This post was originally published at jiMMA.
Women's MMA is in the spotlight this weekend as all female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships hosts its first ever event. The event takes place in Kansas and is streamed live through the Invicta FC website. When you combine a really strong first card with the fact that there is no Bellator or UFC card happening for another week, the MMA community should really keep their eyes on Invicta this weekend.
145lb - Marloes Coenen (19-5) vs Romy Ruyssen (5-1)
Marloes Coenen last fought nine months ago, losing her Strikeforce bantamweight title to Miesha Tate via submission. Due to contractual bits and pieces, she has left Strikeforce for now and is the biggest name currently signed to Invicta. Her opponent, having lost to Coenen in 2008, has since gone on a four fight win streak, all by first round submission.
Head to Head
Marloes Coenen is a proficient submission grappler, with most of her wins coming by submission. While wrestling is not her strongest attribute (see her Miesha Tate loss), she is not afraid to be on her back and will pull guard to get the fight to the ground when necessary. She showed her aggressive guard in her first Strikeforce title defense, against Liz Carmouche. Coenen has tight kick boxing and decent power. In the video below you can see her power take Roxanne Modaferri by surprise. In fact, in this video, she settles down with Modaferri in her guard, despite the fact that she just knocked her opponent down punch, demonstrating just how comfortable she is in that position.
The first fight between these two (video below) played out with Ruyssen effortlessly staying on top of Coenen, without doing any damage, while Coenen continuously looked for submission. She found won towards the end of round 2. This was another example of how calm and confident Coenen is off of her back, she feels she is the one in the ascendancy, even on the bottom.
That was way back in 2008 though and Romy Ruyssen is very young at just 22. She has improved dramatically since that fight and will almost certainly pose a greater threat this time around. Ruyssen is a competent wrestler and a dangerous submission artist. With her last four fights finishing in the first round by submission, her stand up remains a bit of an unknown entity. However, in her fight with the heavy handed Sheila Gaff she was able to show can take punishment and maintain her composure (video below).
With two similar fighters with similar grappling heavy styles, this promises to be an interesting fight. As in their last fight, I expect most of the ground battle to take place with Ruyssen on top, but for Coenen to be quite content to fish for submissions from the bottom. While Ruyssen has shown the ability to take a punch, it is the stand up where Coenen's skills far outstrip Ruyssen's. The smart move for Coenen might be to pick Ruyssen apart with her crisper striking and solid power, rather than risking engaging on the floor where the fighters are more evenly matched.
Marloes Coenen has the experience edge and probably has more ways she can win this fight. I am by no means ruling out a Ruyssen win, but Marloes Coenen by submission in round 2.
Some other big names are fighting on the card, including "Girl Rilla" iz Carmouche, Lisa Ellis-Ward, Sally Krumdiack and Jessica Penne. Also look out for American olympic wrestler Randi Miller making her MMA debut at 145 lbs.
There is obviously a lot more happening on this card, so any more predictions (or if anyone in particular want to challenge the idea that Marloes Coenen is a good grappler), hit the comments.
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