Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cage Warriors' (Somehow Overlooked) Female 125lb Tournament

Sexton vs Daly was epic.
Photo via
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship is currently putting on some great shows in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. In its female flyweight tournament, they have featured three of the top ten fighters in the world, with very little fanfare from the MMA community. I had a very brief moan about Rosi Sexton's exciting victory over Aisling Daly being somewhat overlooked by the MMA media over the weekend. Now I'd like to give and over view of the Cage Warriors women's flyweight tournament so far and give a little preview of the final which should come later this year.

Fight videos and commentary after the jump.

Sheila Gaff vs Jennifer Maia

Before this bout took place, little was made of this being the start of a tournament featuring the top talent in the weight class.

For her part, Gaff is a beast with great power and aggression who had knocked out Aisling Daly in the first round of her previous fight. Her record was a little misleading since she lost three fights in quick succession, fighting much bigger women. Unfortunately, Maia seemed to be out of her depth in this fight and so it proved

After the fight went down the media had plenty to say as Sheila Gaff was accused of sucker punching Maia while the Brazilian was expecting a friendly touch of gloves.

Rosi Sexton vs Aisling Daly

While Gaff is an exciting fighter and looked suitably scary, Sexton vs Daly was a much anticipated match up for fans of women's MMA, with both fighters having big followings.

Sexton was long seen as the top 125lb fighter in the world, but after more than a year on the shelf and at the age of 34, many wondered if she was still up to the challenge. While Sexton was sitting out, Daly had a great 2011 defeating Jessica Eye and winning the NAAFS title in the US, defending the belt once.

For Rosi Sexton fans, the fight was exciting and occasionally infuriating as Sexton looked dominant in the wrestling and standup, but continued to put herself in dangerous positions in the Daly's guard.  As Sexton told journalists after the event, she needs to develop better submission defense than just not tapping.

Rosi Sexton vs Sheila Gaff

So the final sees Sheila Gaff take on Rosi Sexton. The Cage Warriors belt might not be the most illustrious in MMA as it stands, but at 125lbs, no other organisation has organised a tournament with fighters of this quality and the winner can justifiably consider themselves a world champion.

Sexton will probably be considered the favourite for the diversity of her skill set and her vast experience in the sport. Gaff though is strong and explosive and has the power to knock Sexton out, especially since Rosi has a habit of getting hit.

Bjorn Rebney has suggested that Bellator may well set up a 125lb tournament in early 2013, possibly featuring Zoila Gurgel and Jessica Aguilar. For now, the Cage Warriors belt is the most legitimate belt in the weight class and this tournament final is one to look out for.

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