This past weekend, we had events by two of the world’s top promotions as the UFC held their bi-annual Ultimate Fighter finale in Las Vegas and Cage Warriors continued their run of excellent cards in Glasgow, Scotland.
There were plenty of highlights on both shows and I could wax lyrical about the enduring quality of Urijah Faber, Kelvin Gastelum’s underdog victory over Uriah Hall, Jim Alers fine performance to take the Cage Warriors title or Neil Seery’s awesome liver kick knockout.
However, on two shows which have classically been a showcase for the best in male mixed marital arts, the real stars of each show turned out to be girls.
Now for Cage Warriors, this is nothing new as the likes of Rosi Sexton and Aisling Daly have been featured in the promotion for years but the girls are still very much a extra serving to their usual fare.
In the UFC’s case, this weekend saw only their second ever women’s bout, still little more than a year removed from Dana White saying there would never be girls in the UFC.
Live at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, there was a real feeling that Joanne Calderwood‘s match with Sally Krumdiak was the main event and that this was Scotland’s last chance to see Calderwood compete in a long while before she dedicates herself to Invicta FC.
Joanne didn’t disappoint, finding her range and waiting for an opportunity to strike, she took advantage of a misjudged spinning back fist from Krumdiak to hit her with a teep that unbalanced her and followed up with a beautiful uppercut and swarmed for the TKO finish in the first round.
From Las Vegas, Cat Zingano‘s emotional entrance showed exactly how much being in the UFC meant to her. Despite being a real newcomer to the big show – this was her first fight on live TV with her biggest platform thus far having been on one of Invicta FC’s early shows – she went toe to toe with one of the highest ranked and most experienced female fighters, Miesha Tate for three pulsating rounds.
Tate took the first two rounds and Zingano needed to produce something in the third. Where so many Octagon debutants wilt, she stepped up and used her wrestling to get an advantage over Tate, lay in some damage and as Tate got to her feet, Zingano nailed a series of BRUTAL knees that bloodied and discombobulated Tate to earn the TKO victory.
After all the praise for Invicta and hype for Ronda Rousey, I feel that this weekend is where the girls really crossed over. As the lone female bout on male dominated shows, lacking the benefit of a Primetime promotional campaign, the girls in these matches stood up and were noticed.
Surely, the naysayers who continue to pout and say that girls can’t fight, that the matches are off a low standard etc. have to shut up now?
To cap it off, the media feedback from yesterday’s TUF try outs, especially for the female 135lb division was more than glowing. It seems would could have more than a few already ranked females in the TUF house this autumn.
The girls are here to stay, and damn are the matches good. They are outshining the boys on their own shows, and anyone who denies that they deserve such a platform is nothing less than a misogynist of the worst degree.
I wish I could fight like a girl…