The UFC strawweight division is only a few years old, but fans have quickly warmed to the weight class and it’s fighters. There are bankable stars and world class athletes - and in many cases fighters have both the “It” factor and elite skills. While it is the smallest weight class in the UFC, it has no problems drawing viewers - something that cannot be said for its men’s counterpart, the flyweight division.
At 115 pounds, it’s tough to score knockouts, but what the division lacks in pop it makes up for in scrappiness. It seems as “gritty” is a term that can be used to define almost every fighter in the top 10, and perhaps no division personifies “going out on your shield” better than strawweight.
Let’s take a deeper look into this still developing division. Remember, you can bet on your favorite fighters with the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu.
Weight Limit: 115 pounds
Current UFC Rankings (As of June 2017)
Champion: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
1. Claudia Gadelha
2. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
3. Rose Namajunas
4. Jessica Andrade
5. Tecia Torres
6. Michelle Waterson
7. Jojo Calderwood
8. Randa Markos
9. Carla Esparza
10. Maryna Moroz
11. Cortney Casey
12. Paige VanZant
13. Felice Herrig
14. Cynthia Calvillo
15. PJessica Aguilar
Joanna Jedrzejczyk didn’t just dismantle yet another hapless title challenger at UFC 211. With her dominant win over Jessica Andrade, she entered the discussion as the best women’s fighter in MMA. Next up for the Polish powerhouse is Rose Namajunas, a young and talented fighter. Despite “Thug’s” grit, she’ll be a huge underdog in the UFC odds when oddsmakers set the lines.
MMA Odds and Ends
Claudia Gadelha came through as a big favorite at UFC 212, besting No. 2 ranked Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The Brazilian was a -280 favorite in the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu, with Kowalkiewicz at +225. Clearly the second best fighter in the division, Gadelha’s in a tough spot as she’s already lost to Joanna Champion twice. But considering how far the rest of the division appears behind those two, a third fight between them doesn’t seem out of the question.
Fighters to Watch
Cynthia Calvillo is 5-0 with three wins inside the octagon. She’s yet another talented addition to an exciting division. Currently ranked No. 14, Calvillo will take a big step up in competition when she meets No. 7 JoJo Calderwood at UFC Fight Night on July 16. Obviously, a win sets her up for a high stakes fight with title implications.
Best Striker: Joanna Champion. Her Muay Thai technique is picture perfect and has already destroyed some very good fighters. There are few fighters, period, who strikes as efficiently as she does. What’s more, she has insane hand and foot speed, making for some breathtaking combinations.
Best Grappler: Claudia Gadelha. A multiple-time world champion at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, the No. 1 contender is also a physical savage who combines strength and savvy to overwhelm opponents.
Best Prospect: Jessica Andrade. Just 25 years old, “Bate Estaca” dropped from 135 pounds and has looked like a serious title threat in every subsequent bout. Her size and athleticism will be a tough test for anyone in the division. She also has one of the best finishing ratios in the weight class, with 5 KOs and 7 SUBs in 15 career victories.
The Greatest: For now, it’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Though the division is still young, she already has four consecutive title defenses. Even if she loses the strap in her next bout, it will likely take a year or two before any new champion can put that kind of streak together.
The biggest threat to this division would be the creation of a flyweight division. There would be an inevitable talent exodus as fighters would look to avoid weight cuts - even J-Check expressed interest in fighting for a flyweight title. But strawweight is a class that is here to stay - it’s an accessible weight class that will only grow in time.
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