Russian featherweight prospect Yana “Foxy” Kunitskaya will be watching from the sidelines until the summer of 2013. The 22-year-old striker, who has won six straight fights, announced today that she is one month pregnant with her first child and will be taking a year off from MMA competition.
Kunitskaya has dominated all recent challengers in Europe, but visa issues have prevented her from travelling abroad to face some of the division’s top talent. With the featherweight ranks dwindling as fighters drop down to 135, Kunitskaya’s absence in the division will be noticeable for the next year.
Kunitskaya (8-1-0) has maintained a very active fighting schedule since making her MMA debut in May 2009. After suffering her lone career defeat in 2010, Kunitskaya has posted wins in each of her past six fights. Five of those bouts have ended via a form of knockout and Kunitskaya has moved up in weight to 155 pounds on more than one occasion due to a lack of available opponents. Attempts to compete in the United States have thus far been unsuccessful, as Kunitskaya has been unable to secure a visa that is required for her to compete in the country. As a result, she has not yet had a chance to compete in front of a North American audience for Strikeforce or another notable promotion.
While the amateur women’s featherweight division features talented prospects such as Taylor Stratford, Veronica Rothenhausler and Ashlee Evans-Smith, many of the top competitors in the professional 145-pound division have recently made the move down to bantamweight in order to find fights on a more regular basis. Kunitskaya’s absence creates another void in a division that is already struggling and the featherweight landscape will likely have changed significantly by the time she returns next year.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)