The first women’s weight class in the UFC, the women’s bantamweight division was thrust into the spotlight by Ronda Rousey. But after her stunning losses to Holly Holm at UFC 194 and Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, the 135-pound strap has been passed around like a bag of chips. Without Rousey, who may or may not return to the octagon, dominating each and every challenger, this has become one of the most volatile weight classes in the promotion.
These are strong, powerful women who are extremely fun to watch. You’ve got knockout artists, Olympic medalists and world champion jiu-jitus players all over the top 10. And while it’s still a relatively new class, it is evolving quickly. It’s clear that after Rousey has been dethroned, the carousel for the top stop will continue to run.
Let’s take a deeper look into the weight class. Remember, you can bet on your favorite fighters with the UFC odds .
Weight Limit: 135 pounds
Average Height: 64.2” (5’4.2”)
Average Reach: 64.6” (5’4.6”)
Current UFC Rankings (As of June 2017)
Champion: Amanda Nunes
1. Valentina Shevchenko
2. Julianna Pena
3. Ronda Rousey
4. Raquel Penninton
5. Holly Holm
6. Sara McMann
7. Cat Zingano
8. Alexis Davis
9. Liz Carmouche
10. Germaine de Randamie
11. Bethe Correia
12. Marion Reneau
13. Ketlen Viera
14. Kaitlyn Chookagian
15. Ashlee Evans-Smith
MMA Odds and Ends
Currently, the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu have Nunes as a slight favorite, with a -120 money line to Nunes’ -110. It should be noted that other online sportsbook have them at dead even - it’s that close between the two. They’re unquestionably the best 135-pound women on the planet, and their skillsets make for a compelling style matchup.
Fighters to Watch
Holly Holm is the division’s biggest star, but she’s lost three straight fights. Her starpower might not survive a fourth consecutive defeat. The UFC is giving her a bounceback fight against former title contender Bethe Correia - a striker who Holm projects to do well against. They’ll lock horns at UFC Fight Night on June 17.
Best Knockout Artist: Amanda Nunes. A murderous Muay Thai machine, Nunes has ridiculous hand and foot speed backed with explosive power. Nobody can hit as hard as her - as evidenced by her 9 KOs in 13 career victories, as well as the brutal lashing she supplied to Ronda Rousey at UFC 207.
Best Submission Artist: Ronda Rousey. As dangerous as Nunes is on the feet, Rousey is her equal on the mat. Her ability to snatch submissions in scrambles is second to none. “Rowdy” has nine submissions in 12 career wins - with eight of those coming in the first round.
Upcoming Beast: Julianna Pena. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, Pena has been on fire, winning four straight and making her claim for a title shot going into 2017.
She is as aggressive as anybody in the UFC, and watching her overwhelm opponents is just awesome.
The Greatest: To be determined. Nobody has ever dominated a weight class like Rousey did for over a year, but it’s looking more and more like she was pumped as a poster girl for the UFC. There’s no doubt that she was the UFC’s biggest star, but that could end up being a revolving door for the women based on looks, unfortunately.
It remains to be seen how this division will fare without Rousey. Holm is still a star but will be fighting at featherweight. Miesha Tate, one of the class’s other stars, has recently retired. Nunes presents an evolution of women’s MMA, but she needs a run of devastating knockouts to capture attention. This is an interesting time, especially with flyweight and featherweight additions seemingly coming soon.
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