyla Pylypchak (1-2) via submission (armbar) in Round 1 at “Wu Lin Feng: MMA Championship Dubai 2013? on June 6 in Dubai. Tang once again showcased her formidable ground skills in the brief fight. The Chinese fighter is best known for submitting muay Thai standout Tiffany “Timebomb” Van Soest in a June 2011 amateur MMA bout.
Silvaneide “Marretinha” Pereira (2-0) def. Daniela Maria “Dany Fenix” da Silva (1-2) via majority decision at Arena Fight 6 on June 6 in Mossoro, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Pereira kept her unbeaten record intact with the victory while da Silva suffered her second decision defeat.
Rachael “The Panther” Cummins (1-1) def. Maia Kahaunaele (0-2) via submission (armbar) at the 59-second mark of Round 2 at Fight Club OC on June 6 in Mesa, Calif. Cummins earned her first pro win in the fight after dropping a close decision to Norma Rueda Center in March. All three of Cummins’ pro and amateur wins have come via submission.
Manjit Kolekar (4-0) def. Monika Malik (2-2) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in an entertaining rematch at Super Fight League 19 on June 7 in Mumbai. Malik came on strong late in the fight, but Kolekar’s ground control in the first two rounds proved to be just enough to earn her a close decision victory on the scorecards.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (3-0) def. Marta “Mysza” Chojnoska (1-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 1:11 mark of Round 1 at “KSW 23: Khalidov vs. Manhoef” on June 8 in Gdansk, Poland. Kowalkiewicz completely dominated the brief bout and wasted no time in taking Chojnoska’s back once the fight hit the mat. Kowalkiewicz locked on a fight-ending rear-naked choke, and the slick submission win earned her the inaugural KSW 121-pound women’s title.
Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman (9-6) def. Jody Lynn Reicher (0-1) via submission (armbar) at the 28-second mark of Round 1 at “Sparta Combat League: Thunderdome 2? on June 8 in Denver. As most had expected, Schuckman had no trouble defeating the vastly overmatched Reicher, who was making her pro debut at age 50 after a 2-7 run as an amateur. Schuckman took down Reicher early and effortlessly transitioned to the armbar for the quick win.
Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey (1-0) def. Kelly Warren (3-5) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 3:33 mark of Round 1 at “XFC 24: Collision Course” on June 14 in Tampa, Fla. Former Tuff-N-Uff champion Casey followed up on a stellar 6-2 amateur career with an impressive win in her pro debut. She jumped on Warren’s back and locked on a standing rear-naked choke for the tap-out victory. Warren, who missed weight for the third time, has now dropped five straight fights.
Christina “Temerity” Tatnell (2-1) def. Nicole “Mayhem” Maxwell (0-1) via unanimous decision at Valor Fight 5 on June 15 in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. Tatnell has won back-to-back fights this year since suffering a quick loss to Bec Hyatt in October.
Kamila Porczyk (1-0) def. Jana Wagenhuber (1-1) via submission (punches) at the 2:41 mark of Round 1 at “Tempel Fight School: Mix Fight Gala 14? on June 15 in Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany. Three-time Miss Fitness Universe winner Porczyk made a successful MMA debut with the one-sided victory over former “Big Brother” (Germany) contestant Wagenhuber.
Three professional female MMA bouts took place at “Sparta MMA 7: Let’s Do This” on June 15 in Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Claudia Rey (1-0) def. Samantha dal Santo (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 2:11 mark of Round 1. Elaine Albuquerque (5-1) def. Kariny Silva (0-2) via KO (punch) at the 2:33 mark of Round 3. And Janaisa Morandin (1-0) def. Thaiane Souza (0-1) via unanimous decision in a rematch from a March amateur bout. Morandin also defeated Souza via unanimous decision in the pair’s first fight.
Kalindra Faria (10-3-1) def. Alessandra “Cyborguinha” Silva (2-11) via submission (armbar) at the 1:34 mark of Round 1 at Real Fight 9 on June 15 in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Silva stepped into the fight on short notice after Faria’s original opponent, Jessica Andrade, signed with the UFC. Faria earned her second victory over Silva in the rematch and she will next compete in the MMA Super Heroes women’s flyweight tournament next month.
Carina “Barbie” Damm (18-9) def. Jessica Suelen (0-2) via TKO (punches) at the 49-second mark of Round 1 at “MMA Fight Show 2: Teresopolis” on June 15 in Teresopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Damm took down her less experienced opponent and flurried with punches from mount for the quick stoppage victory. She meets Kalindra Faria in a rematch at MMA Super Heroes 1.
Roberta Paim Rovel (2-0) def. Suzy Melo (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 2:45 mark of Round 1 at Full Fight Combat 2 on June 15 in Lajeado, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. It was Paim Rovel’s second first-round stoppage victory in a four-week span.
