Since the addition of female fighters to the Ultimate Fighting Championship back in 2013, women have put on some excellent fights. A great number of raw, unrefined scraps have taken place due to the still-developing skill level of women’s mixed martial arts.

The expansion to include a strawweight division only increased the number of great fights produced by females. The talent level rose dramatically in comparison to the bantamweights, leading to great fifteen-minute battles. Without further ado, here are the top five female fights in UFC history.

#5 Kailin Curran vs. Paige VanZant 

The debut of the sixth-ranked strawweight fighter, VanZant, was a great one. Her scrappy, dirty boxing style was matched-up against the aggressive style of Curran. Right out of the gate, both fighters were swinging and did not stop. Even when they went to the ground (off of great takedowns along the cage), neither fighter used the mat to rest. When Curran achieved a takedown, Paige immediately began attempting sweeps and submissions. After over twelve minutes of non-stop action in the clinch, “12 Gauge” Paige landed a throw off of a foot stomp and battered the Hawaiian until the referee stopped the bout. Both fighters earned a “Fight of the Night” bonus for their efforts.

#4 Jessica Penne vs. Randa Markos

This fight was essentially the “third place” match for The Ultimate Fighter Season 20. Both fighters had something to prove after coming up short in the tournament to crown a UFC Strawweight Champion. The aggression seen in this fight was tough to match, as each punch was thrown with fight-ending intentions. However, the ground work in this fight was something to behold. Beautiful sweeps occurred each time the fight hit the mat, as neither fighter was able to hold the other down for very long. A total of 170 strikes were landed in the “Fight of the Night” of The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 Finale. After the back-and-forth battle, Penne took home a split decision.

#3 Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha

The featured preliminary bout of UFC on FOX: Dos Santos vs. Miocic was a matchup of the two best strawweight fighters in the world: current champion, Jedrzejczyk, and the current top-ranked contender, Gadelha. The fight lived up to the hype, as the best female strikers in the UFC went at it. Gadelha utilized her takedowns to bring the elite striker into her world of jiu-jitsu seven total times. Joanna was ready for the challenge though, as Gadelha was never able to hold her down for an extended period of time. Joanna’s striking was on display at the end of the first round after she landed a beautiful combination to send her opponent to the canvas. This fight featured the highest level of mixed martial arts you will see in women’s MMA, and the controversial split decision that went in Jedrzejczyk’s favor is still argued.

#2 Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes

After her reconstructive knee surgery, Zingano returned to the octagon to fight the super-talented Amanda Nunes. Nunes took down Zingano very early on and was battering her from top position. The referee nearly stopped the fight on multiple occassions.Nunes landed an unprecendented 44 significant strikes in the first round alone. Zingano somehow recovered and landed a beautiful throw, ending the round in top position. Zingano took control of the fight after that, landing a few fantastic throws from the front-headlock position. Zingano opened up round three with another takedown, and achieved full mount. She began pulverizing the Brazilian with vicious ground-and-pound that was similar to Nunes’ in round one. The referee stopped the fight, and Zingano earned her title shot.

#1 Cat Zingano vs. Meisha Tate

Zingano’s career has been marked by adversity. From overcoming her husband’s death and her own knee surgery to place herself at the top of the women’s bantamweight division. Zingano’s two wins in the octagon are a perfect representation of her tenacity. She had a tall order in her UFC debut against the highly ranked Meisha Tate. Each fighter had their moments in the opening round, with Zingano nearly finishing a guillotine in the opening minute, and Tate nearly dropping Zingano with strikes multiple times. Tate clearly won round one after securing top position for the final ninety seconds of the round. Tate went right back to her wrestling in the second round and nearly finished Cat with an armbar and a heel hook. Tate controlled the majority of round two so the cards were stacked against Zingano going into the third and final round. After three minutes of top control by Zingano, Tate attempted to stand up. Zingano answered with a series of knees and an elbow that dropped Tate, forcing the referee to stop the fight. Zingano also earned the first TKO in women’s UFC history in this “Fight of the Night”.

 

Honorable Mention: Raquel Pennington vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith, Kailin Curran vs. Alex Chambers, Joanne Calderwood vs. Courtney Casey

About The Author

Danny Doherty
Staff Writer

Danny is a sophomore at Ithaca College looking to acquire a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Media. He has been an avid fan of mixed martial arts since watching the UFC’s 100 Greatest Fights special on Spike TV back in 2009. Shortly following UFC 100, Danny’s Saturdays, and most of his free time, became dedicated to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In addition to writing for The MMA Corner, Danny works as a sports broadcaster and as a DJ for Ithaca College’s FM radio station, 92 WICB.