April 19, 2020

Fight Fixin' - Post-Coronavirus Edition: UFC Women's Bantamweight Division

By Adam Martin

The UFC, like every other sports entity in the world, is currently in limbo while humankind waits out the coronavirus outbreak. The coronavirus has destroyed the global economy and has also led to the cancellation of at least three and possibly more UFC cards. With MMA currently in a hiatus, we thought it would be a good time to look through each division and match-make future bouts for when the sport returns. In this edition of Fight Fixin', we take a look at the UFC women's bantamweight division. Note: Some fighters currently have fights booked, but we will ignore those matchups for this series.

Amanda Nunes vs. Aspen Ladd for UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship

UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes has essentially cleaned out her division, and at this point there are very few fresh challengers left for her to fight. It seems likely she'll defend her featherweight belt next, but when she chooses to defend her bantamweight belt I'd like for her to take on Aspen Ladd. Ladd is the highest-ranked fighter who has yet to fight Nunes, so based on the division's rankings this is the fight that should be next. It's true that Ladd is only on a one-fight win streak at the moment, but there just aren't many fresh challengers out there for Nunes, and Ladd is one of them. She's a well-rounded and improving young fighter who has the wrestling and striking skills to at least give Nunes a challenge. Like most of Nunes' title defenses, this would serve as a PPV co-main event.

Julianna Peña vs. Irene Aldana

As pointed out above, there aren't many fresh title challengers at 135 lbs, but Julianna Peña and Irene Aldana are two of the other fighters who have yet to challenge Nunes. That's why I'd match them both up against each other, with the winner getting the next title shot. Both women are coming off of wins in their last fights, and that's a rarity in a division where many of the top-10 fighters are coming off of losses. Peña is mainly a grappler while Aldana is a striker, making this a very intriguing style matchup. It's the perfect matchup right now to serve as a title eliminator for Nunes' belt.

Germaine de Randamie vs. Holly Holm 2

The lone rematch on this list would see former UFC Women's Featherweight Champion Germaine de Randamie take on former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm. These two met back in 2017 at UFC 208, with de Randamie winning a controversial decision to capture the inaugural UFC women's featherweight title. The rematch is a long time coming considering the circumstances of the first fight, and with both women recently losing to Amanda Nunes in title fights, it's the perfect time to match these two up once again and settle the grudge once and for all. The winner would stay in the hunt for the 135-pound title, while the loser would essentially fall into gatekeeper status for good.

Ketlen Vieira vs. Marion Reneau

The one fight on this list that the UFC had booked before the coronavirus pandemic wiped it out is a matchup between Ketlen Vieira and Marion Reneau. Hopefully, the UFC keeps this fight together when the schedule resumes because it's a fun fight. Vieira is coming off of a surprising KO loss to the aforementioned Aldana, but she remains one of the top prospects in the division. Reneau is coming off of a pair of losses herself, but in general is one of the more well-rounded fighters in the division. She is essentially a gatekeeper at this point in her UFC career, and if Vieira can beat her we'll know she's the real deal. It's the ideal matchup for the undercard of a Fight Night event.

Macy Chiasson vs. Bethe Correia

Another prospect vs. veteran matchup that I fancy would see TUF winner Macy Chiasson take on Bethe Correia. Chiasson has looked excellent in the Octagon aside from a surprising loss to Lina Lansberg, and at this point, the UFC should slow-build her rather than shoot her way up the rankings. That's why I like this matchup against Correia, who is tough enough to give Chiasson a challenge, but is also the perfect opponent for Chiasson to score a highlight-reel finish over if she really wants to make an impression. Like the Vieira vs. Reneau fight above, this is the ideal Fight Night undercard matchup.

What do you think of the above matchups in the UFC women's bantamweight division? Comment under this article, or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMAdamMartin.


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