Former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman didn’t get to compete as planned Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 27, but the Canadian standout’s long-awaited octagon debut will still take place before the end of 2013. Kaufman is now set to face rising star Jessica “Evil” Eye at UFC 166 on Oct. 19 in Houston.
Kaufman (16-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was originally scheduled to compete in a compelling fight at UFC Fight Night 27, but her bout was scrapped earlier this month when opponent Sara McMann withdrew from the event. UFC officials were unable to secure a replacement opponent in time, and Kaufman was dropped from the card. Although disappointed, Kaufman did not have to wait long to receive a new fight.
This past week, it was announced that Kaufman will battle fellow UFC newcomer Eye (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 166, which is shaping up to be one of the promotion’s most stacked cards of the year. Eye brings a stellar seven-fight winning streak into her UFC debut, and the former Bellator fan favorite is one of the fastest rising female stars in the sport today.
While she has spent much of her career competing as a flyweight, the cut to 125 pounds has become more and more difficult for Eye as she gets stronger and continues to put on more muscle mass. In her most recent fight in June, Eye defeated Carina “Barbie” Damm in a 130-pound catchweight bout, and she believes she will be even stronger at bantamweight.
The bout with Eye will be a pivotal one for Kaufman. Her bid to reclaim the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title ended in a 54-second defeat to current UFC champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey one year ago. In her April Invicta FC debut, Kaufman narrowly edged Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith via a razor-thin split decision. A loss to Eye would be a significant setback for Kaufman, who has her sights set on a rematch with Rousey for the UFC title.
UFC 166 takes place at Houston’s Toyota Center. Officials have not announced whether the Kaufman vs. Eye bout will air live on pay-per-view or as a part of the FOX Sports 1-televised preliminary card.
Sexton to face Andrade at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester
One week after Kaufman and Eye do battle in Texas, Manchester, England’s Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton (13-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) competes in front of hometown fans when she takes on Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at “UFC Fight Night 30: Bisping vs. Munoz.” The event takes place in Manchester. Sexton announced the fight on Tuesday.
Sexton and Andrade both look to pick up their first UFC victories after suffering setbacks in their respective promotional debuts earlier this summer.
At UFC 161 in June, Sexton moved up to bantamweight to challenge jiu-jitsu ace Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis in a bout that served as both fighters’ UFC debuts. Despite being seen as an underdog by many, Sexton put on a strong showing in the fight but ultimately dropped a narrow decision on the scorecards. Prior to the loss, Sexton had won eight of nine fights against many of the sport’s top flyweights.
Andrade began her pro career shortly before her 20th birthday in September 2011 and picked up wins in eight of her first 10 fights. In April she traveled to Russia and upset Milana Dudieva at ProFC 47. Andrade’s submission victory caught the eye of UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, who signed the Brazilian and matched her up against Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche at UFC on FOX 8. Andrade kept Carmouche trapped in her signature guillotine choke for most of Round 1 of their FOX-televised fight, but succumbed to Carmouche’s ground and pound in the second round.
Earlier this month, Sheila “The German Tank” Gaff became the first female fighter to be cut by the UFC following back-to-back losses. Sexton and Andrade look to earn a crucial victory in order to ensure they don’t join Gaff on the cut list with consecutive defeats.
Deep Jewels debuts Saturday in Tokyo
Japan’s newest women’s MMA promotion, Deep Jewels, stages its first event on Saturday at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo. The inaugural card features many of the top stars from the former Jewels promotion, which merged with Deep to become “Deep Jewels” earlier this year.
Recent Jewels title challenger Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino (12-6) enters the Deep Jewels 1 main event as a significant favorite. She’s booked to face South Korean striker Hyo Kyung Song (0-2), who remains in search of her first MMA win after suffering losses to long-time pound-for-pound star Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji and teen standout Mizuki Inoue. With a win on Saturday, Fujino will stay on track for a future shot at the Deep Jewels lightweight (114-pound) title, which is expected to be up for grabs in 2014.
Former Jewels poster girl Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (13-8) is also scheduled to compete at the event. She meets Akiko “Betiko” Naito (6-12) in a bout that will serve as Naito’s retirement fight. Nagano has won five of her past six fights and remains one of the most popular female fighters in Japan today. Like Fujino, Nagano will also move a step closer to Deep Jewels title contention with a victory. Naito retires from MMA following a 10-year career dating back to her pro debut in 2003.
In a featherweight (106-pound) title eliminator, Sadae “Manhoef” Numata (4-1-1) takes on Norway’s Celine Haga (5-11), who has won four straight fights. The victor moves on to challenge Deep Jewels women’s featherweight champion Seo Hee Ham at a later date.
