2010 Women's Mixed Martial Arts Awards WinnersVoting for the 2010 Women’s Mixed Martial Arts Awards has now concluded and winners have been crowned in 18 categories. With a perfect campaign in 2010, Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Tournament Champion Miesha “Takedown” Tate has been named the 2010 Female Fighter of the Year.

The past twelve months featured a number of excellent women’s bouts, but only one could be named Fight of the Year. This year, that honour went to the back-and-forth battle between Roxanne Modafferi and Tara LaRosa from Moosin: “God of Martial Arts.” A full list of all award winners is below.


Fight of the Year

Roxanne Modafferi defeats Tara LaRosa – Moosin: God of Martial Arts (Watch Fight)

In a back and forth war where both fighters had to battle back from adversity, Modafferi narrowly edged LaRosa in May at Moosin: “God of Martial Arts.” The fight was a rematch from the pair’s March 2006 battle, which LaRosa won by decision. Having split fights, fans have requested a third matchup between the long-time friends, but it was Modafferi who emerged victorious in the top women’s fight of 2010.


Honourable Mentions:

Shayna Baszler defeats Alexis Davis – Freestyle Cage Fighting 40 (Watch Fight: 1 | 2 | 3)
Sarah Kaufman defeats Roxanne Modafferi – Strikeforce Challengers 9 (Watch Round 3)
Catia Vitoria defeats Elena Reid – Playboy Fight Night 4 (Watch Fight: 1 | 2 | 3)
Roxanne Modafferi defeats Molly Helsel – King of the Cage: Toryumon (Watch Fight)
Shana Olsen defeats Yoko Takahashi – CFX/XKL: Mayhem in Minneapolis (Watch Fight: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4)


Female Fighter of the Year

Miesha “Takedown” Tate (11-2-0 overall; 4-0-0 in 2010) – While the format and officiating left a lot to be desired, Tate made the most of her opportunity in the Strikeforce 135-pound women’s tournament in August by picking up two of the biggest victories of her career. Tate also remains the only fighter to hold a victory over Bellator champion Zoila Frausto, and she will have a chance to add another title belt to her collection in 2011. While the date of her title fight remains unknown, Tate will challenge Dutch standout Marloes Coenen in a fight that could propel Tate to the top of the 135-pound women’s division.


Honourable Mentions:

Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto (10-1-0 overall; 6-1-0 in 2010)
Jessica “Jag” Aguilar (10-4-0 overall; 4-1-0 in 2010)


Female Featherweight (145) of the Year

Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (10-1-0 overall; 2-0-0 in 2010) – Though she fought just twice in 2010 and faced another undersized opponent, Santos once again takes the award in the 145-pound category due largely to her impressive win over Marloes Coenen in January. While Japanese fighters look to make inroads at 145 pounds, Santos remains the ruler of the division. The main problem that the Strikeforce champion faces is a lack of opposition within her promotion. As Strikeforce looks to establish new contenders, Santos’s fighting schedule in 2011 remains up in the air.


Honourable Mentions:

Hiroko Yamanaka (11-1-0 overall; 4-0-0 in 2010)
Cindy “Battlecat” Dandois (4-1-0 overall; 3-1-0 in 2010)
Rin Nakai (10-0-0 overall; 5-0-0 in 2010)


Female Bantamweight (135) of the Year

Miesha “Takedown” Tate (11-2-0 overall; 4-0-0 in 2010) – Perfect in 2010, Tate defended her Freestyle Cage Fighting title in January before handing Zoila Frausto her only loss to date in a March grudge match. Keeping up the momentum, Tate won the inaugural Strikeforce 135-pound women’s tournament with a pair of decision victories over Maiju Kujala and Hitomi Akano in August. The tournament win earned Tate a shot at Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Champion Marloes Coenen in 2011.


Honourable Mentions:

Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (14-6-0 overall; 4-0-0 in 2010)
Sarah Kaufman (12-1-0 overall; 2-1-0 in 2010)
Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (5-0-0 overall; 5-0-0 in 2010)


Female Super Flyweight (125) of the Year

Carla Esparza (4-1-0 overall; 4-1-0 in 2010)*

Opening her pro MMA career with three straight stoppage wins over formidable opposition, two-time All-American wrestler Esparza then dropped down in weight and accepted a bout with Megumi Fujii on mere days’ notice in the opening round of the Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament. Facing the top female fighter in MMA history, Esparza put on a very game performance and gave Fujii a tough fight. Returning to 125 pounds, where she remains unbeaten, Esparza earned a hard-fought decision over Nina Ansaroff in December.

*Winner after re-vote; vote initially split.


Honourable Mentions:

Cat “Alpha” Zingano (5-0-0 overall; 3-0-0 in 2010)
Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto (10-1-0 overall; 6-1-0 in 2010)


Female Flyweight (115) of the Year

Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto (10-1-0 overall; 6-1-0 in 2010)*
Ayaka Hamasaki (4-0-0 overall; 3-0-0 in 2010)*

In razor-thin voting, Frausto and Hamasaki share this year’s award for top 115-pound female fighter. Frausto undeniably faced the higher level of competition in winning the Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament, but with fans still split in their opinions of the winner in her final two fights, Frausto will have something to prove in 2011.

