145lbs: Marina Shafir, Ronda Rousey training partner and friend, stays unbeaten
There's a whole thread dedicated to Marina & Ronda together pics at the UG
I don't talk about amateur fights very often, in fact this might be the first time, but Shafir aka "The Supernova from Moldova" is an exception. Just like Ronda, Shafir has started her career with all wins via 1st round submission (all armbars except for a standing arm-triangle setup to regular arm-traingle submission). None of the ammy featherweights have gone past 2:03 with Shafir and her pro debut is drawing near.
If she can rise to the top that would do wonders for the desolate featherweight division. However, she lacks the speed, technique and just general athleticism of Ronda to make me think she could contend with Cyborg. Yes, that's how shallow this division is that I'm already talking about a girl who has no pro fights facing off against arguably the greatest women of all time. Shafir, also is quite young (25) and at 5 ft 8 is a good size for 145. Invicta needs to snatch her up quick.
Weaknesses: Definitely striking. Compared to the top 145ers, Cyborg, Coenen, Budd, Gomes... Shafir does not look as ripped or cut as any of them. This leads me to believe she has serious potential to be faster, stronger and more explosive in all aspects of her game with the right fitness/nutrition regimen.
Here's her latest fight, but you can watch most of them on youtube and in a fraction of the time you wasted watching some of these UFC prelims recently (UFC 169)
Marina Shafir def. Nicole Upshaw via 1st round armbar
Japanese Promotinal Shenanigans
Long story short. Mizuki Inoue comes 1.4lbs of the 114lbs limit (that's 115.4 by the way, which would have been fine if it was in Invicta) and is disqualified before the fight even starts against Emi Tomimatsu. They still fight, and Inoue wins via 3rd round armbar, but on her record is a big fat DQ. For more details come here.
In other action, Naho Sugiyama picked up a split decision victory in what sounded like a very close fight. Please, give us video Japan/Internet of this event and past events.
MMARising has the play by play
Mizuki Inoue unofficially wins via 3rd round armbar. Officially loses via DQ for missing weight and Emi Tomimatsu is crowned the DEEP JEWELS 115lbs Champion
Naho Sugiyama def. Satomi Takano via split decision
Promotions better be calling Kailin Curran
The 22 year-old, Curran, put on yet another entertaining fight. I've always felt, it isn't about finishing fights, it's about trying to finish the fight. The fans can see when a fighter is putting everything he or she has into a fight, and Curran does that for the most part. One of the best strikers in MMA. Very versatile striker. She showed her boxing, kicking game, also noticed she added a nice push-kick/frontkick to the body. Curran is definitely someone you should be keeping an eye on. I think she could hang with any strawweight... at least on the feet.
Moreover, anyone that comes out of Korean Top Team is worth checking out (the South Koreans seem to be the most progressive Asian country, just using whatever works, whereas I feel Japan is still stuck in their own, not-as-effective ways. And don't even get me started on China). This 21 year-old Korean, Yoo Jin Jung, made a great first impression, not backing down and making it a fight with Curran. Obviously she still needs a lot of seasoning, but her willingness to engage is much appreciated.
Check out the fight below and see for yourself
You can follow her ^ @KailinCurran on Instagram
Kailin Curran def. Yoo Jin Jung via unanimous decision
Zoila Frausto Gurgel makes Muay Thai debut
She has long been a personal favorite of mine. When she does get her strikes off it is some of the best Muay Thai, but her constant worrying of being taken down really challenged her. In MMA, she had a big problem mixing styles together. Perhaps more Muay Thai is in the future for the first, and possibly last, Bellator Women's Champion.
She still has a big problem of backing straight up (in MMA she'd get stopped at the cage and her opponent would clinch) and in Muay Thai she'd get hit with strikes. It was very nice to see Zoila finally stay active in a fight. Getting off a lot of good shots against the over-matched, also debuting Linda Aguilar. A lot of trips, left hook-right leg kick combos and like I said, just seeing her pull the trigger after so many frustrating MMA fights was relieving.
Check out the fight
The ref heard Aguilar say something, probably about an injury, and stopped the fight at the end of round 2
Zoila Frausto Gurgel def. Linda Aguilar via round 2 TKO
135lbs: Laura Howarth grinds out Muay Thai Champ, Amanda Kelly
It was one of those fights. Fighter 'A' does more damage, but fighter 'B' gets takedown while generating no offence. In this case, Amanda Kelly was fighter A and lost a unanimous 29-28 decision to Howarth, in a fight, I believe, should have been a draw... at the least. Round 1 Kelly was busting Howarth up a little bit with knees and elbows, but got taken down, where Howarth did nothing but keep her there. Round 2 I'll give it to Howarth. And Round 3 was a dominating round for Kelly. Howarth bloodied up all over by the end of it.
Kelly, despite her wealth of Muay Thai experience, is 32, and has a long way to go in the grappling department. She doesn't seem to have the natural strength of fellow Muay Thai champion transitionee, Miriam Nakamoto. With two fights in, I'll tentatively put her upside to "a little better than Che Mills".
Laura Howarth def. Amanda Kelly via unanimous decision
P4P best BJJ practitioner, Michelle Nicolini, wins in MMA
No video that I'm aware of. Nicolini took a 3 year hiatus from MMA winning at the highest levels of BJJ. She won via 1st round armbar over 0-0 Lanchana Green
Nicolini on the left
I talked about this in the February preview, about the 100lbs girls aka pinweight fighting. If anyone's curious what a pair of 100lbs women look at weigh ins you're in luck. Click here.
And, this fight wasn't reported when I wrote the "March Preview". #11 Flyweight Kalindra Faria is making her strawweight début in a rematch against Aline Serio at XFC's 2nd Brazil card. The fight should be streamed on XFCMMA.com. Faria has won her last 5 (all finishes) including an armbar win over Carina Damm, one of the best gatekeepers in the sport.