It all started innocently enough. A bout with Jessamyn Duke that was meant to pit two reasonably talented rising bantamweights against each other. But, "just another fight" has quickly morphed into a personal crusade for the women's rep of the Pitbull Brothers Gym out of Natal, Brazil. Bethe Correia has taken the opportunity Ronda Rousey and her fight crew have provided, and put herself in a position to try and knock off MMA's "Four Horsewomen." Her win over Jessamyn Duke prompted this post fight celebration (courtesy of Zombie Prophet). Now, the UFC has announced that Correia will be taking on Shayna Baszler at UFC 176.
A half decade ago and there's no question that Baszler would be the odds on favorite. But, her recent MMA run (including her time on TUF) has been less than spectacular. It has prompted a camp change, as she's now bunked with Rousey and her team for her fight training, but it's hard to bank on that kind of transition as precipitous of a great change in career trajectory.
Correia, on the other hand, has been on a clear upswing all through her 2+ years in the cage. Her wins over Julie Kedzie and Jessamyn Duke have both been fairly decisive and while she's yet to show much stopping power, her striking technique is looking cleaner and more imposing each time out. Baszler is going to have to really prove that she has not only what it takes to get the fight to the ground, but to keep it there. If she can't, there's a very strong probability that she finds herself on the losing end of a lot of kickboxing exchanges.
UFC 176 is set to take place on August 2nd in Los Angeles, California, and will be headlined by Jose Aldo as he fights Chad Mendes for a second time. Be sure to stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more fight announcements as they happen.