Tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig will finally get the chance to meet in the centre of the octagon for their strawweight battle at UFC 229.
To some, this will be another showcase of the talented females in the strawweight division getting to show why women should be on the main card within the UFC, to others (like myself) this has been a fight 10 years in the making.
Back in 2007, an oxygen original tv show, similar in spirit to The Ultimate Fighter TV series had ten female fighters live together and train together with Muay Thai instructor – Master Toddy, in Las Vegas for six weeks to win a Muay Thai championship in Thailand.
The group of women were then narrowed down to five via a three-round fight between the housemates, the winners got to go to Thailand and the losing fighter was eliminated from the house and the competition.
Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson were two of the original ten women to compete to try to go over to Thailand and were mentored by Lisa “The black widow” King, who was the original shows winner back in 2006, when there was a one-off documentary with seven female fighters and female Muay Thai & MMA legend Gina Carano.
Whilst Michelle lost her fight to get to go to Thailand, Felice won and set off to Thailand with the rest of the other four finalists, winning her fight in Thailand via TKO.
Felice went back to her kickboxing roots for a further two years before transitioning to MMA in 2009 where “The Lil Bulldog” had arrived.
Having competed for XFC, Bellator and Invicta, Felice was finally signed to The Ultimate Fighter season 20 in 2014.
Michelle transitioned to MMA in 2007 with help from Donald Cerrone at the time and “The Karate Hottie” competed at strawweight and atomweight in which she won the Invicta Atomweight Belt before being signed to the UFC in the strawweight division in 2015.
After Felice’s third win in a row against Justine Kish in 2017, she called out Michelle Waterson citing “she had already been offered the fight and accepted it, but it got taken away from her.”
With Felice Herrig being ranked #9 and Michelle Waterson being ranked #8 in the UFC fighter rankings and given both their shared history, this is one fight not to be missed.
On Saturday, June 22nd, 2019, Bellator MMA will be making their return to the SSE Arena in London.
Making her debut for the promotion will be U.K’s Bryony Tyrell, and if you had told her six years ago that she would be on one of the world’s largest MMA promotions and competing in front of her home crowd, I’m pretty sure she’d be laughing at just the thought.
Born and raised in Sevenoaks, Kent, Bryony has always enjoyed the thrill and excitement of extreme sports; from BASE jumping, Bungee jumping, and sky diving, to testing herself in mixed martial arts.
Holding a Masters Degree in nursing and a Degree in Molecular Cell Biology, the critical care nurse now based in Southampton has always had a passion for martial arts.
Starting in Kickboxing and Kung Fu 19 years ago, Bryony quickly fell in love with all aspects of martial arts so much, that, she added in Krav Maga, Japanese jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai before finally concentrating on Wrestling and Brazilian Jiujitsu, forming the mixed martial arts career she has today. “Martial arts are my passion in life. I love the contrast that they can be beautiful and deadly at the same time” Bryony said. “Anyone that practices a martial art to a high level knows that it involves incredible dedication and discipline, and also pushes your body and mind to the limits of endurance.”
Originally part of U.K MMA pioneer (and ex UFC athlete) Rosi Sexton’s mentoring scheme, Bryony went about taking Rosi’s advice on training, nutrition, competing and training with Rosi. “I was very privileged to be on a mentorship scheme with Rosi. I gained invaluable advice at the beginning of my amateur career” said Bryony.
The 18th of May 2013 is a day that Bryony will forever have as a fond memory. It was when she made her amateur debut and found out exactly what she is capable of in the cage. “I think the only way to truly know how good you are at fighting is to compete. Being locked in a cage with another trained fighter who can use pretty much any style or technique against you is the ultimate test”, Bryony said when recalling the first time she stepped into the cage.
Not only content with competing in amateur MMA bouts, but Bryony also tested her skills by competing in white-collar boxing bouts, Muay Thai bouts, and grappling matches to gain invaluable experience before turning pro in November 2015.
Holding a current professional record of 4 wins 3 losses and 1 draw, with all 3 of those losses coming from title fights with two of those athletes currently competing in the UFC and Bellator, Bryony is no stranger to adversity in the MMA industry.
Having started in her MMA career aged 33, Bryony was considered by some promotions and coaches to be ‘too old’ to be competing in the sport. Once Bryony turned pro at the age of 35 and started to win, it was only then that she began to believe in herself more and knew that ‘age was just a number’. At least, to her anyway, and she set about proving just that.
