In recent weeks we have seen some of the best fighters on the planet compete for title shots and major honours. Outstanding promotional champions such as Amanda Nunes and Julia Budd. Top contenders like Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie.
Meanwhile the MMA masses are competing away from the big leagues, hoping to one day emulate the success of those championship level warriors.
The coming week is no exception, with prospects and veterans alike all looking to add another win to their resume and improve their careers. Here is what we have to look forward to over the next week.
Friday July 19
Inka Fighting Championship 32
Club Chiquiam, Lima, Peru
Venezuelan prospect Yuneisy Duben (2-0) makes her third professional appearance in as many months, when she steps into the cage against pro debutante Regina Casana (0-0) at Inka FC 32.
Duben impressed in June, defeating Mavet Torres via second round TKO. That followed a first round submission of Maria Iparraguirre in April. Currently Duben’s professional record sits at 2-0, with one no contest.
Providing the opposition on Friday is Regina Casana, a Peruvian flyweight with an underwhelming amateur record. It is a fight Duben is supposed to win. If she does so impressively, the Venezuelan will remain one to watch over the next couple of years.
Saturday July 20
WEF ProfFight 35
Grand Restaurant Tsin, St. Petersburg, Russia
The women’s lightweight division has never been given a lot of love, largely because it has never had a lot of talent actively competing there.
While the Professional Fight League’s 155 pound women’s tournament exists primarily to promote Olympic judoka Kayla Harrison, that is at least one semi-major promotion currently booking lightweight fights.
On Saturday at WEF 83: ProfFight 35 two more lightweights make their professional debuts, Alyona Pimenova (0-0) and Tatyana Tsareva (0-0).
While the vast former Soviet region continues to churn out prospects at pace, female fighters from that region have struggled to develop and make a serious impact at the top of the sport.
As such it will be interesting to see how much potential either of these unknowns shows when they meet in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
Atlas Fights 36
IP Casino Resort, Biloxi, Mississippi
Strawweights Miki Rogers (3-7) and Valerie Soto (2-2) collide in Biloxi on Saturday, with both hoping to get back in the win column.
Rogers had been on a five-fight losing streak going into 2018, before turning things around with back-to-back first round submission wins. The change in fortunes was short lived as the 29-year-old lost via split decision to Jenny Clausius in December last year.
While Rogers’ level of competition has always been strong — UFC notables Hannah Cifers, Montana de la Rosa and Gillian Robertson all sit on her resume — her opponent on Saturday has shown plenty of promise while achieving mixed results.
Valerie Soto’s record sits at 2-2, and she was most recently defeated by Vanessa Demopoulos at LFA 62. Less than one year into her professional career, Soto has plenty of time on her side and remains a strong prospect.
Peak Fighting 2
Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center, Texarkana, Arkansas
The women take center stage in Texarkana on Saturday night, as Shannon Goughary (3-2) faces Cristina Crist (0-1) in the Peak Fighting 2 main event.
Crist came up short in her professional debut against Valerie Soto last year, losing via unanimous decision. That fight took place at strawweight, but the 29-year-old is dropping down to atomweight for the Peak Fighting 2 headliner.
Shannon Goughary found success in her return to atomweight last time out, putting Tabatha Ann Watkins away in the second round of their fight in April.
That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Goughary, improving her professional record to 3-2 and setting the 33-year-old up for an extended run at 105 pounds.
Sunday July 21
Studio Coast, Tokyo Japan
Japanese boxing legend turned mixed martial artist Emiko Raika (9-6) returns to the cage on Sunday for her 17th professional MMA bout. Opposing her is untested Brazilian Gleicielen Farias (2-1).
Raika has faced a number of notable opponents since transitioning to MMA in 2014. Brogan Walker-Sanchez and Rin Nakai both defeated the multi-weight boxing champion, and Jessy Jess also “beat” Raikia although the official result was a no contest as Jess failed to make weight.
Since then Raika has improved with a 7-2 run that has seen her fight for DEEP Jewels, Road FC and Pancrase.
Raika’s opponent, Gleicielen Farias, has only three professional fights to her name. At 21-years-old the hard hitting Brazilian is one for the future, but a win on Japanese soil on Sunday would speed up her development.
*all records listed below are the fighter’s amateur win/loss*
On Friday as part of the amateur portion of Inka FC 32’s card in Lima, Peru, there are a pair of 119 pound contests taking place. Alejandra Fernandez (2-0) and Luz Huarcaya (1-0) meet each other, putting their young undefeated amateur records on the line. Mariana Soria (1-0) also fights Terry Quispe (2-3).
Storm MMA’s all amateur event in Australia on Saturday also features two women’s bouts. Danielle “Drop Bear” Curtis (2-2) and Brooke Stamm (3-1) meet at featherweight, while Amber Beehag (0-0) and Diana Tundulin (0-0) make their amateur debuts opposing each other in the same weight class.
Also in Australia, Path to Hex 10 features women’s amateur title fights at 135 and 125 pounds. Pippa Shaw (1-0) and Annie Thatcher (3-0) put their undefeated records on the line in pursuit of the bantamweight title, while Courtney Martin (4-0) and Alish Smith (4-6) face off for the promotion’s flyweight strap.
On the European MMA scene, Cage Warrior Italy 11 has two amateur bouts on their bill on Saturday. Laura Mangia (0-0) fights Annabruna Rados (1-1) at featherweight. Also on the card is a strawweight bout between Polish debutante Wiktoria Tucholska (0-0) and undefeated prospect Giulia Solito (4-0).
At Bayou FC 39: Battle of New Orleans Macy Breaux (4-4) is looking to end her losing streak when she takes on Amber Medina (0-2). The event takes place at Copeland Tower in Metairie, Louisiana.
Be sure to check back in with MMAWreckage next week for the results of all these bouts, and the list of upcoming scraps away from the big leagues.