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B/R Women's MMA Rankings, August 2014

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2014

B/R Women's MMA Rankings, August 2014

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Women's MMA is growing, and we must keep up with the times. Women are getting more and more opportunities in mixed martial arts and are 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 Jewels, MMA Super Heroes and several other promotions that let the ladies compete, you have a bunch of proving grounds for these up-and-coming athletes.

    Here is this month's installment of Bleacher Report's women's MMA rankings.

Featherweight

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
    1. Cris "Cyborg" Justino (BRA) (1)
    2. Marloes Coenen (NET) (2)
    3. Julia Budd (CAN) (3)
    4. Pannie Kianzad (SWE) (6)
    5. Talita Nogueira (BRA) (7)
    6. Marina Shafir (MOL) (8)
    7. Fiona Muxlow (AUS) (9)
    8. Faith van Duin (NZE) (10)
    9. Annalisa Bucci (ITA) (11)
    10. Charmaine Tweet (CAN) (12)
    11. Lissette Neri (USA) (NR)
    12. Elina Nilsson (SWE) (13)
    13. Andria Wawro (USA) (14)
    14. Latoya Walker (USA) (15)
    15. Kelly McGill (USA) (NR)
    • Dropped out of the rankings: Ediane Gomes (4), Veronica Rothenhausler (5)

    Inactivity really reshaped the women's featherweight division. Both Ediane Gomes and Veronica Rothenhausler have not competed in 18 months and were subsequently dropped from the rankings.

    That gave way to two new faces on the countdown. Undefeated Lissette Neri earned her way onto the rankings after a win in July that pushed her record to 6-0. Newcomer Kelly McGill earned a massive knockout victory in June that has made her one of the most exciting new prospects in the sport.

    The rankings are set for an even bigger shake-up. Cris Justino and Gomes are both eyeing a spot in the 135-pound division, as Gomes is set to fight Tonya Evinger at Invicta 8, and Justino will drop later this year.

    Outside that, the rankings feature many international fighters. Most of the women are from outside the United States, and most come from different countries from one another. That's a cool thought.

     

    Top-15 Results from July:

    Lissette Neri (11)def.unknown opponent

     

    Top-15 Fights in August:

    Marina Shafir (6)vs.Amanda Bell
    Latoya Walker (14)vs.Brittany Elkin

Bantamweight

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    John Locher/Associated Press
    1. Ronda Rousey (USA) (1)
    2. Cat Zingano (USA) (2)
    3. Miesha Tate (USA) (4)
    4. Sara McMann (USA) (5)
    5. Alexis Davis (CAN) (3)
    6. Jessica Eye (USA) (6)
    7. Sarah Kaufman (CAN) (7)
    8. Lauren Murphy (USA) (8)
    9. Amanda Nunes (BRA) (10)
    10. Holly Holm (USA) (11)
    11. Rin Nakai (JPN) (12)
    12. Liz Carmouche (USA) (13)
    13. Germaine de Randamie (NET) (14)
    14. Larissa Pacheco (BRA) (NR)
    15. Leslie Smith (USA) (NR)
    • Dropped out of the rankings: Shayna Baszler (9), Miriam Nakamoto (15)

    As with the featherweight division, inactivity has forced a fighter out of the rankings. That fighter is Shayna Baszler, but she can get herself back into the rankings this month with her UFC debut against Bethe Correia.

    The rest of the division has held pretty steady. Alexis Davis has dropped a few spots after her quick knockout loss to Ronda Rousey, who hurt, threw and punched Davis into oblivion before they could hit the 20-second mark.

    Leslie Smith makes her debut at No. 15 after her frenetic thrashing of Jessamyn Duke at UFC Fight Night 45. She used a combination of 20-plus strikes to completely demolish the tall, lanky striker.

    Also debuting is Larissa Pacheco, a Brazilian woman who is not even 20 years old yet. The undefeated powerhouse is a sure thing to make the UFC in the near future due to her immense knockout power and underrated ground skills.

    With the additions of Rin Nakai, Holly Holm and Lauren Murphy, the UFC now has 14 of our top 15 female fighters. That means the UFC is bringing together the best women in the world.

