This weekend featured a pair of women’s bouts showcasing four prospects at 125 pounds in two very different areas of the world. Rising star Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak picked up her third victory as a professional and eleventh overall by defeating Amber “A.J.” McAvoy at Wright Fights 2 in Missouri.
Meanwhile, Strikeforce veteran Maiju “Maki” Kujala rebounded from a pair of losses by dominating England’s Emma Watson at Fight Festival 30. Kujala, who lost a close decision to Miesha Tate last year, earned her fifth pro win with the first-round stoppage, which came in her native country of Finland.
Honchak (3-1-0) and McAvoy (1-1-0) traded punches in the early goings of round one and Honchak connected with a head kick. She backed McAvoy up with punches and scored with knees against the cage, but McAvoy reversed and answered with knees of her own. Honchak regained control and threw standing elbow strikes and more knees as the opening round came to a close.
Round two began with kicks from Honchak, and she took the fight to the ground soon after. Honchak punched from the top, then stood up and dove back into McAvoy’s guard. The fighters were eventually brought back to their feet and Honchak backed McAvoy up. Another exchange of strikes followed and McAvoy connected with a powerful hook. Honchak answered with kicks late in the round.
The final round started slowly as the fighters picked their shots with single kicks and punches. The pace increased and both landed effective strikes. McAvoy looked for a takedown after catching a kick, but Honchak fought out. More strikes were exchanged and Honchak backed McAvoy up to the cage once again. Honchak scored with knees and elbows for the duration of the round.
Winner: Barb Honchak by Unanimous Decision after three 5:00 rounds. She improves to 3-1-0.
Kujala (5-3-0), fighting at her natural weight class of 125 pounds after a stint at 135 for Strikeforce last year, followed up on an early striking exchange with Watson (1-1-0) by taking her down. From there, Kujala moved to side-control and then to mount, where she teed off with punches. Watson defended for quite some time, but Kujala’s punches proved to be too much and the fight was eventually stopped.
Winner: Maiju Kujala by TKO (Punches) at 4:21 of round one. She improves to 5-3-0.
With her victory, Honchak solidifies her spot as one of the fastest-rising future stars at 125 pounds, along with past rival Jessica “Evil” Eye. Kujala, meanwhile, gets back on track after suffering the first two-fight losing streak of her career. Kujala’s lone defeat before the recent skid came in a late 2009 bout with Bellator tournament veteran Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly. Neither Honchak nor Kujala has ever been stopped in their pro MMA careers.