Hamasaki, meanwhile, left no controversy around her in becoming the first Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion in December. She dominated previously unbeaten Club Barbarian prospect Sakura Nomura on the feet and on the ground, then outstruck one of the most technically skilled kickboxers in the women’s division, Seo Hee Ham, to win the title.

*Co-winners; vote split evenly after re-vote.


Honourable Mentions:

Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii (23-1-0 overall; 4-1-0 in 2010)
Jessica “Jag” Aguilar (10-4-0 overall; 4-1-0 in 2010)
Mei “V Hajime” Yamaguchi (6-2-1 overall; 1-0-1 in 2010)


Female Strawweight (106) of the Year

Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama (3-0-0 overall; 2-0-0 in 2010) – While still unknown to the North American public, Sugiyama picked up a major upset win in just her third career bout. Facing Valkyrie champion Yasuko Tamada in a non-title contest in late November, Sugiyama earned a dominant Unanimous Decision that vaulted her to the top of the strawweight rankings. With the victory, Sugiyama may challenge for Tamada’s title in a 2011 rematch.


Honourable Mentions:

Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada (12-5-3 overall; 3-1-0 in 2010)
Diana “Dynamite” Rael (2-0-0 overall; 2-0-0 in 2010)


Female Newcomer of the Year

Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (5-0-0 overall; 5-0-0 in 2010) – A relative unknown until August, Carmouche quietly put together a pair of victories before debuting in a tournament alternate bout for Strikeforce. Earning a decision win over Colleen Schneider, Carmouche impressed the Strikeforce management team and earned another bout with the promotion in November. Stopping tough veteran Jan Finney, Carmouche went from prospect to potential title challenger in the promotion in 2011.


Honourable Mentions:

Carla Esparza (4-1-0 overall; 4-1-0 in 2010)
Mizuki Inoue (2-0-0 overall; 2-0-0 in 2010)
Julia “The Jewel” Budd (1-0-0 overall; 1-0-0 in 2010)


Amateur Female Fighter of the Year

Taylor “Tay” Stratford (6-0-0 overall; 5-0-0 in 2010) – Presently ranked as the number one 145-pound amateur female fighter in the United States, and arguably the best amateur female fighter in the country, Stratford graduated from the Ultimate Reno Combat promotion to Tuff-N-Uff in late 2010 as part of the latter promotion’s 145-pound female tournament. She will experience her toughest test to date on January 7, 2011 when she faces Olympic medallist Ronda Rousey, and a victory would turn Stratford into an overnight star.


Honourable Mentions:

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (2-0-0 overall; 2-0-0 in 2010)
Ashley Cummins (7-0-0 overall; 4-0-0 in 2010)
Sara McMann (3-0-0 overall; 3-0-0 in 2010)
Tamikka “Boom Boom” Brents (5-0-1 overall; 4-0-1 in 2010)
Ashley “Baby Tyger” Weakley (4-1-0 overall; 4-1-0 in 2010)
Michelle “Bobcat” Blalock (4-0-0 overall; 3-0-0 in 2010)
Stephanie Eggink (3-1-0 overall; 3-1-0 in 2010)
Brittany Anic (5-0-0 overall; 3-0-0 in 2010)


Knockout of the Year

Sarah Kaufman defeats Roxanne Modafferi by KO (Slam) at 4:45 of round 3. (Watch)

A knockout that made sports giant ESPN take notice, Kaufman put an emphatic end to her highly competitive July bout with Modafferi late in the third round. With 15 seconds remaining in a round that Modafferi may have been winning, Kaufman ensured that the fight would not go on any further when she picked Modafferi up and powerbombed her to the ground. Kaufman immediately knew that the fight was over and walked away celebrating as members of a shocked crowd leapt to their feet.


Honourable Mentions:

– Zoila Frausto defeats Rosi Sexton by KO (Knee & Punches) at 2:00 of round 1. (Watch)
– Cristiane Santos defeats Jan Finney by KO (Knee To The Body) at 2:56 of round 2. (Watch)
– Celeste Saenz defeats Iracema Medina by KO (Head Kick) at 1:53 of round 3. (Watch)
– Michelle Tyler defeats Vikki Watts by TKO (Punch) at 3:02 of round 3. (Watch)


Submission of the Year

Michelle Waterson defeats Ro Califano by Submission (Flying Armbar) at 0:15 of round 1. (Watch)

In a fight that was over as quickly as it began, Waterson jumped into the air and dragged Califano to the mat with an extremely impressive flying armbar. A shocked Califano was forced to hastily submit, giving Waterson one of the most impressive victories of her career. Waterson is currently on the sidelines as she prepares for the birth of her first child, but she will no doubt look to follow up on her success in 2010 when she returns in the coming year.