Having gone 4-3-1 in her pro career, taking short notice fights and a title fight in a weight class above her usual weight division, Bryony felt that her current gym, Exile, had let her down. “I felt like the industry had written me off for being too old, and some of the coaches at my gym had said I was too old and slow after I lost the Cage Warriors title fight against Molly McCann. When they wrote me off because of that loss, I didn’t think that was fair. It was quite demoralizing for me. The whole experience was quite demoralizing, and I just stopped the enjoyment of the sport.
On top of that, Cage Warriors wouldn’t give me a fight at strawweight, and I felt I was not valued as a fighter, and not being given significant opportunities. It just wasn’t worth the sacrifice anymore. So, I decided to retire in July 2018.”
Since retiring from competitive MMA, Bryony thought that she’d feel better because of the less stress involved and would have more time to spend with her husband and two children. However, she felt like there was a massive hole in her life and felt very down, having nothing to work towards with the Adrenalin rush that she always knew she had. “Having just a normal life is not good enough for me. I know it is quite a selfish attitude to have especially the fact that I have got young children and an amazing husband and a stressful job. I need that buzz to make me happy.”
Looking to replace that ‘buzz’ Bryony decided she would concentrate on achieving the top levels in grappling. After taking home silver at the IBJFF and silver at the UK ADCC, she didn’t have the same drive for grappling as she did in MMA, stating that “I didn’t put 100% in because I just didn’t have that kind of fear factor that someone is going to smash your face in if you don’t train properly, and it wasn’t dangerous for me.”
On May 30th, 2019 it was officially announced that Bryony had come out of retirement and will be competing on the Bellator London card on June 22nd at the SSE Arena, where she will face the current kickboxing champion Denise Kielholtz in a flyweight MMA bout. A fight that has been over a year in the making, as Bryony initially accepted a short notice (1 week) fight against Denise back in February 2018 but had to withdraw due to being medically suspended after her fight with Molly McCann. It was suggested to Bryony that Denise wasn’t matched up for the London card and did she fancy another fight. It was at that point that Bryony messaged her managers, who then contacted Bellator, and they came back with a yes straight away.
With ten weeks to prepare for the bout, Bryony went to Cross Face gym in Watford, training with head coach Dave Lee and Charlie Leary who is also on the London card. For the final two weeks of her training camp, Bryony flew out to Thailand to train at UFC athlete Johnny Walker and Leo Gosling’s new gym Chokchai Muay Thai. “While Johnny and Leo were here in Southampton, I trained with them, so it made sense for me to go out and spend two weeks over at there new gym in Thailand. They have a few UFC athletes training there, and Jorge Kanella who is also on the London card. Being surrounded by world-class coaches and fighters, this fight camp has been on a different level to any other I’ve had. They treat me as an equal, and I’m keeping up with these guys who are top-level pro fighters, so it’s been a massive confidence boost to come back to fighting after people had written you off. I’ve got some amazing people around me that believe in me, and I know I can win this fight.”
With the advantage of having 16 MMA fights compared to Denise’s 4 MMA fights, and factoring in that Denise is Bellator’s kickboxing champion and has had numerous kickboxing bouts, Bryony realises that Denise is a superb striker, having watched a lot of her fights just purely to learn from her and improve her own striking. She is also a classy athlete and represents the sport incredibly well.
Feeling that this is a good match-up and an opportunity Bryony had been asking for throughout her MMA career, she now thinks that having dedicated her life to MMA and competing for the last five years, come June 22nd it will have paid off.
With the fact that Denise is a world champion kick-boxer, Bryony knows that it is unrealistic to think she could beat a multiple world champion striker on her feet, and therefore feels Denise will probably think that Bryony will want to get her to the ground as that is where she tends to do best. “She will be physically stronger than me and be powerful so it will be down to see who can implement their fight game, as always in MMA.
“It’s going to be a fair fight as we both have had a good preparation for this bout. I think I am probably going in there as the underdog and that’s fine with me as that’s normal, but the nice thing for me is she may well be a top striker in Bellator and the promotion, but we are fighting in London in front of my home crowd, which is nice for me because it’s rare that I get to fight in front of a home crowd. It is going to be amazing to have support there, and I’m also fighting on the same card as good friends of mine, Kate Jackson, Charlie Leary and Jorge Kanella, and Johnny and Leo are also going to be there. It is going to be amazing.”
