B/R Women's MMA Rankings, September 2014

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2014

B/R Women's MMA Rankings, September 2014

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    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.


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

    The featherweight division now has a major platform. That is because Bellator has recommitted to women's MMA by incorporating the 145-pound division.

    The company has already signed four of the top 10 145ers in the world: Marloes Coenen (2), Julia Budd (3), Talita Nogueira (5) and Annalisa Bucci (7).

    Those women are now the foundation of the new-look Bellator organization. Bellator now gives women a premier destination to ply their craft in front of a large audience, so expect more women to make the move there if given the opportunity.

    As for talent making waves in the division, two women continue to boost their stock through the roof in the form of Pannie Kianzad and Latoya Walker. Kianzad remained unbeaten when she thoroughly dismantled Megan van Houtum in August, while Walker got things done in a big way against Brittney Elkin to slide five spots up the rankings.

    Big things are coming in the 145-pound division, so keep your eye on all the key talent doing forward.

    Top-15 Results from August

    Pannie Kianzad (4)def.Megan van Houtum
    Latoya Walker (9)def.Brittney Elkin
    Arlene Blencowe (13)def.Faith van Duin (14)

    Top-15 Fights in September

    *Charmaine Tweet (8)*vs.Veronica Rothenhausler
    Latoya Walker (9)vs.Anita Rodriguez

    *Bout will be contested at 155 pounds


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

    Women's bantamweight continues to be the premier destination for fans who are looking to get a fix of WMMA. That should come as no shock, seeing as it was the first women's division built up by the UFC.

    The talk of the town has been the potential signing of Gina Carano, which has overshadowed the fact that women are jockeying for position in the division. The title picture should gain more clarity in the coming weeks.

    Cat Zingano will finally return from her lengthy layoff when she fights Amanda Nunes this month at UFC 178. A win for Zingano would put a stamp on her being the next challenger to Ronda Rousey's throne.

    Then you have Bethe Correia, a woman who has defeated two of Rousey's best friends in Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler. She has the storyline and intrigue that could tickle Rousey's fancy, so expect to see her float around title talks as well.

    However, it is the signing of Larissa Pacheco, who fights in September on late notice against Jessica Andrade, that has finally done something special for these top-15 rankings. Pacheco's signing signifies that all of the world's top 15 bantamweights are now under contract with the UFC.

    Things are looking up for the UFC women's bantamweight division.

    Top-15 Results from August

    Sara McMann (4)def.Lauren Murphy (9)
    Bethe Correia (15)def.Shayna Baszler

    Top-15 Fights in September

    Cat Zingano (2)vs.Amanda Nunes (8)
    Miesha Tate (3)vs.Rin Nakai (11)
    Larissa Pacheco (14)vs.Jessica Andrade


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

    Some major moves are about to rock the 125-pound rankings due to women changing weight classes.

    First off, Brenda Gonzales is set to move to the bantamweight division, as she pursues a contract with the UFC. She will fight Heather Bassett in the RFA organization, which is known for pumping the UFC full of top prospects and talent.

    Then, both Delaney Owen and Alexa Grasso will move to the 115-pound division when they make their respective debuts with Invicta. Owen will take on J.J. Aldrich, while Grasso will meet Ashley Cummins in an attempt for both fighters to crack the 115-pound rankings.

    The flyweight division still has some of its best talent in it, but the ranks are diminishing before our eyes. With greener pastures and greater opportunity available a weight class lower and higher, why wouldn't 125ers make the jump to those divisions?

    Top-15 Results from August

    Jennifer Maia (3)def.Elaine Albuquerque (13)
    Viviane Pereira (12)def.Gina Naja

    Top-15 Fights in September

    *Brenda Gonzales (7)*vs.Heather Bassett
    **Alexa Grasso (11)**vs.Ashley Cummins
    **Delaney Owen (14)**vs.J.J. Aldrich

    *Fight will be contested at 135 pounds

    **Fight will be contested at 115 pounds


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

    Strap in because the 115-pound women are about to take you on a ride to the UFC title. The Ultimate Fighter 20 is set to commence in September with a tournament that will crown the inaugural UFC women's strawweight champion.

    Of the 16 women competing on the show, six are currently in the top-15 rankings: Carla Esparza (2), Joanne Calderwood (4), Tecia Torres (7), Felice Herrig (10), Bec Rawlings (13) and Rose Namajunas (14).

    Outside of those women, others are looking to carve out their place in the division.

    While top-ranked Jessica Aguilar runs WSOF, ladies like Claudia Gadelha and Joanna Jedrzejczyk have begun their UFC journey in positive fashion. Not only that, but Mizuki Inoue has continued her assent up the rankings while competing in Japan.

    Plus, September will crown a new Invicta champ when Stephanie Eggink fights Katja Kankaanpaa.

    All in all, the strawweight division is getting ready to explode.

    Top-15 Results from August

    Mizuki Inoue (6)def.Emi Tomimatsu

    Top-15 Fights in September

    Katja Kankaanpaa (9)vs.Stephanie Eggink (11)


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

    The atomweight division had some of its best in action in August, and September will continue that trend.

    Seo Hee Ham solidified her top-three ranking with another win in South Korea, while Ayaka Hamasaki made an impressive drop to 105 by beating former No. 1 atomweight Naho Sugiyama. In addition to that, Ireland's Catherine Costigan kept her perfect record intact, which allowed her to debut in the rankings.

    The crowning piece of the division is set to fight in September, as Michelle Waterson defends her Invicta 105-pound belt against Yasuko Tamada. It headlines the first-ever Invicta card that airs on UFC Fight Pass, making it a pivotal main event for the company.

    The increased activity in the 105-pound division is very encouraging moving forward.

    Top-15 Results from August

    Seo Hee Ham (3)def.Alyona Rassohyna
    Ayaka Hamsaki (4)def.Naho Sugiyama (5)
    Catherine Costigan (15)def.Noelia Molina

    Top-15 Fights in September

    Michelle Waterson (1)vs.Yasuko Tamada
    *Simona Soukupova (6)*vs.Helen Harper
    Jodie Esquibel (10)vs.Jinh Yu Frey

    *Fight will be contested at 115 pounds