2020 was once a wild year for MMA, that feels be pleased it lasted a lifetime. With the entire motion that took space over the year, it’s not easy to purchase into consideration what took space. This series looks to be like to support out with that, offering an outline on what came about in every weight class, and a speak at what we can demand to approach aid in 2021.
There’s a upright case to be made that strawweight is the marquee division in females’s MMA, and early on in 2020, that no doubt seemed to be the case. In March, UFC champion Weili Zhang and feeble champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk positioned on what can easiest be described as the single finest fight in females’s historical past and perhaps the finest fight ever, length. For 25 minutes, the 2 females went hammer and tongs with every other, definitely increasing their ridiculous output as the fight drug into the championship rounds. If literally no other strawweight fight came about this year, that fight would be enough to name 2020 a success for the 115-pound division.
Nonetheless clearly other fights did happen. Mackenzie Dern and Xiaonan Yan made the leap to bonafide contenders, Carla Esparza assign together a bustle that has her on the cusp of one more title shot, and Angela Hill continued to manufacture on her repute as the female Donald Cerrone, battling one more four cases in 2020, giving her eight fights over the closing two years (and would accept as true with been nine but for a certain COVID sign in December). All in all, though the division peaked in March, the rest of the year was once level-headed very powerful price searching at.
Outside of the UFC the strawweight division had a still 2020. Invicta champion Kanako Murata vacated her title in September to stamp with the UFC (the establish she then made a a hit debut over Randa Markos) and Xiong Jing Nan retained her ONE Championship title in a rematch with the girl she gained the inaugural belt over, Tiffany Teo. Beyond that, there were about a solid highlights but nothing predominant to discuss of.
It’s not unfamiliar for fighters to accept as true with a imperfect year but it’s gorgeous uncommon for any fighter to accept as true with a year as imperfect as Hannah Cifers had. Cifers entered 2020 on a two-fight purchase fling but things swiftly went south for her. In January, Cifers lost by ability of ground strikes to Angela Hill. In Would possibly, Cifers then garnered the ignominious distinction of becoming the predominant girl in the UFC to lose by ability of leglock when Mackenzie Dern tapped her with a kneebar. Ultimate two weeks later, Cifers stepped in on instant stare in opposition to Mariya Agipova and was once once but again submitted, this time with a rear-bare choke, and she or he rounded out the year with one more rear-bare choke loss in August.
Fancy a gambler who gets in the aid of and then starts chasing, Cifers kept taking fights in 2020 and easiest dug herself additional in the outlet. All suggested, Cifers fought four cases in 2020 and in on each day basis day shuttle, “Shockwave” was once stopped sooner than the third round.
2020 was once objectively a wonderful year for the strawweight division as a entire, with the finest impart being that following the championship fight between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the UFC didn’t capitalize on that vitality. Since that fight, Weili has been sitting on the sidelines, in wonderful section for the explanation that UFC is once but again having negotiation complications with their anointed challenger.
Extinct champion Rose Namajunas squeaked out a purchase over Jessica Andrade in 2020 and was once declared to be the next challenger for Weili. It’s some distance wise. Namajunas is a feeble champion level-headed in her high and a engaging matchup for Zhang. Nonetheless, though all americans is conscious of that is the fight to assign, it level-headed hasn’t been made marvelous, in step with UFC President Dana White on memoir of “Rose doesn’t desire to fight for the title.” That is clearly a ridiculous commentary and one which Rose and her team accept as true with complete-heartedly rejected but White continues to throw it available and counsel that if the UFC can not solution to terms with Namajunas that Carla Esparza is next in line for Zhang.
Whereas a fight between Esparza and Weili is perfectly swish, the fight to assign is Weili vs. Namajunas and the UFC persevering with to barter fighters out of the fights the followers desire to perceive is a horrible ogle.
The MVP of a division will not be factual a anticipate of “Who’s the finest fighter in the division?” As an quite a lot of, it looks to be like at who supplied the most leisure in the division over the course of the year, purchase or lose.
When Mackenzie Dern entered MMA, many of us belief she was once a future champion. The extra than one time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion had the pedigree to assign her a correct away menace to legitimately world-class fighters and if she would possibly well ever add to her game, it was once envisioned that Dern would be a right menace. Nonetheless after an uninspiring beginning to her MMA profession, the establish she had discipline making weight, Dern ended up taking her first loss in 2019. And apparently loss was once the catalyst for commerce as in 2020, Dern began to assign upright on all that promise.
It started in Would possibly when Dern became the predominant girl to purchase a fight in the UFC by leglock, kneebarring Hannah Cifers. Dern then constructed on that purchase with one more submission, this time an armbar of divisional stalwart Randa Markos. In the kill, Dern closed out 2020 with aid-and-forth scrap with fellow BJJ unlit belt and feeble Invicta champion Virna Jandiroba. The bout with Jandiroba was once arguably the most spectacular for Dern who gained largely on the aid of a vastly improved inserting game. There’s clearly level-headed room for improvement for Dern but given her pedigree, her marketability, and her present enhancements, 2020 is seemingly to be the year we ogle aid on as when she started her title bustle.
Appropriate Mentions: Xiaonan Yan, Carla Esparza, Angela Hill
Weili Zhang wins resolution over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Fight of the three hundred and sixty five days, UFC 248
Rose Namajunas wins shut ruin up resolution over Jessica Andrade in rematch, UFC 251
Mackenzie Dern submits Hannah Cifers with a kneebar, UFC Vegas 1
Mallory Martin phases loopy comeback to choke out Hannah Cifers, UFC Vegas 8
Polyana Viana submits Emily Whitmire in beneath two minutes, UFC Vegas 8
Michelle Waterson wins shut resolution in opposition to Angela Hill, UFC Vegas 10
Mackenzie Dern submits Randa Markos with an armbar, UFC Vegas 11
Angela Hill finishes Hannah Cifers with strikes, UFC Raleigh
Virna Jandiroba steamrolls Felice Herrig in beneath two minutes with armbar, UFC 252
Claudia Gadelha wins controversial resolution over Angela Hill, ufc on ESPN 8
Mariya Agapova head kicks Hannah Cifers, finishes with rear bare choke, UFC on ESPN 10
Kay Hansen taps out Jinh Yu Frey with armbar in her octagon debut, UFC on ESPN 12
Keri Taylor Melendez dismantles Emilee King with rear-bare choke, Bellator 252
Montserrat Ruiz taps Janaisa Morandin with first round scarf retain keylock, Invicta 41
Ayaka Miura submits Maira Mazar with an American from scarf location, ONE Championship: A Fresh The following day
Wanting Forward to 2021
Any year the establish you accept as true with the Fight of the three hundred and sixty five days goes to be a tricky act to use however the strawweight division is definitely in a upright space to manufacture so admirably. Assuming the UFC can accumulate their geese in a row, a fight between Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas has the entire skill to be factual as upright as this year’s title fight, and after that, there will not be any scarcity of skill challengers for the champion. On high of that, the strawweight division has somewhat about a younger contenders rising thru the ranks to care for stocking the pond for title fights and meaningful match united states of americadown the motorway as neatly. Add in that Invicta will seemingly crown a brand recent champion and that there a rumbling of Bellator reconstituting their 115-pound division as neatly and 2021 would be nearly as upright as 2020 was once for the strawweights.