Aiming for a submission win, Bryony has one last thing to say. “Last year my fire went out, this year it’s back with a vengeance! I am incredibly honoured and grateful for this opportunity on the world stage against such an impressive opponent. I got written off as a fighter. This year, I’m training alongside Bellator and UFC athletes treated as equal. Don’t let anyone crush your dreams if you surround yourself with the right people you will succeed!”
Invicta FC 29 was back last night at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, headlined by Sarah Kaufman and Katharina Lehner who battled it out to see who would become the Invicta FC Bantamweight champion.
Bantamweight Main Event – Vacant Bantamweight Title Sarah Kaufman defeats Katharina Lehner via submission (RNC) – Round 3, 4:30 to become the new Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion
Catchweight Bout (139.6 lbs) Pannie Kianzad defeats Bianca Daimoni via UD (30-27 x 3)
Catchweight Bout (126.3 lbs) Pearl Gonzalez defeats Barbara Acioly via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:30
Bantamweight Bout Marciea Allen defeats Julia Avila via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 0:49
Flyweight Bout Liz Tracy defeats Cheri Muraski via UD (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
Bantamweight Bout Lisa Spangler defeats Sarah Kleczka via UD (29-28 x 3)
Featherweight Bout Macy Chiasson defeats Allison Schmidt via UD (30-27 x 3)
Strawweight Bout Helen Peralta defeats Cheyanne Vlismas via UD (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
LFA 6 came live from the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas last night where Rivaldo Junior took on Ray Rodriguez in the headline bout.
Brazilian Jui-Jitsu specialist Mackenzie Dern was making her third pro outing in her Mixed Martial Arts career. Dern could not make the contracted weight for 115lbs, so the bout was changed to a Catchweight of 120lbs just before she took to the scales and weighed in on target on the second attempt. Her opponent Katherine Roy will receive 20% of her fight purse.
Ray Rodriguez def Rivaldo Junior via split decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Eryk Anders def Jon Kirk via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:35
Mackenzie Dern def Katherine Roy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Richard Odoms def Willian Hoffman via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:25
Gleidson Cutis def Dimitre Ivy via submission (grapevine leg lock) – Round 1, 2:38
Anthony Ivy def Arthur Ashton via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:04
Prelim Card – Amateur Bouts
Damian Alfaro def William Walker via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1
Jonathan Gomez def Patrick Ferguson via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 3
Marcell Mickens def Tomas Suarez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2
Bellator 174 took place Friday, March 3 at Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The main card aired on Spike TV.
Headlining the event was former Strikeforce champion, Marloes Coenen facing Julia Budd for the inaugural women’s featherweight title. It was, however, to be Julia Budd’s night after stopping Coenen in the fourth round to become the new featherweight champion.
Coenen then took the time to thank Scott Coker and Bellator before announcing her retirement from the sport.
“I have dreamt about this moment forever. When I was 21 and first started kickboxing, I dreamt about being a champion, and I didn’t make it, I lost.” Budd said. “So, this is my dream come true. The moment I signed with Bellator, I saw all the champions up there on the banners, and I said to myself that I want to be up there with them some day. Now it feels like everything has come together.”
“There’s only one message that I want to give out to all the fighters out there, and that is, please listen to your body. I am very proud of all the women in MMA, and I am very grateful for Bellator,” Coenen said. “This company picked me up when I was in a dark place, and Scott Coker has given me so many opportunities throughout my career. Bellator MMA will always be my home.”
Julia Budd (10-2) defeated Marloes Coenen (23-8) via TKO (punches) at 2:42 of round four to become the new inaugural women’s featherweight champion.
The upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter® will once again showcase mixed martial arts’ global expansion, as Polish strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha of Brazil lead a group of light heavyweight (men) and strawweight (female) hopefuls.
Thirty-two athletes from countries such as the Netherlands, Algeria, France, Norway, Spain, Canada, Brazil, England and the United States fight for one of 16 spots available in the premiere episode on Thursday, April 21 at 3am BST on BT Sport (repeated at 10pm BST later that same day).
There will be no shortage of intensity and drama with Jedrzejczyk (11-0, fighting out of Olsztyn, Poland) and Gadelha (13-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) as one of the most intense rivalries in all of mixed martial arts plays out on screen. The two fought in December 2014 with Jedrzejczyk narrowly edging out Gadelha before eventually going on to win the strawweight world title. There will be no love lost between the two as their epic feud plays out leading up to their highly anticipated rematch.