Nina “The Strina” Ansaroff (5-3) def. late replacement opponent Aylla Caroline Lima da Silva (0-2) via KO (flying knee to the body) at the 1:25 mark of Round 1 at Premier Fight League 10 on June 15 in Serrinha, Bahia, Brazil. After an early exchange of strikes, Ansaroff hurt Lima da Silva with a knee to the body. As her opponent retreated, Ansaroff rushed in with a flying knee to the ribs that dropped Lima da Silva to the mat and ended the fight.
On the same Premier Fight League 10 card, Virna Jandiroba (1-0) def. Joana Santana (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 41-second mark of Round 1. Jandiroba jumped on Santana’s back and dragged her down to the ground early in the fight. She flattened out Santana and quickly secured a rear-naked choke for an impressive victory.
Andressa “Meg” Araujo Rocha (3-0) def. Beatriz Zambonini (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 2:23 mark of Round 1 at 60 Segundos MMA 2 on June 15 in Ponta Pora, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Araujo Rocha scored a takedown early and flurried with punches from the top until Zambonini gave up her back. Araujo Rocha locked on the choke for the win.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (4-0) def. Julia Berezikova (7-4) via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18) at “Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow 12? on June 20 in Moscow. Poland’s Jedrzejczyk put on an excellent performance in the two-round fight. She mixed up her strikes well with kicks and punching combinations and defended against Berezikova’s attempts to take the fight to the ground. Berezikova threatened with submissions from her back in Round 2, but Jedrzejczyk escaped and earned her biggest victory to date.
Celine Haga (5-11) def. Masako Yoshida (16-18-5) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 4:02 mark of Round 1 at Road Fighting Championship 12 on June 22 in Wonju, Gwandong, South Korea. After beginning her career with just one victory in her first 12 fights, Haga has now put together a four-fight winning streak. She previously upset former Jewels champion Naho “Sugi Rock” in a non-title fight in March.
Kelly Faszholz (1-0) def. Kristen “The Automatic” Gatz (0-2) via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 1 at “Cage Combat Fighting Championships: Nor-Cal Conflict” on June 22 in Santa Rosa, Calif. Faszholz earned her first pro win in the fight following a brief stint as an amateur. Gatz went 4-1 in her amateur career, but she remains in search of her first professional victory.
Bethe Correia (5-0) faces Erica Paes (2-1) at Jungle Fight 54 on June 29 in Barra do Pirai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Correia has won all five of her fights since she debuted in May 2012 and is one of Brazil’s top female prospects. Paes, who is the only woman to have ever defeated Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, returned to MMA in April and earned a first-round submission victory. She had not fought since suffering her lone defeat in October 2005.
Keiko Tomita (1-1) faces Seo Ye Jung (0-2) at “King Kaz Fight: Fukuyama” on June 30 in Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan. Tomita earned her first pro win in December when she stopped Yasuko Mogi early in Round 2 at “Jewels: 22nd Ring.” Jung has suffered quick submission losses to Mizuki Inoue and Mei Yamaguchi under the Jewels banner this year.
Catherine Costigan (1-0) faces Vanessa Rico (0-0) at “East Coast Fight Factory: Pure Combat” on June 29 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. Costigan won her pro debut in December 2010. She has been sidelined since then after undergoing neck-fusion surgery to repair injuries. Costigan makes her long-awaited return to action against Rico, who makes her professional debut.
Jana Lorenz (0-1) faces Ania Fucz (0-0) at “German MMA Championship 4: Next Level” on July 6 in Herne, Germany. Lorenz suffered a first-round submission loss in her April pro debut. Fucz competes as a professional for the first time.
Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron (2-2) faces Summer Artherton (0-2) at “Disorderly Conduct 21: Bash on the Beach” on July 6 in Omaha, Neb. Catron went 5-0 as an amateur and opened her pro career with two first-round submission victories. She now looks to get back on track after losses to Jordan Nicole Gaza and Rose Namajunas this year. Artherton put together a 6-2 record as an amateur and looks to pick up her first pro win.
Elisha “Knuckles” Helsper (0-3) faces Hadley Griffith (0-0) at CageSport 25 on July 6 in Tacoma, Wash. Helsper has not fought since her May 2012 bout against transgender fighter Fallon Fox. Griffith makes her pro debut after a lengthy stint as an amateur.
Ana Maria “India” (4-4) faces Maria Elisabete “Beth” Tavares (4-3-1) at Web Fight Combat 2 on July 7 in Rio de Janeiro. Maria returned to MMA in May following a three-year hiatus and earned a unanimous-decision victory. The talented grappler looks for her third straight win when she faces Tavares, whose four-fight winning streak was snapped when she lost to Kalindra Faria in early 2012.
MMAjunkie.com publishes the Women’s MMA Report every other Monday. 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.