Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
There’s no mold to female professional fighters. They come in all sizes, styles and personalities. Elizabeth Phillips, a young fighter from Spokane, Washington doesn’t communicate with fans on a daily basis like the Jon Joneses of the world. She doesn’t have Twitter. You would be hard-pressed to find any pictures of her smiling, and interviews with the young fighter are almost non-existent. She has the straight-forward Ronda Rousey-esque snarl and the stoic, serious emotionless expressions of a Fedor Emelianenko.
At UFC Fight Night 48, Elizabeth Phillips will return to the Octagon for a second time. This time she’ll take on the 10-3 Russian prospect Milana Dudieva.
In her UFC debut, Phillips proved capable of doing damage and putting on an entertaining bout. She fought with serious aggression against Valerie Letourneau throughout the bout, putting on the kind of fight that keeps fans entertained. The opening round saw Phillips bust Letourneau’s right eye open with a cut, while almost completely shutting her left eye due to swelling.
Phillips showed she could bang and if she continues to fight with a wide-open style, could become a fan favourite. Although she tried to be technical at times, it’s clear that she would prefer to put her head down and machete her way through an opponent. She walked through Letourneau’s punches and came straight forward, not unlike a Leonard Garcia of days gone by.
It’s not easy to fight a fighter in their home country, and it’s especially hard on short notice. The fight Phillips took against Letourneau was as unenviable a position as you could find.
Fighting out of the now renowned Sik Jitsu, Phillips is a regular training partner of The Ultimate Fighter tournament winners Michael Chiesa and Julianna Pena. And like Pena, she has that interesting style where she appears so unassuming. No one gave Pena a chance on the Ultimate Fighter, especially with all the competent names in the house, but she persevered.
The 135 pound division has developed quite a lot in the last two years. As the original women’s division in the UFC, females from 115 to 145 pounds all worked diligently to get the 135 pound limit. The UFC is where the money, fame and glory are—as well as the stiffest competition.
With that in mind, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. Across all divisions, young talent need to produce numerous impressive performances to start to make a dent in the fans’ psyche. This isn’t 2005. One solid performance isn’t going to get you into title contention.
Things are not getting easier for these fighters. It’s more difficult than ever to make a name for yourself and the sport is evolving at a pace that is difficult to keep up with.
Phillips is 27 years old and is approaching her prime. In one of the few interviews she has done, she said she believes UFC bantamweight champion Rousey is beatable and that she planned on being a contender sooner than later.
If she can get on the right side of a few decisions and make her style work, we could be looking at a future contender to the queen’s throne.
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