Joanne Calderwood has a new fight booked, and why it may be a good thing for women in the UFC

If you’re a fan of Women’s MMA, like me, chances are you have a soft spot for Joanne Calderwood. If you didn’t know about her before TUF 20, you probably became well aware of her afterward.

She’s got some pretty good striking skills, yet comes off as extremely soft-spoken. And, if you happen to be a fan hers, you probably sensed that something seemed off about her walkout back on April 11. Then, when she got thoroughly dominated and submitted by Maryna Moroz just 90 seconds into the fight, you were probably feeling somewhat broken.

There were questions as to what was wrong, and when the news came out about her falling out with her ex-boyfriend and having to move shortly before the fight, many figured she might not fight in this summer’s Scotland card, and would spend some time away from the octagon.

Well, it turns out that the former going to happen. As Matt Erickson of MMA Junkie first reported a few hours ago, Calderwood (9-1) will be returning to the cage in the July 18th Scotland card, against TUF 20 villainess “Rowdy” Bec Rawlings.

The two were initially scheduled to take each other on back at Invicta FC 4 back in January of 2013, but after Claudia Gadelha had to pull out of the title fight against champion Carla Esparza, Rawlings, who went by as “Bec Hyatt” at the time, got the title shot. She lost that fight via unanimous decision, which snapped her four fight winning streak, and kicked off a stretch of three losses in four fights, including a decision loss to Heather Clark at the TUF 20 Finale back in December. Now, she’s coming off a win, and gets a chance to take on an opponent who she was supposed to face over 28 months ago.

While Rawlings (6-4) just fought two weeks ago, coming away with a rear-naked choke victory over Lisa Ellis a little over four minutes into the fight, both she and Calderwood are 1-1 in the UFC. Rawlings might not be ranked in the Strawweight division, but a win here would likely vault her back into the thick of them.

The card, which will take place at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, will be a televised Fox Sports 1 Fight Night card. As for whether or not this fight will be aired on the network, or will instead be ‘showcased’ on Fight Pass, is yet to be seen. Judging from what has been scheduled on the card thus far, the only fight that looks like it might be high profile enough to crack the FS1 portion of the card is Ilir Latifi vs. Hans Stringer.

Most of the other fights look like they will be televised prelim fights at best, and it would be quite surprising if they wind up being on television, while the Calderwood/Rawlings fight gets relegated to the Fight Pass section. Granted, some may prefer that, but the fight seems worthy of being the main card opener, at least in my book.

As far as predictions go, I do believe there is a chance that Rawlings may pull off a submission on the Scot. Rawlings has won four times via submission, and Calderwood does not have the best defense. However, of Rawlings’ four career losses, three have come via decision. Basically, if the fight goes the distance, she will likely wind up being on the wrong side of the decision. I see Calderwood winning via unanimous decision, especially if she’s got her head on straight for this one.

Now then, why might this fight be good for women in the UFC? Simple. Both women are coming off relatively short layoffs. Calderwood will be returning just over three months after she fought (and lost to) Maryna Moroz, while Rawlings will get just a two month break from the octagon.

In an era where the UFC has been criticized for the lack of fight that have been given out to female fighters (such as Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, etc,) this might be a sign of things to come. Maybe, just maybe, we might see some women get three, if not four fights inside the octagon per year. For a longtime women’s MMA fan like me, this is sweet, sweet music to the ears.

Hopefully now, the women will get more fights than before, and some of them will not have to wait nearly a full year, if not more, between bouts. At least, I certainly hope so.

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