The women’s atomweight division is one of the fastest growing and most exciting divisions in MMA right now. Fighters from the weight-class are constantly showcasing the best fights on their respective cards, with fans constantly campaigning for the division to be added to the UFC.
Invicta FC currently has the most dominant 105-pound division with six of the top-ten ranked fighters under contract including Jinh Yu Frey, Ashley Cummins and Amber Brown. However, it’s ROAD FC champ Seo Hee Ham who reigns supreme at number-one thanks to her recent victories over Mina Kurobe and Jinh Yu Frey.
WMMA Rankings takes a look at four rising atomweights who fans may be unaware of but could be set to break into the forefront this year.
Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (3-0-0)
VanZandt is signed with King of the Cage and is by far the organization’s fastest rising star of the past twelve months. The 24-year-old made an impressive professional debut last July, knocking out Katie Saull in the second-round. Saull is no easy opponent in her own right, having beaten former KOTC atomweight champ Andy Nguyen.
The “Damsel” has been continuing to impress since her professional debut and in her most recent showing, she earned herself a decision win over highly-acclaimed JacksonWink standout, Bi Nguyen. Nguyen again is no easy opponent, and owns a victory over reigning KOTC champ, Jayme Hinshaw. It’s inevitable that VanZandt should be challenging for the KOTC atomweight title later this year, and she’s no doubt a major threat to the champ.
Silvania “Leoa” Monteiro (8-2-0)
Aspera FC’s Monteiro is one of the most highly regarded prospects in the division having made the transition to mixed martial arts following a very successful BJJ career. She’s certainly showed off her submission skills in MMA, tapping out five of her opponents. The Brazilian has also proven that she is a danger on the feet and in her most recent showing knocked out Indianara Machado at just 1:43 into the very first round.
The “Leoa” believes she’s ready to fight the best and hopes to fight internationally in the near future in the hopes of continuing to climb up the ranks in her quest for number-one status.
Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (3-0-0, 1 NC)
Zappitella has fought for a number of promotions since making her professional debut including King of the Cage, Kunlun Fight and Combate Americas. The 23-year-old was a highly-acclaimed wrestler before making the transition to MMA.
The “Half Pint” isn’t afraid to fight bigger girls and regularly competes outside of her weight-class, in February 2017 she submitted the much larger Miao Dong to win the Kunlun Fight flyweight title. At 105-pounds, Zappitella seems almost unbeatable and returns to the division on March 17 to take on Brenda Enriquez.
Lisbeth “Bunny” Silva (5-3-0)
Silva might not be Combate’s most marketed star, however she has certainly proven to be amongst the best. The Mexican, who is undefeated with Combate, is on an astounding five-fight win streak and in her last two showings she’s finished some of the organization’s top stars in Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc and Sheila Padilla. Silva has not lost to any woman who actively competes in the 105-pound division.
Last year Combate were set to introduce an inaugural atomweight title, however both participants failed to make weight. Perhaps Silva, a woman who has consistently made weight, would be most deserving of the next shot at the inaugural belt.
Fight fans, which atomweight fighters do you think will break into the forefront of the division this year? Let us know in the comments section below.