The UFC bantamweight division is looking relatively smaller than when it first started. Many of the division’s talents have moved or considering moving down to flyweight or up to featherweight, whilst others have retired or are inactive due to injuries, pregnancies and other endeavors.
With the UFC no doubt looking to rebuild their women’s 135-pound weight-class, WMMA Rankings takes a look at twelve prospects who could be set to join the organization. Here is part three of our three-part series.
Mayra Bueno Silva (4-0)
Silva is a 26-year-old Brazilian who trains at the Chute Boxe Diego Lima gym in Sao Paulo. Also known as “Sheetara”, Silva has made an immediate impact in her home country by taking out several highly-touted and much more experienced veterans. In 2016 she handed Marilia Santos her first loss, a second-round TKO. Last year she took part in a Fight of the Night worthy battle against a high-level veteran in Daiane Firmino (9-2-0), earning the decision victory. Silva is by far one of Brazil’s most promising up and coming bantamweights and is looking to continue fighting top talent with the goal of someday fighting the best in the world at the UFC.
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Shanna Young (4-0)
Young is the reigning King of the Cage bantamweight champion, having captured the belt in 2015. The 26-year-old owns notable victories over top lightweight competitor, Moriel Charneski, as well as a woman who Cris Cyborg recently stated was deserving of a shot at her UFC featherweight title, Pam Sorenson. Also known as “The Shanimal”, Young has proven her position against high-level talent and looks to continue defending her belt until she gets the call from the UFC.
Antonina Shevchenko (3-0)
Shevchenko is the older sister of popular UFC contender, Valentina Shevchenko. “The Panther” has a wealth of experience in Muay-Thai and is a multiple time world champion in the sport. With Valentina recently announcing her move down to the 125-pound division in the hopes of becoming a UFC world champion, the physically bigger Antonina plans to eventually do the same as part of the 135-pound bantamweight division. Both sisters are highly disciplined fighters and feel as though they are the best in the world in their respective weight-classes. Most recently, Shevchenko earned herself a unanimous decision over Valerie Domergue at the recent Phoenix FC 4 event in Dubai.
Aygul Khabirova (3-0)
Khabirova is a 22-year-old who has been fighting as a professional for just over a year but has already been making waves in her home country of Russia. Since making her debut, Khabirova’s performances have been nothing short of sensational, submitting Kristina Udalova in the first-round via an armbar, knocking out Lilia Khoruzina in the first-round and handing Natalya Safranova her first loss. She returns to action on January 27 at the MFP-216: Angarsk Battle event when she attempts to take out a veteran of six fights in Karina Vasilenko.
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Fight fans, who would you like to see the UFC sign to its bantamweight division this year? Let us know in the comments section below.