The show will feature 12 episodes, airing on BT Sport. Each episode’s winner will advance in the single-elimination tournament, leading to the season finale on July 8 in Las Vegas as part of International Fight Week. The finale will be headlined by this season’s coaches in a world title bout as Jedrzejczyk collides with Gadelha.
The Ultimate Fighter 23 competitors:
Light Heavyweight Men
Alyssa Krahn, 3-1, Age 28, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Abdel Medjedoub, 3-0, Age 30, Mila, Algeria
Amanda Cooper, 1-1, Age 24, Bath, Mich.
Andrew Sanchez, 7-2, Age 27, Shiloh, Ill.
Amy Montenegro, 7-2, Age 32, Forks, Wash.
Cory Hendricks, 3-0, Age 27, Lynden, Wash
Ashley Cummins, 3-3, Age 28, St. Louis, Mo.
Elias Urbina, 3-0, Age 22, Weslaco, Texas
Ashley Yoder, 4-1, Age 28, Indianapolis, Ind.
Eric Spicely, 8-0, Age 29, Stoughton, Mass.
Chelsea Bailey, 2-0, Age 23, Chewelah, Wash.
Jamelle Jones, 6-2, Age 28, Atlantic City, N.J.
Helen Harper, 4-1, Age 28, Farnborough, England
John Paul Elias, 3-0, Age 27, Fresno, Calif.
Irene Rivera, 6-2, Age 22, Barcelona, Spain
Josh Stansbury, 7-2, Age 31, East Liverpool, Ohio
Jamie Moyle, 3-1, Age 27, Las Vegas, Nev.
Kenneth Bergh, 3-0, Age 26, Oslo, Norway
JJ Aldrich, 2-1, Age 23, Aurora, Colo.
Khalil Rountree, 4-0, Age 26, Las Vegas, Nev.
Jodie Esquibel, 5-1, Age 29, Albuquerque, N.M.
Marcel Fortuna, 8-1, Age 30, Tubarao, Brazil
Kate Jackson, 7-2-1, Age 29, Lostwithiel, England
Muhammed DeReese, 5-0, Age 27, Titusville, Fla.
Kristi Lopez, 2-0, Age 33, Quartz Hill, Calif.
Myron Dennis, 12-4, Age 27, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Lanchana Green, 2-1, Age 26, Darlington, England
Norman Paraisy, 15-4-2, 1 NC, Age 30, Paris, France
Mellony Geugjes, 0-1, Age 23, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phil Hawes, 3-0, Age 27, Little Ferry, N.J.
Tatiana Suarez, 3-0, Age 25, Fontana, Calif.
Trevor Carlson, 10-2, Age 27, Spring Creek, Nev.
All photo credits to:
UFC, Invicta, Joe Pic Photography, Sherdog, Cage Warriors,Bloody Mayhem, Epic Fighting, Google Images, Facebook, http://www.kristilopez.com
Swindon based promoter Gary Turland and Trainer Michael ‘Oz’ Osbourne will be bringing Professional and Amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) back to the town of Swindon after the success of the first two RAGED UK events last year.
RAGED UK will be taking place this Saturday, February 27th at MECA, Swindon which will host a fight card of six amateur MMA bouts along with five professional MMA bouts. Although it will be headlined by Swindon’s Phil Wells and Alex Brunnen, I can guarantee that with the addition of the first ever female bout on the card between Bristol’s L.J Adams and Kent’s Emma Delaney, both of whom are former Cage Warrior athletes, it will be these two females who will be stealing the show.
Full Fight Card
Guy Lewis (70.2) vs Alex Brunnen (70.2)
Brad Watchorn* vs Kenton Kauppinen (93.9)
Shane Riley (77.1) vs Phil Wells (77.1)
Emma Deleaney (63.3) vs L.J. Adams (63.3)
Jordan Patey* vs Krystian Gowik*
Chris Bucksey vs Tom Enstone
Aaron Laleye vs Dean Hart
Mark Ince vs Mateusz Ginter
Oliver Harry Campbell vs Lewis Hawkins
Freddie Allen vs Dale Thompson
Sam James vs Kyle Bayliss
*Will weigh-in on the day with the amateur fighters
Tickets are £20 and £40 VIP available from all fighters, The Forum, The Khyber; alternatively you can buy online at www.swindontickets.co.uk or click on their social media pages Facebook/Twitter.
Tickets are subject to a surplus charge on the door.