The featherweight division has been the most publicized weight class in women’s MMA because of one woman – Gina Carano. Her loss to Cyborg Santos this past August in Strikeforce was one of the highest rated women’s matches. The match-up featured what was at that time the number 1 contender in Cyborg and the number 2 ranked contender in Carano. It also solidified women’s MMA into the main stream and made history by creating the first ever women’s title for a major MMA organization.
The current champion, Cyborg Santos, is what a lot of the fighters have been calling a “beast” when it comes to fighting. This Brazilian fighter is best known for her striking game and is built like a rock. Her strength and power dominated Carano in their fight. There was some controversy earlier this year when Cyborg was not making weight in a match with Hitomi Akano, but has since stated she will be on weight from now on.
After the dust settled from the title fight in August, the race was on to find a new contender for Cyborg’s 145 pound title. Marloes Coenen staked her claim mere hours after the fight. Coenen (17-3) is currently the #2 ranked fighter (Cyborg is currently #1) and will most likely face Cyborg in her title fight this coming January on Strikeforce. Coenen earned the shot after she defeated 135 pound contender Roxanne Modafferi on a Strikeforce card last month.
This Holland-based fighter does have one blemish this year, as #7 ranked Cindy Dandois (1-0) defeated her by decision this last January. Coenen is considered one of the best grapplers in the world of MMA and people are saying the Cyborg fight will be a classic striker verse grappler competition. Cyborg is still working on her grappling skills but has claimed third place in the Abu Dhabi invitational jiu-jitsu tournament this year; something that Coenen did back in 2007.
Perhaps the one fighter that a lot of critics consider to be the fighter that should take on Cyborg is Erin Toughill (10-2-1). Toughill has had a similar career to Carano’s (Carano and her were both on “American Gladiators” and have trained in Muay Thai). Toughill is much stronger and heavier than Carano which would be a great match to Cyborg’s strength. Toughill was set to face Coenen for the title shot but came down with some health issues and is expected to face the winner of Coenen-Cyborg in 2010.
Gina Carano has stated that she will not be coming back to the cage until late spring due to her filming a movie. Her ranking has since slipped to #4. Sources close to Carano, however, are saying she is doing training during her off time from the cage. Rounding out the top 5 is Kelly Kobold, whose last fight was a decision loss to Carano. Kobold says she will be back with a vengeance in 2010 and a lot of fight fans are expecting this brawler to make her mark in women’s MMA.
Next week we will break down the 135 pound division, which includes tough undefeated fighter Sarah Kaufman and her possible opponent in January, Takayo Hashi.
Round by Round with the 145 Pound Division
By: MarQ Piocos, News Editor