Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been an exciting year for the UFC, especially for the women's division, and carrying that momentum into 2021 is a priority.
2020 saw only four women's title fights, yet one of them went on to become one of the greatest battles the sport has ever seen. Strawweight champion Zhang Weili took on former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 and retained her title in an edge-of-your-seat encounter. Even though the split decision went in Weili's favor, it took nothing away from the calculated strikes and beautiful combinations Jedrzejczyk had landed.
The other three title fights saw Amanda Nunes once and Valentina Shevchenko twice defend their respective titles.
As exhilarating as the last year was, 2021 is also going to start with its fair share of women's bouts. Here's a brief look into all the women's UFC fights booked for January to date.
Bethe Correia vs. Wu Yanan - UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar
Former title challenger Bethe Correia will take on young talent Wu Yanan on January 16 in a bantamweight bout. Coming off a loss to Pannie Kianzad earlier in July, this fight will be Correia's last in UFC. Correia has been in UFC since 2013 and has secured wins against the likes of Shayna Baszler and Jessica Eye.
Yanan is also coming off a loss to Mizuki Inoue. While Yanan will be looking to return to winning ways, Correia will want to retire on a high note.
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Viviane Araujo - UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Chimaev
Roxanne Modafferi stopped 'The Future' Maycee Barber earlier this year with a decision win, then dropped one to Lauren Murphy before winning again against Andrea Lee.
Viviane Araujo, on the other hand, has only one victory this year, against Montana De La Rosa. Both the fighters will be looking to take their win streak to two when they meet for a women's flyweight bout on January 20, 2021.
Victoria Leonardo vs. Manon Fiorot - UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Chimaev
In the same card as above, flyweights Victoria Leonardo and Manon Fiorot will meet in their promotional debuts. Leonardo, a Contender Series alum, earned a UFC contract with a knockout win over Chelsea Hackett. Fiorot, the reigning UAE Warriors champion, will be looking to replicate her success in the UFC.
Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood - UFC 257
A top-notch flyweight bout, Jessica Eye vs Joanne Calderwood will take place on the same card as Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. Both the fighters are coming off losses in their last outing - Jessica Eye to Cynthia Calvillo and Joanne Calderwood to Jennifer Maia. They are No. 6 and No. 7 ranked in the women's flyweight division, respectively.
Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann - UFC 257
Julianna Pena meets Sara McMann on the same UFC 257 card in a bantamweight fight. A former Olympian, Sara McMann will take on Julianna Pena after a triumphant return to the octagon post-pregnancy. Pena will be looking to bounce back from her submission loss to Germaine de Randamie.Published 30 Dec 2020, 02:26 IST