Women’s MMA has certainly been in the spotlight, and the ladies have performed under pressure. The UFC certainly was watching this weekend when Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos fought at INVICTA 5, as she is the big name opponent for UFC titlist Ronda Rousey that is on everyone’s mind. The UFC is going to need time to fill out and develop the roster for women at 135 lbs. This coming weekend, when Meisha Tate takes on Cat Zingano on the ‘TUF Season 17 Finale’, a lot will be decided, since the winner of the match earns a coaching position opposite Rousey on Season 18 of the TUF reality series and an eventual title shot.
And the UFC has been ramping up the women’s division, albeit slowly. Several other matches are made and in the books to look out for.
Sheila Gaff vs Sara McMann is comes up on April 27th on the UFC 159: Sonnen vs Jones undercard. McMann is a future contender with a perfect record and an Olympic wrestling background. McMann has yet to show Rousey’s breakneck ‘finish at all costs’ style, and she is still developing as an MMA artist, so she is going to need several wins before establishing herself as a number one contender. In this bout, however, look for Gaff to be outworked and outclassed, and look for McMann to be favored at least 2 to 1 when the lines hit the books.
After that, UFC 161 on June 15th will feature Rosie Sexton versus Alexis Davis. I was glad to see Sexton get the call, she is an excellent technician from the UK who has been around a long time competing at a high level. The concern is that Sexton might be better suited for a 125 lb weight class, not the UFC’s 135 lb class that is the only one active at the moment.
Davis is coming off two solid wins under the INVICTA flag, against Shanya Basler and Hitomi Akano, both very well seasoned veterans. Davis has also been around since 2007, accumulating matches against many of the top women athletes as well. Look for Alexis Davis to be favored in this fight at the books.
The next opponent for Ronda Rousey will be set this weekend when Tate and Zingano clash, but after that it is anyone’s guess. Will the UFC find a match for Rousey with the talent they have, or will any fight just seem like a tune up fight for Rousey until she meets ‘Cyborg’. Judging by “Cyborg’s smashing of Fiona Muxlow this past weekend, she is not going anywhere.