Honourable Mentions:

– Shayna Baszler defeats Megumi Yabushita by Submission (Twister) at 4:50 of round 1. (Watch)
– Jessica Aguilar defeats Lynn Alvarez by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 4:01 of round 1. (Watch)
– Cindy Dandois defeats Daria Ibragimova by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:02 of round 1. (Watch)
– Marianna Kheyfets defeats Kim Couture by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:06 of round 1. (Watch)


Upset of the Year

Zoila Frausto defeats Rosi Sexton by KO (Knee & Punches) at 2:00 of round 1.*

It was a knee felt around the mixed martial arts world, as a single strike propelled Frausto into the inaugural Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament while Sexton was forced to the sidelines. This fight shaped the second half of the year for the women’s division in Bellator, as Frausto would go on to win the tournament; a competition that she would not have been a part of had she not landed a crushing knee that upset Sexton in dramatic fashion.

*Winner after re-vote; vote initially split.


Honourable Mentions:

– Mei Yamaguchi defeats Yuka Tsuji by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:16 of round 1.
– Zoila Frausto defeats Megumi Fujii by Split Decision (49-46, 48-47, 47-48) after five rounds.
– Julia Budd defeats Shana Olsen by TKO (Punches) at 2:51 of round 2.
– Yana Kunitskaya defeats Cindy Dandois by TKO (Punches) at 0:34 of round 1.


Promotion of the Year

Tuff-N-Uff – Though the promotion features amateur-only fights, Tuff-N-Uff’s contributions to the women’s division are undeniable. With multiple women’s tournaments in 2010, and even more coming in 2011, no other promotion in the world is as dedicated to promoting future female stars as Tuff-N-Uff is. With Olympians and the best female prospects in North America among the Tuff-N-Uff ranks, 2011 is poised to be another stellar year for the Las Vegas-based promotion.


Honourable Mentions:

Bellator Fighting Championships
Freestyle Cage Fighting


Sponsor of the Year

Tussle Fight Gear – Slade Bitler is one of the most valued assets in mixed martial arts. Sponsoring more female fighters than any other major company, Bitler’s Tussle Fight Gear brand is a staple of women’s fights in countries around the world. Bitler is also involved with setting up fights for female fighters and working closely with promotions. His Tussle Fight Gear brand is highly respected by fans and fighters alike.


Honourable Mentions:

Fight Chix
Clinch Gear
5 Star MMA Clothing


Headline of the Year

“Zoila Frausto upsets Megumi Fujii, wins Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament.”

Clearly the most talked-about story of the year in the women’s division, Frausto’s victory over Fujii made headlines both for the contentious nature of the fight and for the fact that Fujii suffered her first defeat in 23 career bouts. Opting to stand and trade with Frausto, Fujii did not win the favour of the cageside judges; two of whom scored the razor-thin bout for Frausto. As fans continue to debate the fight, this headline was the story of 2010.


Honourable Mentions:

– “Shayna Baszler wins Freestyle Cage Fighting Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix.”
– “Miesha Tate wins Strikeforce 135-pound women’s tournament, earns title shot.”
– “Megumi Fujii debuts on U.S. television.”


Fan Vote: 2010 Favourite Female Fighter


 1. Jessica “Jag” Aguilar – 143 Votes (19.78%)
 2. Miesha “Takedown” Tate – 108 Votes (14.94%)
 3. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos – 88 Votes (12.17%)
 4. Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler – 80 Votes (11.07%)
 5. Sarah Kaufman – 78 Votes (10.79%)
 6. Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii – 52 Votes (7.19%)
 7. Tara LaRosa – 50 Votes (6.92%)
 8. Roxanne Modafferi – 47 Votes (6.50%)
 9. Marloes “Rumina” Coenen – 41 Votes (5.67%)
10. Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto – 36 Votes (4.98%)


Inspirational Fighter of the Year

“Mighty” Mia Hayes – As a mother of seven, Hayes is already a fighter outside of the ring as she battles breast cancer. However, she recently become a fighter inside the ring as well and remains unbeaten in mixed martial arts. Persevering through great pain as she fights the disease, Hayes made her Tuff-N-Uff debut in November and competed for Gladiator Challenge in December. Hayes’s drive and determination are an inspiration to everyone involved with the sport.


Legacy Award of the Year

Sam Wilson – Based out of Oakland, California and the Trinity Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym, Wilson works with numerous promotions by assisting with matchmaking and helping to bring awareness to female fighters. Wilson is a key member of the Tuff-N-Uff team and was responsible for putting together many of the best amateur female fights of 2010, as well as pro fights elsewhere in the country. Highly respected in the industry, Wilson is recognised for her invaluable contributions to the sport and to the women’s division.


The Women’s Mixed Martial Arts Awards panel would like to thank all fans who voted for their favourite female fighter of the year, and we extend a thank you to all of the talented fighters who competed this year. We look forward to even bigger and better things for the women’s division in 2011.


  2. Got a lot of them right.
    Congrats to the nominees and the winners, well deserved.