B/R Women's MMA Rankings: April 2014

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2014

B/R Women's MMA Rankings: April 2014

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    Isaac Brekken

    The world of women's MMA is growing, and with that, we must keep up with the times. Women are getting more and more opportunities in mixed martial arts, as well as becoming more prevalent on the big stage.

    The UFC, Invicta and World Series of Fighting are just three of the major organizations that host female fighters. When you consider Deep Jewels, MMA Super Heroes and several others who let the ladies compete, you have a bunch of proving grounds for these up-and-coming athletes.

    Starting this month, Bleacher Report's Riley Kontek and Mitch Ciccarelli will rank the women of the five major weight classes and give some insight on what's going on in each division. Here is this installment of the Bleacher Report's women's MMA rankings.


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    Jeff Chiu
    1. Cris "Cyborg" Justino (BRA)
    2. Marloes Coenen (NET)
    3. Julia Budd (CAN)
    4. Ediane Gomes (BRA)
    5. Veronica Rothenhausler (USA)
    6. Ashlee Evans-Smith (USA)
    7. Talita Nogueira (BRA)
    8. Pannie Kianzad (SWE)
    9. Faith van Duin (NZE)
    10. Fiona Muxlow (AUS)
    11. Tamikka Brents (USA)
    12. Kate da Silva (AUS)
    13. Charmaine Tweet (CAN)
    14. Annalisa Bucci (ITA)
    15. Maria Hougaard Djursaa (DEN)

    There is no doubt that the featherweight division has had one dominant member for a long period of time: Cris "Cyborg" Justino.

    The Brazilian buzzsaw has been dominant since becoming a professional with just one blemish on her 12- 1 record. She did recently lose a muay thai match to Jorina Baars, but that is not MMA and shouldn't be accounted as such.

    The top-10 list is very international with women from nine different countries. That being said, the division is becoming lighter on talent due to the inclusion of bantamweights in the UFC, which accounts for some women dropping in weight.

    Top-15 Results in March: None

    Top-15 Fights in April

    Annalisa Bucci (14)vs.Milana Dudieva


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    Paul A. Hebert
    1. Ronda Rousey (USA)
    2. Cat Zingano (USA)
    3. Alexis Davis (CAN)
    4. Sara McMann (USA)
    5. Miesha Tate (USA)
    6. Jessica Eye (USA)
    7. Sarah Kaufman (CAN)
    8. Lauren Murphy (USA)
    9. Liz Carmouche (USA)
    10. Amanda Nunes (BRA)
    11. Shayna Baszler (USA)
    12. Holly Holm (USA)
    13. Germaine de Randamie (NET)
    14. Rin Nakai (JPN)
    15. Miriam Nakamoto (USA)

    Undoubtedly, the women's bantamweight division is the most popular in WMMA. That is because it has the most established stars and the most exposure via the UFC.

    Ronda Rousey is the rock-star queen of the division. She has armbarred her way into a championship and has stayed undefeated and relatively unchallenged since stepping onto the scene.

    However, we have seen great developments in Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis and Jessica Eye, among others, who have made the division competitive.

    There are still women in our top 15 that don't call the UFC home. Lauren Murphy (8), Holly Holm (12), Rin Nakai (14) and Miriam Nakamoto (15) are in different organizations and could deepen the UFC if given the opportunity.

    Top-15 Results in March: None

    Top-15 Fights in April

    Holly Holm (12)vs.Juliana Werner (8 FLY)
    Miesha Tate (5) vs. Liz Carmouche (9)


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    1. Barb Honchak (USA)
    2. Vanessa Porto (BRA)
    3. Leslie Smith (USA)
    4. Jennifer Maia (BRA)
    5. Nina Ansaroff (USA)
    6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (POL)
    7. Zoila Gurgel (USA)
    8. Juliana Werner (BRA)
    9. Munah Holland (USA)
    10. Brenda Gonzales (USA)
    11. Julia Berezikova (RUS)
    12. DeAnna Bennett (USA)
    13. Tina Lahdemaki (FIN)
    14. Pearl Gonzalez (USA)
    15. Aline Serio (BRA)

    The flyweight division doesn't get a whole lot of love, which is sad because it is stacked. From Invicta champ Barb Honchak to XFC champ Pearl Gonzalez, the division is loaded with talent and should get more attention from MMA fans.

