Tuesday April 19, 2016— It is a known fact that when a King is dethroned by a new King, the new King has to face many challenges. If he fails then there is a time of chaos, and a series of unpredictable events follow it. This is the current state of women bantamweight division of UFC. With Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey being defeated by Holly Holm at the famous PPV UFC 193, the bantamweight division has been in quite a turmoil. With her performance at the event everyone was sure that this was time for another great reign and it was the end of “Rowdy’s” dominance. Well Ronda’s dominance did come to an end but Holly could not keep the belt around her waist.
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate, Ronda Rousey’s worst rival was all set for a rematch against Rousey at UFC 193, after defeating four top rated contenders. She had already lost two times to Ronda. But Tate would lose the spot to Holly.
Rousey who had already announced that she was going on a break would extend her break till the November of 2016. With Rousey gone and Holly wanting to defend her title before facing Rousey for a rematch all the attention would shift to Miesha Tate, who would demand her promised title bout. Tate would be granted a shot at the title at UFC 196 as the co-main event.
The event went on to produce some of the greatest upset in the history UFC. “Cupcake” went on to defeat, the multiple time boxing world champion by sending her to a deep sleep, with a vicious rear naked choke. With UFC 200, on top UFC’s president Dana White had to find a good opponent for Tate.Amanda Nunes would be set against Tate. But thedivision had started gaining heat and is ready to see multiple champions before it fell in the right hands.
Let’s take a look at some of the best in the division who are targeting the belt and are wrecking the division apart to prove themselves?
Amanda “Lioness” Nunes
With Holly not being the first choice because of her disappointing performance at UFC 196, the best opinion was Amanda “lioness” Nunes. Amanda holds a UFC record of 5-1 and she has won 3 straight fights, with a win at the same event where Holly lost her title, UFC 196. After winning her fight against Valentina Shevchenko she would demand a title shot. After campaigning for weeks on twitter and other sites, she would at last get her shot against Tate at UFC 200. The match is expected to be a huge back and forth.
Apart from being a good grappler Nunes has shown display of chiselled striking. Her punches usually Knockout her opponents. She lacks stamina but almost finishes her opponents in the first or second round, her fighting style can be compared to Rousey’s but with an inferior ground game. She can win this fight if she manages to use her stamina and get a grip on Tate to finish her off before she is tired.
Cat “Alpha” Zingano
Another fight that was announced at UFC 200 was the returning Cat “Alpha” Zingano locking horns against ultimate fighter season 18 winner Julianna Pena. I think this fight will be a humongous back and forth, the fighters will give all they have. With Cat coming off after a loss to Rousey, I think she will be calmer and far deadlier than she ever was. Dubbed as Rousey’s one of the greatest challenge till date, Cat is the greatest challenge for Pena and the fact that she holds victories over both Nunes and Tate just adds fuel to fire.
If she manages a victory, she becomes a hot favourite for the belt as her win over Miesha was not one of the matches which raises people’s eyebrows. “Alpha” is one of the very few fighters in the division who are amazing grapplers and at the very same time show display of nasty level of striking. She holds knockout victory over both Amanda Nunes and Miesha Tate, which means if she manages a win she establishes herself as one of the most dangerous and monstrous fighters in all of women MMA, and if Rousey decides to go for Holly first and chase title later then Cat gets her title shot at UFC 205, which is UFC’s first event in New York, and if she manages a win at the historic UFC 205, then it could be her ultimate bragging right.
If Cat wins her returning match at UFC 200 Miesha and Nunes both will have a tough time. But if Julianna wins that won’t mean that both will have a gala time. Juliana is the only one apart from Amanda Nuneswho deserves a title shot. Juliana has been undefeated since the past two years. Pena has gone on to develop her game and holds a victory over Jessica Eye. And apart from that she shares a special bond with Tate, this was seen at ultimate fighter season 18, she was Tate’s fist pick and she even went on to win the season.
Just like Cat, Julianna shows a great display of striking and ground game at the very same time. And if she goes for a title shot, it will be one of the most interesting feud not just only in UFC women bantamweight division but in all of women MMA. It will have a high level of psychological warfare, something that is not common in women MMA. It would be something that people would love to watch. Apart from being strong, Julianna has a very strong mind and spirit. She displayed it in the ultimate fighter season 18, in her first fight she went one on one against the hot favourite ShynaBalzers and managed to defeat her, she was constantly told that Tate was favouring her, she was the youngest girl in the house, despite this she went on to win the season. Hence she has what it takes to be a champion and prove it to everyone that she is the best.
Raquel “Rocky” Pennington
Raquel “Rocky” Pennington recently defeated Bethe Correia. After the match she called out either Cat or Pena. Wondering why Pennington is in the scene, well she happens to be the only one, apart from Tate, who pushed Holly to a limit. Even though she lost to Holly, the decision was close.
She has won two straight fights. Her victory over Jessica Andrade showed her amazing ground game. This was followed by she defeating the former title challenger Bethe Correia, after the fight “Rocky” did not waste any time in announcing that she wanted either Cat or Julianna. She has been defeated by Cat and would want her rematch. She has the talent to be in the top five and apart from that she is the best striker in the division after Holly, but unlike Holm she has a command over her ground game. In near future Raquel could be one of the top contenders to the title and the way she is going, she can become a great threat to Tate or any other top contender.
A former multiple time world champion Holly, is the best striker in all of the UFC women’s bantamweight division. She suffered her MMAcareer’s first defeat at the hands of Miesha Tate. But Holm made sure that people know that she was not going to hide, but in fact started training for a rematch. However, she did not get her rematch but she won’t rest. Holly is someone who cannot be broken or defeated at mind games. She is an elite level striker but lacks ground game. Women MMA is dominated by wrestlers and grapplers, if Holm wants to survive in the business she needs to develop her ground game and learn how to counter submission.
She defeated Ronda, but what many people did not notice that Rousey was keeping the game on feet rather than taking it on ground. Hence Holly could easily destroy Rousey. But now Holly’s weakness has been exposed in a horrible fashion. With Holly’s history she never gives up and comes back stronger than ever. She will develop a ground game, and when she does she will be unstoppable. The division is going through a huge change and Holly is not going to stay back, she will strike and when she does everyone will know what pain is.
Let’s hope every fighter gets what they deserve and has a good life.
The UFC woman’s bantamweight division is heating up and going towards its golden era. All women must fight; let the game of belt begin.
By: Paarth Pande
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