FCF Women's Bantamweight Grand Prix PreviewFreestyle Cage Fighting showcases eight of the top female bantamweights in MMA in the opening round of the FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix at FCF 39 on Saturday, January 30th. Stars such as Kaitlin Young, Shayna Baszler and Jennifer Tate will all compete for a Strikeforce contract.

FCF 39 also features eight men’s bouts and will stream live in high-definition video on FreestyleCageFighting.com beginning at 7:00 P.M. Central time. MMARising.com previews the tournament bouts and will be live on-site to provide in-depth coverage of the event.


To sign up for the live FCF 39 online stream, click here.


FCF Women’s Grand Prix Bouts

Adrienna “AJ” Jenkins vs Sarah Schneider

Jenkins (16-2-0) carries a significant edge in experience into the fight with Schneider, but has competed primarily in small shows in and around her home state of Iowa. Having never been out of the first round in 18 career bouts, Jenkins looks for the finish early and often, but she will take a significant step up in competition on Saturday.

Schneider (4-3-0) has far fewer fights to date than her opponent Jenkins, but has already battled elite-level competition in nearly all of her seven bouts. With wins over Kaitlin Young and Julie Kedzie, Schneider is one of the top prospects in the bantamweight division. She has also competed against Sarah Kaufman, Tonya Evinger and Jennifer Tate.

With both fighters known for their aggression, fans will likely be treated to an emphatic finish early in this fight. Jenkins will hold a decided advantage if she can keep the fight on the feet, but Schneider has excellent submissions and is more than capable of holding her own in the striking. A victory for Jenkins would arguably be the biggest of her career, while Schneider will be looking to take another step closer to the top of the division.


Jan “Cuddles” Finney vs Liz Carreiro

Finney (6-7-0) is a five-year veteran of the sport and has spent much of her career battling the best of the best in HOOKnSHOOT tournaments. The heavy-handed brawler has knocked out four opponents to date and also holds a submission victory over Ginele Marquez. Having faced the likes of Julie Kedzie (thrice), Shayna Baszler, Miesha Tate and Erin Toughill, Finney has rarely had an easy fight.

Carreiro (5-5-0) is an FCF mainstay and has competed nine times for the promotion. Highly regarded for always putting on exciting fights, Carreiro has won all of her fights by stoppage and is a dangerous opponent for anyone once the fight hits the ground. She engaged in a spirited FCF title bout with Miesha Tate in April before succumbing to a unique shoulder choke midway through the third round.

On paper, this is a classic striker vs grappler matchup, but Finney has a solid ground game and Carreiro has no problem with standing and trading punches with opponents. Carreiro has never been knocked out and Finney has been susceptible to armbars in the past. If Carreiro can weather the early storm and take the fight to the mat, she could potentially secure her biggest win to date.


FCF Women's Bantamweight Grand Prix Live Stream


Kaitlin Young vs Jennifer “Rosebud” Tate

Young (4-3-0) became an instant overnight sensation when she won the one-night HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix in 2007 with a trio of devastating knockouts. The Muay Thai specialist later went on to challenge Gina “Conviction” Carano on primetime CBS television for EliteXC, but she has dropped three fights in a row and is eager to show that she is still a force to be reckoned with.

Tate (5-1-0) made a big statement when she submitted Tonya Evinger in her professional debut and later went on to stop three more opponents. She was matched up against Shayna Baszler at a ShoXC event in late October of 2007, but was forced to submit to an armbar early in the first round. The “Fight Girls” alum has since defeated Sarah Schneider and has been working hard to improve her Muay Thai and boxing.

While Young will be the favourite if the fight remains on the feet, Tate has shown huge improvements in her already solid striking in the past year. Her biggest strength remains in the ground game, but Tate will not shy away from a standup battle with Young. The fighters are very evenly matched and a back-and-forth battle is likely, but both Young and Tate have proven that they have the ability to end a fight on a moment’s notice.


Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler vs Megumi Yabushita

Baszler (9-6-0) is one of the best submission fighters in women’s MMA. All nine of her victories have come by tapout, but more impressively, she has submitted top names in the sport with unorthodox holds that have left opponents baffled. Baszler has struggled when facing superior strikers, but her ground game is matched by extremely few in the division and Yabushita is not known for her standup.

Yabushita (18-15-0) is one of the true pioneers of women’s MMA. The 12-year veteran of the sport has faced anyone and everyone during her storied career and holds wins over the likes of Hitomi Akano, Roxanne Modafferi and Erin Toughill (by DQ). The latter of which saw Yabushita capture the 2004 Smackgirl World ReMix Tournament Championship. She has only been submitted three times in 35 fights.

Baszler showed improved striking in her Strikeforce bout with Sarah Kaufman, but her game plan will be clear here and that will be to take the fight to the ground. Yabushita is a technician herself and holds nine wins by submission, but her jiu-jitsu is not on the level of Baszler. If Yabushita can avoid Baszler’s tricky submissions, she has an excellent chance of advancing in the tournament, but Baszler is incredibly focused and will be looking to return to an elite standing in the division.


Other FCF 39 Bouts:

– Light Heavyweight: Adriano Camolese (1-0-0) vs Chris Hawk (3-3-0)
– Featherweight: Cameron Coffman (5-3-0) vs Jacob Austin (3-1-0)

– Featherweight (Amateur): Treston Thomison vs Charles Anderson
– Welterweight (Amateur): Tristan Demmit vs Steffan Carmichael
– Middleweight (Amateur): Robby Schlitz vs Clinton Jefferson
– Lightweight (Amateur): Jered Bills vs Dustin Martin
– Lightweight (Amateur): Speedy Amaya vs TBA
– Welterweight (Amateur): Zane Stinnett vs Bert Ramos


The FCF Women’s Grand Prix takes place this Saturday night at the FireLake Grand Casino in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The live event stream begins at 7:00 P.M. Central (8:00 P.M. Eastern, 5:00 P.M. Pacific) and is available on FreestyleCageFighting.com. MMARising.com will be live on-site in Shawnee to provide extensive coverage of the event.

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