    The division has taken a bit of a hit because fighters like Jessica Eye and Michelle Ould have left the rankings for various reasons (move to bantamweight and inactivity, respectively). However, ladies like Leslie Smith and Zoila Gurgel have moved into the division and helped resupply the talent.

    The women who occupy the bottom of the top 15 have a chance to break out with just one performance. DeAnna Bennett is the only woman with a win over The Ultimate Fighter winner Julianna Pena, and Gonzalez is a hot up-and-comer to keep your eye on.

    Top-15 Results from March

    Vanessa Porto (2)def.Ana Maria
    Aline Serio (15)def.Bianca Daimoni

    Top-15 Fights in April

    Aline Serio (15)vs. Paula Baack


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    1. Jessica Aguilar (USA)
    2. Carla Esparza (USA)
    3. Claudia Gadelha (BRA)
    4. Joanne Calderwood (UK)
    5. Tecia Torres (USA)
    6. Ayaka Hamasaki (JPN)
    7. Mizuki Inoue (JPN)
    8. Katja Kankaanpaa (FIN)
    9. Felice Herrig (USA)
    10. Stephanie Eggink (USA)
    11. Bec Rawlings (AUS)
    12. Kalindra Faria (BRA)
    13. Rose Namajunas (USA)
    14. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (POL)
    15. Herica Tiburcio (BRA)

    The strawweight division is getting a lot of love these days. That is because the UFC will be having an all-women's Ultimate Fighter 20 that is set to commence filming in a couple of months.

    Of the women in the top 15, seven have already been swooped up by the UFC: Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Felice Herrig, Bec Rawlings and Rose Namajunas.

    Right now, World Series of Fighting features the top strawweight in the world. Jessica Aguilar is the champion there and has owned the top ranking since knocking off Megumi Fujii a couple of years ago.

    The woman to watch is Kalindra Faria. The Brazilian just dropped to 115 pounds in March and has already won two fights in just 30 days against Aline Serio and Laura Balin. She was a top flyweight and is now a top strawweight in the world.

    Top-15 Results from March

    Kalindra Faria (12)def.Aline Serio (15 FLY)
    Kalindra Faria (12)def.Laura Balin
    Herica Tiburcio (15)def.Aline Sattelmayer

    Top-15 Fights in April: None


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    1. Michelle Waterson (USA)
    2. Jessica Penne (USA)
    3. Seo Hee Ham (KOR)
    4. Naho Sugiyama (JPN)
    5. Lacey Schuckman (USA)
    6. Simona Soukupova (UK)
    7. Alex Chambers (AUS)
    8. Cassie Rodish (USA)
    9. Jodie Esquibel (USA)
    10. Stephanie Frausto (USA)
    11. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (USA)
    12. Amy Davis (USA)
    13. Diana Rael (USA)
    14. Amber Brown (USA)
    15. Jinh Yu Frey (USA)

    The atomweight division is another one that doesn't get the attention it deserves. It has a bunch of young talent that could break out if given the exposure.

    Michelle Waterson is the queen of the division; the Invicta champ earned that right by knocking off competitive rival Jessica Penne.

    The problem we could see in the future is women moving up to 115 pounds to compete in the UFC women's strawweight division. Alex Chambers is already on TUF 20, and women like Penne and Schuckman could potentially follow her.

    Top-15 Results from March: None

    Top-15 Fights in April

    Seo Hee Ham (3)vs.Shino VanHoose