This weekend is a good weekend for women’s MMA. There are some solid bouts but most all are of the “flying under the radar” variety, whether it is because they are on smaller shows or buried in the bottom portion of the cards. However that doesn’t take away from the fact that there should be some good fights. That’s why I’m here, to make you aware of them. The best fights or the one’s that should be most exciting don’t always have the best records or aren’t always on the biggest platforms and this week, the one’s I am most excited about are not on those big platforms, but here are the three that most have my attention.
3. Brooke Stamm vs Kim Bulow – United Combate League: Brawl at Bourbon Street
This bout will be for the promotions featherweight amateur title. Stamm was showing a lot of potential almost from the get-go in her amateur career. She lost her first fight in 2014 and then after a series of cancelled bouts, she had a big 2016 going 3-0. The first of those two were not against anyone of note, but that is obviously to be expected for someone at the beginning of their career, so that is not something you’d view as a negative. The third of those wins came in December of that year for MFL when she took a split decision, one that had no business being split, against Courtney King. The same Courtney King who won several big amateur fights before turning pro and beating Colbey Northcutt before going 1-1 so far in Invicta FC. Stamm has not been in the cage since that bout however, for reasons I would be lying if I claimed I knew. But it seems she may have done some kickboxing in that time and she has definitely not stopped training. So while she showed so much promise previously, who knows just how much she’s improved and better she has gotten. Outside of the King victory, her other two victories were submissions, but don’t use that to convince yourself shes “a grappler”, she showed a well-roundedness early on and with the appearance of having been competing in some kickboxing bouts, you can expect her to be improved there. I think we can expect Brooke to want to make a big statement here and not only look to win but look to win impressively.
Bulow for her part also showed a ton of promise early in her career winning her first four fights against the type of opponents you would expect someone to face in the beginning. From there, stepping up the level of competition, Bulow has had a rough stretch dropping three of four including her last two, but only one of them was a stoppage, a TKO loss to Kendra Kazmaier in her last bout in October. But all the fights have been competitive and in defeat, Bulow still showed potential and an ability to hang with and compete with anyone at her level. She will be looking to get back on track and show she is still the fighter everyone had high hopes for when she was winning two titles for the XFO promotion against possibly the toughest test she’s had to date. Like her opponent, a well-rounded fighter, she will be comfortable wherever the fight goes, making this one very hard to predict as far as where it will take place. We can see a kickboxing bout, a grappling bout or a mixture of everything.
What’s at stake? Well obviously the title that was mentioned earlier is at stake, but that title could almost be seen as secondary here. Amateur titles are nice to have but often we see them never get defended. They often are more of a stepping stone than anything else. In this case, for fighters of this caliber, this fight is about seeing who is further along, who is closer to making the next step. The winner of this bout grabs a little more attention, a few more eyes on them as a possible candidate for bigger fights as they continue their amateur careers and build towards the pro level. This is a fight where future implications may be bigger than the current implications.
As of now there is no update on broadcast or streaming availability. I will update if I can find information
2. Petra Castkova vs Vladlena Yavorskaya – XFN 17
Castkova comes into this bout with an even 3-3 record in big need of a victory. After beginning her pro career with two wins, she has dropped three of her last four, including her last two, the most recent of which was a decision loss at Bellator 196 to Denise Kielholtz eleven months ago. While Castkova has displayed promise, the last two bouts against tougher opponents can be viewed as nothing but a setback. At thirty-seven years of age, time is not on her side if she intends to make a serious run. A win against Yavorskaya is a good way to get back on track. Yavorskaya brings in a record that maybe is a bit inflated and could look better than it is. Castkova unlike her opponent has a history of going the distance and can be expected to try and make it a long grueling bout as the longer it goes, the better it is for her. In doing so, she will likely want to keep it standing and maybe use some clinch work. Being the shorter fighter, she will want to maybe use that to eliminate the reach advantage of her opponent.
Yavorskaya brings in a 5-3 record, including 2-1 in her last three after an over four year layoff. Her losses were to UFC’s Yana Kunitskaya and Invicta FC vet Daria Ibragimova very early in her career and her most recent fight to the more experienced Suvi Salmimies. But attention must be called to that as her wins are over much more inferior competition making it harder to judge where she really stands. Lots of first round wins, but against opponents she should be beating with relative ease. So how will she stand-up against someone with some experience who won’t go away so easy. She will likely want to use her reach advantage and try and land something solid and as soon as the opportunity presents itself, get it to the ground where she can use her submission game. Three of her five wins are submissions and the other two were ground and pound. But she has also shown an ability to be submitted herself on the ground, so she isn’t going to be entirely safe there.
What’s at stake? In all honesty, nothing specific. But in saying that, I feel like I am selling what should be a really fun fight short. These lists are not necessarily about what are the biggest fights, but what I think will be the best fights. So let’s say that what is at stake here is one of these two fighters moves on to take another step. Both have fallen against tougher competition so for the loser, they keep that label attached to them where as the winner moves on and maybe gets another opportunity against tougher competition and still an opportunity to lay claim to someone with the ability to achieve some things.
This fight can be seen as part of the events live PPV stream on the promotions website.
1. Ketlen Souza vs Jessica Luanna – Mr. Cage vs Rei da Selva Combat 1
Souza and her 7-1 record come into this bout as a heavy favorite. While not well-known with all her fights being in Brazil, Souza is someone I would have expected to have had bigger opportunities by now, but what no doubt hurts her is that one loss. While one loss is not a bad thing, it does look bad when that one loss is to a 1-3 fighter as hers was in March of last year to Fabiulane Melo. She did however rebound nicely with fifth round win over Rayla Nascimento in July. With a number of finishes on her resume, Souza is a hard hitter who loves a brawl, but she’ll have to turn this bout into one as her opponent won’t be likely to give her one voluntarily. At 5’3″ she is amazingly going to have a huge height advantage of seven inches….. yes you read that right. So she will have that height and reach advantage in her favor and make it even easier to get the fight she wants and keep Luanna from getting close enough to get the takedowns she will want. But she is also going to have some pressure on her. She is expected to win, and a loss here would really be looked upon badly.
Luanna brings a 2-2 record into this one and is making a huge jump in quality of opponents. She is coming off of a September armbar win over Youtseu Kenman Tchueng Lynda, so her confidence may be up, and she is going to need that here. That was her first bout in over two years so perhaps the time off has given her time to improve and fix some holes in her game. So while she comes in as he prohibitive underdog in this fight, there may be some challenges in truly evaluating her. at only 4’8″ her height works against her in any fight, but in this one even more so because she’s going to want and need to close distance and get close enough to take this to the ground and frustrate Souza and even look for the submissions. But working in her favor is the fact she won’t be afraid to take damage and will be willing to take that damage to try and get it where she wants it. Credit has to be given to her for taking this fight, you must praise fighters who are not afraid of the tough fight, the fight others won’t take.
What’s at stake? For Souza a lot, a loss looks bad here and with her goals of moving on to bigger things, anything short of an impressive win stunts that. All the pressure is on her. A win continues that climb and keeps her on the radar. For Luanna, part of what is at stake was achieved when she took the bout. She showed what makes her likable, a no fear attitude. But also a win would be huge for her. With her two wins and two losses being against fighters who are not known, she is as mentioned, stepping up big time here and a win makes people take notice. This is her opportunity to mark her arrival. A loss drops her below .500 but she’s supposed to lose, she’s expected to lose and outside of the record, a loss here doesn’t look terrible on her résumé.
There is no known broadcast or stream news on this card but their bouts do make it on to YouTube quickly