Pro MMA Now Women’s Bantamweight Rankings – Sept. 2016

Since the day Ronda Rousey fell the women’s bantamweight division has become unpredictable and has fallen into chaos. In less than a year the division has already seen three champions and not a single one of them has managed a successful title defense. Now the belt finds itself in the hands of the Brazilian lioness Amanda Nunes. Nunes already has someone knocking the door for a title shot, and she may need to worry as the one who demands a title shot is a strong and cunning vixen, Julianna Pena.

1. AMANDA NUNES (13-4)

amanda nunesAmanda stunned the MMA world when she forced Miesha Tate to tap out to a vicious rear naked choke in the very first round in the main event of UFC 200. The Brazilian lioness has managed to create a super impressive resume with victories over Olympic silver medallist Sara McMann, world champion kickboxer Valentina Shevchenko and former Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. Riding a four-fight win streak the 28-year-old is now finding herself a dangerous title contender in Julianna Pena. The duo has locked horns on social media several times and it looks like it will be matter of time before they clash in the octagon.

2. MIESHA TATE (18-6)

miesha tateMiesha Tate entered the octagon as a huge favorite in her bout against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. But “Cupcake” could not stand up to the lioness as she succumbed to a 1st round rear naked choke. This loss snapped a five-fight win streak but despite these facts Miesha is still a part of the title picture as she holds victories over wrestling great Sara McMann, former title challenger Liz Carmouche, featherweight great and former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen and multiple time boxing world champion Holly Holm. Tate will be taking some time off as she has a broken nose and hence will probably not be competing for the rest of the year.

3. JULIANNA PENA (8-2)

julianna penaAt UFC 200 Pena stunned the world by dominating Cat Zingano and out wrestling her for better part of the 15-minute encounter to earn a unanimous decision victory. She has now managed to go 4-0 in the octagon, if you include her TUF wins she is 7-0 in the UFC. Despite these facts she is still not announced as a title challenger. Hence it can be argued that she is one of the most underrated UFC fighters. “The Venezuelan Vixen” holds wins over decorated bantamweight Jessica Eye, former boing world champion Jessica Rakoczy and former title challenger Cat Zingano.

4. VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO (13-2)

valentina shevchenko“Bullet” entered in the UFC against Sarah Kaufman on short notice and managed an eye opening upset as she out struck the former Strikeforce bantamweight champion. This was followed with a fight against Amanda Nunes, after being dominated for two rounds surviving the heavy blows of the Lioness, Valentina opened up with her incredible kickboxing in round 3. But she dropped the decision to Amanda because of the slow start. After her performance she got a golden opportunity to face Holly Holm in the main event of UFC on FOX 20 and the multiple time kickboxing world champ made full use of the opportunity as she dominated the former bantamweight champion with her excellent striking and takedowns. She now finds herself in the title picture and maybe after one more win she will get her shot.

5. HOLLY HOLM (10-2)

holly holm_qnaLess than a year ago Holly stunned the world by knocking out the most dominant female MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey. People expected a long reign of domination but “The Preacher’s Daughter” failed in her very first title defense as she was sent to sleep by “Rowdy’s” greatest foe Miesha Tate. Though she dominated the larger part of the five rounds before being caught in a vicious rear naked choke. This resulted in many expecting a stronger Holly to turn up at UFC on FOX 20, where she clashed against Valentina in the main event of the night. She was a healthy favorite but she failed again as she was outplayed by the multiple time boxing world champ. Now Holly has decided to take some time off. The 34-year-old might not have much time in her MMA career and her only foreseeable bid to the title can be made if Ronda returns and manages to win her belt back.

6. RONDA ROUSEY (12-1)

rousey ronda smileThe UFC has seen four women bantamweight champions so far but Rousey stands as the only one who has managed to defend her title. “Rowdy’s” domination came to an end when she faced Holly Holm at UFC 193 and took the wrong end of a head kick heard around the world. The Olympic bronze medal winner has not announced her return to the UFC so far. Despite all this, Ronda holds victories over Cat Zingano, Olympic silver medal winner Sara McMann, former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman, former UFC and Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (twice) and Liz Carmouche.

7. TONYA EVINGER (18-5)

tonya evingerTonya stands as the most dominating women’s bantamweight champion in MMA today. Having defended her Invicta FC title against fellow MMA veteran Coleen Schneider, Tonya stands as one of the most dangerous and talented fighters who has not fought in the UFC. With her last loss coming back in 2011, “Triple Threat” has managed an impressive nine-fight win streak in which she has defeated top ranked featherweight Cindy Dandois, highly respected lightweight Sarah D’alelio, fellow MMA veteran Ediane Gomes, sensational women’s bantamweight (who was undefeated until Evinger faced her) Pannie Kianzad, and respected bantamweight Irene Aldana.

8. CAT ZINGANO (9-2)

cat zingano smallZingano found herself on the wrong side of the unanimous decision of the judges in her fight against Julianna Pena at UFC 200. Despite dominating round 1 Zingano could not continue the momentum as she was out wrestled by “The Venezuelan Vixen”. For the first time in her career “Alpha” finds herself on a losing streak, but despite this she holds credible wins over former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, the current champion Amanda Nunes and top contender Raquel Pennington.

9. RAQUEL PENNINGTON (8-5)

raquel penningtonRaquel stands as one of the most dominating strikers in the bantamweight division. Unlike Holly or Valentina, “Rocky” is not a counter-puncher but is someone who is known to unleash herself on her opponents. Raquel stands with victories over Ashlee-Evans Smith, top-ranked strawweight Jessica Andrade, former title challenger Bethe Correia and Elizabeth Phillips. “Rocky” for the first time in her career finds herself on a three-fight win streak and could soon find herself in the title picture.

10. SARA MCMANN (9-3)

sara mcmannSara recently came off an impressive win over Jessica Eye, dominating her for three rounds. This win broke a two fight losing streak and now Sara finds herself as one of the many people in the division who are demanding a title shot. But as she was defeated by Amanda Nunes in the very first round, a title shot any time soon seems unlikely for the Olympic silver medal winner. Despite all this Sara holds credible wins over the current Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger, Jessica Eye and Lauren Murphy.

Paarth Pande
(@PandePaarth)

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