Numata has quietly put together a three-fight winning streak during the past two years, but she hasn’t competed in MMA since she submitted teen prospect Shino VanHoose in November. Three of her four victories have ended inside the distance. Haga opened her pro career with just one victory in her first 12 fights – a massive upset win over Nagano in May 2010 – but she’s currently riding a four-fight winning streak that has positioned her for an improbable title run. This year, Haga has scored consecutive wins over former Jewels champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama and 39-fight veteran Masako Yoshida.
Deep Jewels 1 includes six additional MMA fights and two kickboxing bouts. In a featured grappling match, Invicta FC contender and two-time Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup winner Inoue faces highly touted jiu-jitsu prodigy Rikako Yuasa.
The full Deep Jewels 1 fight card:
- Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino (12-6) vs. Hyo Kyung Song (0-2)
- Kozue “Azuma” Nagashima vs. Ji Yun Kim*
- Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (13-8) vs. Akiko “Betiko” Naito (6-12)
- Sadae “Manhoef” Numata (4-1-1) vs. Celine Haga (5-11)**
- Rena Matsuda vs. Rumina “K” Kurihara*
- Yuko “Amiba” Oya (5-3) vs. Yasuko “Pink Spider” Mogi (3-8)
- Mizuki Inoue vs. Rikako Yuasa***
- Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada (14-8-3) vs. Yukiko Seki (11-22)
- Satomi Takano (2-1) vs. Masako Yoshida (16-18-5)
- “Happy” Fukuko Hamada (7-8-1) vs. Miyoko Kusaka (3-6-1)
- Takumi Umehara (1-1) vs. Megumi Sugimoto (0-0)
- Sachiko Fujimori (0-0) vs. Sumire Takahashi (0-0)
* – Kickboxing match
** – Featherweight title eliminator
*** – Grappling match
Xtreme Kombat, Storm MMA book women’s tourneys for Aug. 31
Mexico’s Xtreme Kombat promotion holds its latest event on Saturday in Cuautitlan Izcalli, where the promotion’s inaugural women’s flyweight champion will be crowned. Xtreme Kombat 20 features a four-woman flyweight title tournament that includes some of Mexico’s most talented female MMA fighters.
Unbeaten prospect Anely “Neka” Jimenez (7-0) enters the tournament as the odds-on favorite to win the title. Jimenez has yet to taste defeat in her MMA career and has knocked out or submitted six of her seven opponents to date. In her most recent fight in November, Jimenez made a successful Xtreme Kombat debut by outpointing Wendy “El Princesa” Arellano.
Joining Jimenez in the tournament is knockout artist Alexa Grasso (2-0), who has finished both of her pro opponents inside the first round. Grasso most recently stopped Lupita Hernandez in May. Rounding out the four-woman tournament field, Karina Rodriguez (1-0) returns to Xtreme Kombat for the first time since June 2012, and Sandra Chimeyo (0-0) makes her pro debut.
Semifinal-round matchups haven’t been announced. In order to claim the title, the tourney winner must defeat two opponents in one night.
Also on Saturday, Australian promotion Storm MMA returns with “Storm Damage 3? in Canberra. The card includes a one-night, eight-woman title tournament to crown the promotion’s inaugural women’s featherweight champion.
In the first of four quarterfinal bouts, Ginny Connors (0-0) makes her pro MMA debut against Belinda “The Bellringer” Sedgwick (0-2), who remains in search of her first win. The victor will move on to face the winner of the second quarterfinal, which pits unbeaten submission specialist Kate “Jiu-Jitseira” Da Silva (3-0) against Arlene “Angerfist” Blencowe (1-2).
On the other side of the tournament bracket, Faith Van Duin (1-0) takes on Michelle “Powerhouse” Peruzzi (1-1), and Maryanne Mullahy (1-0) awaits a replacement foe after her original opponent withdrew from the card. The winners of those quarterfinals meet in the semifinal round to determine which fighter will advance on to the final, where one woman will be left standing as Storm MMA’s first female featherweight titleholder.
Nakai vs. LaRosa announced for Pancrase 252
Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase Rin Nakai (14-0-1) takes a huge step up in competition for her next fight, at “Pancrase 252: 20th Anniversary” on Sept. 29 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Nakai is scheduled to face former BodogFight champ Tara LaRosa (21-3) in a non-title bout. The fight was officially announced this past week.
