UFC 205: Raquel Pennington Can Shake Up Bantamweight Division

If Raquel Pennington can pull off a big upset over Miesha Tate at UFC 205 tomorrow, the result could lead to a major shakeup in the women’s bantamweight division.

Raquel Pennington has her eyes on Miesha Tate this Saturday at UFC 205. Pennington is currently seventh in Cage Pages’ MMA Fighter Rankings in the women’s bantamweight division. A win would not only benefit Pennington, who rides a three-fight win streak, it would also put the previous two champions, Tate and Holly Holm, lower in the rankings.

Holm caught a lot of attention when she defeated Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title last year, but failed to defend it when she faced Tate in March at UFC 196. However, Tate also fell in her first match as a champion to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200.

Holm, who is currently ranked fourth, was defeated this summer by Valentina Shevchenko. With back-to-back losses for Holm, she finds herself out of the title picture at the moment. If Tate follows Holm’s path of recent struggles and loses her second straight fight, she would also fall behind the pack. It is up to Pennington to create a mix-up in the division.

Given the heavy load of upsets in the women’s bantamweight division since last November, fans could be in for another stunner this weekend if Pennington defeats Tate. If Pennington pulls it off, she creates a path for herself and two other fighters to become top contenders for the title.

Shevchenko and Julianna Pena are both coming off impressive victories and find themselves in position to earn a title shot very soon. A win for Pennington also puts her in the bubble with Shevchenko and Pena.

If Rousey defeats Nunes in her comeback at UFC 207 to close out 2016, it is possible Rousey’s next match comes against Cris Cyborg in the highly anticipated superfight. If that is the case, among the three fighters between Shevchenko, Pena, and Pennington, two of them would likely fight each other to decide the next top contender.

As for Holm and Tate, provided that Tate falls in an upset on Saturday, they would need to string together multiple wins before earning an opportunity to fight for the championship.

Ever since Rousey’s departure, there have been three different titleholders and a couple of fighters who have improved their stock in the division. If Pennington can continue the trend of upsets in the division, it will put the UFC in position to give a fighter a chance at gold.

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