In this three-part series, I will choose my top UFC women’s fighters of 2020, looking back over what they have achieved during the year. I will detail their fights and performances and explain why, in my opinion, they excelled during 2020.
1st: Lauren Murphy
2020: 3-0 – one submission, two decisions. Now 6-4 in the UFC, 14-4 overall.
Age 37. American. Background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (brown belt). #3 UFC flyweight.
1: UFC 247 (February) – defeated Andrea Lee by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27) on the prelims. The bout took place in Texas, Lee’s home state, and handed her only her second defeat in her last nine fights.
The win over Lee was particularly poignant for Murphy as it was the first time she had recorded consecutive UFC victories.
2: June – defeated Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) on the prelims.
3: UFC 254 (October) – defeated UFC debutant Liliya Shakirova by submission due to a rear-naked choke at 3:31 of round two on the main card. Shakirova had won the Gorilla Fighting flyweight title in her previous bout and was unbeaten in her last three – this was the first time she had been stopped and only the second defeat of her career.
This fight was only the second time Murphy had fought on the main card of a UFC event and was her first-ever professional submission victory. Initially, she had been scheduled to face Cynthia Calvillo at the event but Calvillo had to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.
Holding a record of 3-4 in the UFC at the start of the year, Murphy put together a string of results in 2020 and was more impressive each time she stepped into the octagon. “Lucky” has now been victorious in her last four outings and believes that her results, and the caliber of opponents she has beaten, mean she should be the next contender to face Valentina Shevchenko for the title.
Murphy has never been finished in her professional career and has proven that she is a very difficult prospect for any 115lbs challenger she is scheduled to face.
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