Bellator Women’s 115-pound champion Zolia “Warrior Princess” Gurgel (known back then as Frausto) makes her return to the cage on Dec. 7 to face Jessica Eye in a non-title match. Gurgel is coming off a decision victory over Casey Noland back in October.
The Gurgel vs. Eye match will be contested at flyweight (125-pounds) and perhaps determine who gets a spot in a future women’s flyweight tournament, which the promotion plans on holding in 2013.
This will be Gurgel’s third flyweight match in Bellator. Although she became the 115-pound champion back in 2010, she has yet to make her first title defense as there was never another women’s 115-pound tournament.
Still Gurgel emerged victorious in what became one of Bellator’s most competitive tournaments that included several rising stars in women’s MMA.
In this week’s Fight of the Week, we look back at the finals of the Bellator Women’s tournament that saw Gurgel take on Japanese superstar Megumi Fugii.
What led to this fight?
While Gurgel had competitive matches against Jessica Penne and Jessica Aguilar in the earlier rounds of the tournament, Fugii dispatched Carla Esparza and Lisa Ellis before meeting the Warrior Princess in the finals. Gurgel was at 9-1 while Fujii came in unbeaten at 22-0.
What makes this fight significant?
Although it was in its third season, Bellator was a relatively new promotion and may have been taking a risk in holding a women’s tournament, especially since at a time when women’s MMA was still being accepted. While Strikeforce had two women’s divisions, there were not really any solid promotions for female fighters to go to, outside of local promotions.
Another aspect about this bout is that before this match, Fugii was regarded as the number one woman fighter in the world.
What are some key moments during the match?
Fujii was content to stand during the match. Both she and Gurgel traded strikes throughout the fight.
Gurgel ended the first-round with a head kick and right-hand combination that rocked Fujii.
Fujii waiting until round-four to engage in a clinch.
Fujii manages to get a takedown in the final moments of the fifth round.
The end result
This was a close fight that could have gone either way. Gurgel won the fight by split-decision. I could see the judges awarding the fight to her because of her power, her aggression and the damage that was done to Fujii’s face.
Other fights related to this one:
- Jessica Penne vs. Naho Sugiyama for the Invicta FC Atomweight championship at Invicta FC 3.
- Gina Carano vs. “Cyborg” Santos for Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight (currently featherweight) championship at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg.
- Sarah Kaufman vs. Takayo Hashi for the Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight (currently bantamweight) championship at Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi.
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