     

    Top-15 Results from July:

    Ronda Rousey (1)def.Alexis Davis (5)
    Leslie Smith (15)def.Jessamyn Duke

     

    Top-15 Fights in August:

    Sara McMann (4)vs.Lauren Murphy (8)

Flyweight

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    1. Barb Honchak (USA) (1)
    2. Vanessa Porto (BRA) (2)
    3. Jennifer Maia (BRA) (3)
    4. Nina Ansaroff (USA) (5)
    5. Zoila Gurgel (USA) (6)
    6. Munah Holland (USA) (7)
    7. Brenda Gonzales (USA) (8)
    8. Julia Berezikova (RUS) (9)
    9. Pearl Gonzalez (USA) (11)
    10. Aline Serio (BRA) (12)
    11. Alexa Grasso (MEX) (13)
    12. Elaine Albuquerque (BRA) (14)
    13. Delaney Owen (USA) (15)
    14. Karla Benitez (ESP) (NR)
    15. Reyna Cordoba (SLV) (NR)
    • Dropped out of the rankings: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (4), Tina Lahdemaki (10)

    Whereas the featherweight and bantamweight divisions saw some ladies drop out of the rankings from inactivity, the flyweight division lost two of its best fighters to division changes.

    Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Tina Lahdemaki both made the move to 115 pounds in their UFC debuts in July. While Lahdemaki fell short in a valiant effort against Claudia Gadelha, Jedrzejczyk put on a show in thoroughly outstriking Juliana Lima in her premiere.

    The new faces in the countdown are journeywoman Karla Benitez and undefeated Salvadoran fighter Reyna Cordoba. Benitez has faced a who's who of females in both the 125- and 115-pound divisions to mixed results. Cordoba has gone 6-0 as a pro taking fights at both 135 and 125 to stay active, but flyweight is her natural home.

    The flyweight division is losing talent to 135 and 115, but it still has a strong roster of women fighting in the weight class.

     

    Top 15 Results from July: None

     

    Top-15 Fights in August:

    Jennifer Maia (3)vs.Elaine Albuquerque (12)

Strawweight

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

    The strawweight division has a scary new fighter in its ranks. That woman is the dominant Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who jumps into the rankings after a drop from 125 and a thrashing of Juliana Lima.

    She joins a top-15 ranking that is in a holding pattern until The Ultimate Fighter 20 airs and finishes, as almost half the women in the rankings are participating on that show. That said, Jedrzejczyk wasn't the only woman in action this month.

    Claudia Gadelha won the first ever 115-pound women's fight in the UFC by defeating Tina Lahdemaki at Fight Night 45. Between her and Jedrzejczyk, we could have a bout for the No. 1 contendership, the winner getting the first crack at the champion when she gets crowned.

    Next month, Ayaka Hamasaki will be leaving the division, opening a spot for another 115-pounder to get national recognition in the top 15.

     

    Top-15 Results from July:

    Claudia Gadelha (3)def.Tina Lahdemaki
    Joanna Jedrzejczyk (5)def.Juliana Lima

     

    Top-15 Fights in August:

    Mizuki Inoue (7)vs.Emi Tomimatsu
    *Ayaka Hamasaki (10)*vs.Naho Sugiyama (4 AW)

    *Fight will be contested at atomweight (105 pounds)

Atomweight

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

    As is the case with previous months, the atomweight division lies in wait for big things to happen. September will bring those changes, as three women in the top-15 rankings will throw down. Those are Michelle Waterson, who defends her title against Yasuko Tamada, as well as Jinh Yu Frey and Jodie Esquibel, who will fight each other.

    Stephanie Frausto has dropped out of the rankings due to inactivity, which opened up an opportunity for Japanese star Sadae Numata to resurface in the rankings. She is one of the best females Japan has to offer MMA and is an exciting fighter.

    The big fight of the month for the division comes at Jewels in the form of Naho Sugiyama vs. Ayaka Hamasaki. Hamasaki is dropping from 115, where she is ranked, while Sugiyama was the best woman in the world until she lost to Jessica Penne. It will definitely be a barnburner.

     

    Top-15 Results from July: None

     

    Top-15 Fights in August:

    Naho Sugiyama (4)vs.Ayaka Hamasaki (10 SW)

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