Roxanne Modafferi

Top Three Women’s Fights This Weekend

This week is not a big week for women’s MMA in terms of number of fights, however there are some very good ones scheduled. RIZIN itself has three female bouts scheduled, one of which makes the list this week. One of my absolute favorite prospects Anna Emelyanenko is actually advertised on two separate cards this weekend, so I am not sure which bout is actually taking place, but neither would be on the list this week as whichever bout takes place, I expect her to win with little problem and Fusion Fight League is being main evented by females with Ariel Beck and Ashley Deen. But which fights are my three favorites of the week?

Let’s take a look.

3. Shinju “Juju” Auclair vs. Saray Orozco – RIZIN 15

Auclair brings a 2-1 record, all three fights with RIZIN, and is coming off a loss to Justyna Haba. She had a very short amateur career but was clearly ready to make the jump with her only loss being a disqualification due to a head kick, illegal in amateur MMA in Ohio. She is making quite a jump here, facing someone with a good deal more pro experience than her, however I think it’s a sign of the confidence the promotion, her team and she herself has in her. With both her wins being by armbar, it would indicate that that is where Auclair will want the fight, but she is actually a very dynamic striker, having speed with her strikes, accuracy and able to throw them seemingly from nowhere. Although her opponent has fought at a lower weight in the past, I suspect she’ll still be the stronger of the two so it might be to Auclair’s benefit to not get caught up in clinches unless she’s on the outside and use her speed to land and get out and if she wants it on the ground, shoot in as opposed to looking for the takedowns from the clinch.

Orozco brings in a 4-2 record having won three straight, but is facing her toughest opponent since her last defeat to Montserrat Ruiz. A few things going against her are that she is fighting heavier than she has in the past and will be the outsider in this fight as Auclair is very popular in Japan, and this is a much bigger stage than she is used to fighting on. However Orozco is a very confident fighter so these are things she is capable of not letting mentally affect her. As mentioned when talking about Auclair, even though Orozco is coming up in weight, I think she may be the stronger fighter and is more predictable and straightforward with her strikes. She might want to force some clinches, try and weigh down on Auclair and sap her energy, but it will be interesting to see if the ropes as opposed to a cage make that more difficult for her. She may look to make this more of a brawl on the feet and not give Auclair space to throw any of the unique type strikes.

Whats at stake?

Auclair needs a win. There has been a lot of hype behind her and a second straight loss would be a setback and dampen that hype. A win however makes it easier to sort of forget that last loss and continue to see her as a future star. Orozco for her part, she has been winning fights she is supposed to win so a win here can help her be seen as a prospect and someone to keep an eye on as opposed to someone just winning fights against outmatched opponents.

This bout can be seen as part of the Rizin 15 card on FITE

2. Antonina “Pantera” Shevchenko vs. “The Happy Warrior” Roxanne Modafferi – UFC on ESPN+ 7

Shevchenko brings a 7-0 record into her second UFC bout. Her most recent bout was a unanimous decision win over Ji Yeon Kim. Shevchenko had a lot of hype behind her coming in after some great Muay Thai accomplishments and her much accomplished sister and her win over Kim was a big passing of a test against her toughest competition. But now she’s taking on a whole new level of competition in Modafferi. Modafferi has seen it all and done it all, so Shevchenko will need to be on top of her game. Clearly her biggest advantage will be in the stand-up. She will look to make this as much of a kickboxing match as possible, avoid letting Modafferi get it to the ground and if it does go there, avoid dangerous positions, keep Modafferi from getting her back or mount or controlling a limb. While in the clinch she can be dangerous, it might not behoove her to clinch up here with a crafty smart fighter who will take some punishment in an attempt to use that clinch and maybe take it to the ground. Shevchenko has a habit of going the distance but might look to try and finish here as the longer it goes, the more Modafferi has a chance to pull something out.

Modafferi brings a 22-15 record into this one and is coming off a decision loss to Sijara Eubanks. I don’t recommend gambling or anything and if you ever bet on a fight you do so at your own risk, but Modafferi is a pretty heavy underdog on the Vegas odds, and Modafferi her whole career has been at her best when most people are counting her out. The Happy Warrior has fought just about every name there is to fight and has beaten many. There is nothing anyone will bring into a fight that she hasn’t seen. Clearly her opponent is the more accomplished striker, but fight to fight we have seen Modafferi’s striking improve and we’ve seen her enjoy showing that. So I will not be surprised at all if she is willing to engage and stand with Shevchenko for awhile and see what she can get done there. Modafferi has made a habit of getting fights to the ground and using ground and pound to eventually wear out and finish opponents and that could be what she looks to do here. Even if she doesn’t get the finish, she can really frustrate her opponent and if she can make Shevchenko desperate and frustrated that would bode very well for her. I think the longer the fight goes, the better for Modafferi because that gives her more time to accomplish what she will look to accomplish and a tired Shevchenko makes that easier to accomplish.

Whats at stake?

This is pretty simple. For Shevchenko, a win in her biggest challenge to date puts her another step closer to achieving some of the things her sister has achieved. She clearly wants to be on that level and a win puts her closer. For Modafferi a win gets her back on track and shows she’s still got some mileage in the division and is still a contender. Some of her best performances have been following a loss and this is an opportunity to do that again.

This bout can be seen as part of the UFC On ESPN+7 Main card on ESPN+

1. Gisele “Gi” Moreira vs. Karolina “Karol” Rosa – Future FC 4

Gisele Moreira brings an 8-2 record into this one and is on a five fight win streak, most recently beating Dayana Silva on Dana White’s Contender Series in August. Moreira will be the favorite in this one, having fought the much better quality of opposition but she does have some 0-0 and upside down record type opponents as well. Moreira will likely want to keep the fight standing where she will have the advantage. She is the more powerful and accurate striker. She can slow down as the fight wears on, as if she doesn’t get the finish, her fights are close with both a split and a majority decision mixed in during her current winning streak. She will be coming forward from the start, totally happy if she can lure Rosa into a brawl. However if she can’t get the finish and fights that aggressively then it could cause problems in the form of tiring, as mentioned before, and making it easier for Rosa to maybe get takedowns and submit a tired opponent.

Karolina Rosa brings a 10-3 record into this one coming off a win over Tamares Vidal less than a month ago. While her record is impressive most of her wins have been against inexperienced opponents and the times she’s stepped up the competition, like Larissa Pacheco and Melissa Gatto, she’s been defeated. Rosa excels on the ground but has also shown an ability to be submitted herself. In this one, the ground is probably her safe place. On the feet, while she is not bad there at all, Moreira will have the advantage there. If she can avoid letting it turn into a brawl though, she should be able to accomplish some things and eventually try and work her way in to get the takedowns. She may want to let Moreira get a little wild and burn some energy as well because as mentioned, Moreira does slow down as the fight wears on and in that case, Rosa can possibly more easily achieve the things she will be looking to do.

What’s at stake?

Moreira had a taste of the big show fighting on Contender Series, a win here gets her closer to another opportunity, perhaps someone that can get a shot on one of the UFC cards in Brazil. For Rosa, she needs to show she can beat a higher quality opponent, something she has yet to do, a loss here reaffirms some of the thoughts of people who see her as someone with an inflated record.

As of yet, I have not found any broadcast/streaming for this event. I will update if I find any.

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Jason Adams