Nakai became the first Queen of Pancrase champion in December when she defeated Danielle “The Honey Badger” West in a controversial rematch. The fight came under fire from fans and media when Pancrase officials imposed restrictions upon West that deemed her ineligible to win the fight due to her failure to make weight. On May 19, Nakai handed KOTC champion Brenda “Boom Boom” Gonzales her first defeat in a non-title bout at Pancrase 247.
LaRosa has battled a who’s who of the sport throughout her storied career. The 11-year veteran has faced and defeated many of MMA’s top female bantamweights, but a recent move down to 125 pounds yielded mixed success. LaRosa’s three-fight winning streak was snapped in her most recent bout when Vanessa Porto defeated her at Invicta FC 3. She can be seen on “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” which premieres Sept. 4, and then travels overseas to compete in Japan for the first time since November 2005.
Justine Kish (2-0) def. Christine Stanley (1-1) via submission (armbar) at the 4:29 mark of Round 2 at “Resurrection Fighting Alliance 9: Munhoz vs. Curran” on Aug. 16 in Los Angeles. While best known for her striking, Kish showed again that she is comfortable on the ground as she picked up her second submission win. She defeated Munah Holland in December 2010.
Daizy Singh (3-0) def. Ritika Singh (1-3) via unanimous decision at Super Fight League 23 on Aug. 17 in Mumbai. Daizy remains undefeated inside the SFL cage following a pair of submission victories earlier this year. She is one of the promotion’s newest female prospects.
Gloria Castillo (1-1) def. Luly “La Vampiresa” Silva (0-1) via submission (kneebar) in Round 1 at Desafio Kaeshi MMA 3 on Aug. 17 in Concordia, Entre Rios, Argentina. Castillo stepped into the fight on short notice in place of Laura Balin, who defeated Castillo in March 2012. With the first-round submission, Castillo notched her first professional victory.
Michele Angelo (1-0) def. Paula Mutante (1-1) via unanimous decision at “AraraFight Competition 7: Fighting Against Crack” on Aug. 17 in Sao Paulo. Angelo made a successful pro debut in the fight while Mutante suffered her first loss under the AFC banner.
Thais Peruchi (1-0) def. Beatriz Desiro (0-1) via submission (armbar) at the 2:45 mark of Round 2 at Big Bang MMArilia on Aug. 17 in Marilia, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Both fighters were making their pro debuts in the fight, and Peruchi had a strong showing in victory.
Sabrina Garcia (1-0) def. Jade “Quiet Riot” De Haas (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 2:07 mark of Round 1 at Xtreme Knockout 19 on Aug. 17 in Dallas. Garcia remains unbeaten in her MMA career. She amassed a perfect 3-0 record in amateur competition.
Tyra Parker (3-3) def. Michele “Diablita” Gutierrez (3-4) via submission (armbar) at the 1:29 mark of Round 2 at “Dakota FC 16: Fall Brawl 2013? on Aug. 23 in Fargo, N.D. Parker put on her best performance to date in the one-sided fight and dominated the bout from the outset. After trapping Gutierrez in a calf slicer, Parker spent much of Round 1 landing hard right hands to the side of Gutierrez’s face. In Round 2, Parker pulled half-guard and locked on the armbar for a slick tap-out victory. All three of her wins have come via submission.
Juliana “Julie” Werner Aguiar (7-3) def. Deise Lee Rocha (4-3) via unanimous decision at Arena Force on Aug. 24 in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Aguiar has won five straight fights, including back-to-back victories this year. The talented striker was recently accepted to the Brazilian national kickboxing team and plans to take a break from MMA competition.
Mariana Morais (1-0) def. Margarete Soares (0-3) via submission (guillotine choke) in Round 1 at “Pocos Fight MMA 2: Teles vs. Hentz” on Aug. 24 in Pocos de Caldas, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Morais earned her first win as a professional with the quick submission victory.
Claudia Rey (2-0) def. Greicy Tonet (0-3) via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at the 2:21 mark of Round 3 at Sparta MMA 8 on Aug. 24 in Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Rey has finished both of her opponents this year. She made a successful debut for Sparta MMA in June.
Raquel “Rocky” Pa’aluhi (3-4) def. Priscilla “The Gorilla” White (0-2) via TKO (punches) at the 3:03 mark of Round 1 at “Destiny MMA: Proving Grounds 2? on Aug. 24 in Honolulu. Pa’aluhi put a halt to a three-fight losing skid with the commanding victory. She took down White in the opening round and flurried with punches from mount until the referee had seen enough and intervened to stop the fight.
