The 105lb atomweight division has fast become one of the most exciting divisions in women’s MMA. The women in this division provide fast paced action, and despite being smaller girls, have shown the ability to finish fights.
Fans have constantly been campaigning for a 125lb division to be added to the UFC, as well as a 145lb division prior to the recent announcement. However, the 105lb division is one of the fastest growing divisions with several potential MMA superstars emerging.
Currently sitting at number one in the atomweight rankings is longtime queen of the division, Invicta FC champion Ayaka Hamasaki (14-1-0). Hamasaki from Tokyo, Japan has been at the top of the division for a long time and has defeated most of the top ranked competitors. Her sole career loss comes to the much bigger 115lb strawweight Claudia Gadelha. At atomweight, she appears unstoppable. Her dominance is reminiscent of the way Ronda Rousey initially dominated the bantamweight division, Cris Cyborg with the featherweights and Joanna Jedrzejczyk with the strawweights. Although it may appear Hamasaki has cleaned out any possible contenders, there are a few emerging prospects.
22-year-old “Evil Princess” Janaisa Morandin (9-0-0) has made her way to number six in the rankings and she believes she is ready for the dominant champion. The Brazilian recently told us that Hamasaki “will have to hold a beast” if the two faced each other. She says “I would not let her have the slightest space on the floor, try to keep the fight on the feet and assert my style.” Morandin has yet to taste defeat in the octagon with an impressive 9-0 record which includes five TKO wins as well as a round one rear-naked choke. It was recently announced she has signed with Invicta FC. Seeing as Hamasaki has run through the majority of top contenders in her division, it’s very possible Morandin will get her wish and receive the opportunity to challenge Ayaka Hamasaki for the atomweight world title sometime this year.
Other potential emerging contenders include number eight ranked Julia Jones (5-0-0) and nine ranked Tessa Simpson (5-1-0). Both women are signed to Invicta FC, are on notable winning streaks and have yet to face the champion. Jones made her Invicta FC debut back in September 2016 defeating Stephanie Skinner in round one via a rear-naked choke, she is yet to be defeated in her young MMA career. Simpson made her debut for the promotion back in July taking the win over veteran Simona Soukupova via unanimous decision.
After a huge victory over number ten ranked Kanna Asakura at the recent RIZIN FF year-end event, 23-year-old Alyssa Garcia (2-2-0) begins her rise entering the rankings at number eleven. Asakura falls down to thirteen. Garcia’s performance on December 29th was nothing short of sensational. The fight largely saw Asakura attempting to take Garcia to the ground. Garcia displayed excellent takedown defence, successfully defending the majority of takedowns, getting the fight into the clinch and landing brutal knees to the body which had a visible effect on the Japanese star. The few times Garcia was taken down, she successfully managed to defend from bottom taking minimal damage and even going for her own submission attempts. All three judges scored the bout in Garcia’s favour. She begun her Pro MMA career eager to fight the best in the world. She has a very close split decision loss to number 8 ranked atomweight, the undefeated Julia Jones. She also has a loss to 115 pound strawweight Celine Haga in a fight which she was severely undersized. The December win over Kanna Asakura is huge for the young star and speaks volumes for the potential she possesses to become the best in the world.
There is no doubt about it, the 105lb atomweight division is one of the most exciting divisions in women’s MMA right now. UFC deciding to introduce the bantamweight and featherweight divisions was largely influenced by the then dominant fighters – Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg. The atomweight division appears to have that superstar in Ayaka Hamasaki. The fact that she is from Japan adds to her marketability as the UFC is always eager to target markets all around the world.
To view the top fifteen ranked 105lb atomweights, click HERE.
How do you feel about the division’s progression? Will Hamasaki still be champion this time next year? Or will one of the emerging contenders put an end to her dominance? Let us know in the comments below.