As the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) continues to close out 2016 with huge fights, a theme has formed heading into the final month of the year. A year in which Women's MMA took a giant leap forward in popularity, now culminates with fights like the ultra popular Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson and the return of former champion Ronda Rousey as she squares off with current champion Amanda Nunes.
The trend continues heading into 2017 as two of the top women in the country, and potential eventual challengers for the likes of Nunes and Rousey are set to collide for the State Bantamweight Championship at Remington Park Casino in Oklahoma City on Saturday, January 7th.
Julia Avila, ranked 17th in the United States West with a professional record of 2-0, one win being a high profile victory against the UFC's Marion Reneau (7-3, 3-2 UFC) collides with Nicco Montano, ranked 11th in the United States South West with a professional record of 3-1, and a King of the Cage champion.
Also on the card is a popular clash of contrasting personalities, as jiu-jisu ace and fan favorite Tyler Griffin (3-2) clashes with the outspoken and dangerous finisher Will Thompson (3-1).
The State of Oklahoma Amateur Featherweight Championship will also be on the line as quickly rising star and Army physician Brandon Bailey (7-3) takes on undefeated prospect Michael Smith (3-0). Both fighters are hungry for the belt and are on the verge of their professional debuts in the near future, with each looking to prove that they're ready for the next step.
The full, fight card* features top regional professional and amateur fighters and is set to kick off another big year for Oklahoma MMA.
MAIN: Julia Avila (2-0) vs Nicco Montano (3-1) - 135 (WM C)
COMAIN: Tyler Griffin (3-2) vs Will Thompson (3-1) - 155
9. Wade Smittle (2-0) vs Sunny Law (0-2) - 170
8. Michael Smith (3-0) vs Brandon Bailey (7-3) - 145 (AM C)
7. Aaron Rodriguez (2-0) vs Matt Dixon (3-0) -185
6. Ashley Stone (Debut) vs Cara Greenwell (1-0) - 125
5. Dale Bean (2-2) vs Deonn McKay (2-0) - 155 (#1 C)
4. Kyle Coronado (2-2) vs Shawn Gustafson (1-3) - 135
3. Marcos Rodriguez (1-2) vs Tevin Laskey (0-3) - 135
2. Emilio Gatewood (0-2) vs Billy Smallwood (0-3) - 170
1. Jarrett Norfolk (Debut) vs Mike Hoover (1-1) - 135
*Subject to change