Helen “Hellraiser” Harper (1-0) faces Liezel Lumindas (0-0) at “Ultimate Beatdown 12: Get Real” on Aug. 31 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Harper opened her pro MMA career with a third-round submission victory over Zhen Wei in May. Lumindas makes her pro debut on the card.
Izabela Badurek (2-1) faces Martyna Czech (0-0) at “Only 1: Martial Arts Gala 3? on Aug. 31 in Ustron, Poland. Badurek has bounced back from a loss in her pro debut with a pair of impressive first-round submission victories this year. She looks to make it three in a row when she faces Czech, who competes for the first time as a pro.
Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (3-0) faces Iren Racz (0-0) at Immortals Fight Promotions 1 on Aug. 31 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Poland’s Niedzwiedz is currently one of Europe’s best female prospects. The 18-year-old has finished all three of her opponents to date via a form of knockout. Racz makes her pro debut on the card in search of a big upset victory.
Chayani Mendes (0-1) faces Cinthya Mocoto (0-0) at Nitrix Champion Fight 16 on Aug. 31 in Americana, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mendes competes for the first time since she dropped a close split decision to Kinberly Novaes one year ago. Mocoto makes her professional debut.
Heather Bassett (0-0) faces Breea Gilbert (0-0) at “King of the Cage: Maximum Speed” on Aug. 31 in Keshena, Wis. Both fighters make their pro debuts on the card following successful stints as amateurs. Bassett is coming off of a victory at RFA 8 in June. Gilbert picked up a third-round submission win in March.
Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron (3-3) faces Susy Watson (0-0) at Xtreme Fighting League’s “Xtreme Fight Night 14: The Uprising” on Sept. 6 in Catoosa, Okla. Catron is coming off of back-to-back fights in July, including a last-minute bout against Livia von Plettenberg at Invicta FC 6. After defeating Summer Artherton one week earlier, Catron took the fight with von Plettenberg on 24 hours’ notice, but she dropped a decision on the scorecards. Catron looks to get back on track against Canada’s Watson, who turns pro following a successful amateur run.
Stephanie “Snowflake” Eggink (3-1) faces Angela Magana (11-5) at “XFC 25: Boiling Point” on Sept. 6 in Albuquerque, N.M. This bout will be contested for the inaugural XFC women’s strawweight title. Eggink and Magana were originally set to face off for the belt in April, but Magana withdrew from the card due to injuries sustained in a car accident. It was not the first time that Magana dropped out of a fight due to a car crash. She has fought just once in the past two years due to a variety of injuries. Eggink is 2-0 under the XFC banner and most recently defeated Brianna VanBuren at XFC 23.
On the same XFC 25 card, Stephanie “The Scrapper” Skinner (2-4) faces “South Valley’s Own” Angelica Chavez (4-2) in an atomweight bout. Skinner enters hostile territory to face Chavez, who is one of the most popular female fighters in the Albuquerque region. Skinner has knocked out two of her past three opponents while Chavez looks to put an end to a two-fight losing streak when she competes in front of her hometown supporters.
Eeva Siiskonen (2-0) faces Julia Stoliarenko (0-0-1) at Carelia Fight 9 on Sept. 7 in Imatra, Finland. Siiskonen made her professional debut and scored a first-round TKO victory at Carelia Fight 8 this past September. She most recently earned her second pro win in December. Stoliarenko fought to a draw in her lone pro bout to date.
Paloma Fabrykant (3-0) faces Denise Boifer (0-0) at Heroes MMA 2 on Sept. 7 in Argentina. Fabrykant has knocked out or submitted all three of her opponents thus far and is arguably Argentina’s most popular and well-known female MMA fighter. She looks to extend her winning streak to four when she faces Boifer, who competes as a pro for the first time.
Jessica “Black” Doerner (4-2) faces LeAnn “Lights Out” Amundson (0-0) at “Golden Cage MMA: Magic City Mayhem 3? on Sept. 7 in Minot, N.D. Doerner has become a staple of the MMA scene in her home state during the past two years. The North Dakota native most recently stopped Margaret Bloom in July. She has yet to see Round 2 as a professional. Montana’s Amundson seeks an upset victory in her pro debut.
Colleen “Bisquit” Schneider (4-4) faces Christina Marks (4-6) at “Submission Championship MMA 3: Fight to the End” on Sept. 7 in Ontario, Calif. Schneider has won three straight fights for Super Fight League and most recently captured the SFL women’s flyweight title in March. All four of her victories have come inside the distance. Schneider will appear on “The Ultimate Fighter 18,” which premieres next week. Marks has won two of her past three fights, and neither bout made it out of the first minute.
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.