Featherweight prospect Marina “The Supernova from Moldova” was spotted at last night’s Bellator 132 event. Some folks are hoping that she drops to bantamweight so she can be with her fellow Four Horsewomen in the UFC. I however think that Shafir should stay at 145 pounds.
Some of you are probably saying “No, Marina needs to go to UFC with her Four Horsewomen friends.”
First off, the UFC doesn’t have a women’s 145-pound division. Second, there’s nothing wrong with fighters who train together conquering other promotions. It’s actually quite common – I’m looking at you Anthony Pettis and Ben Askren. But there’s nothing wrong with Shafir going to Bellator. In fact, it might be a good fit for her.
In 2014 Bellator president Scott Coker brought the women’s 145-pound weight class as part of his makeover for the promotion. There is currently no champion, which means there are room for stars to emerge. The women’s division has veterans like former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen and Canadian star Julia Budd but there’s a chance for new blood to rise and become a face of the division.
Shafir is at a crossroads in her career. She’s coming off a TKO loss against the hard-hitting Amanda “The Lady Killer” Bell. Before that she had a first-round submission win over Chandra Engel. She also had a 5-0 amateur run. Some fans were giddy about Bell knocking out Shafir and saying “One of the four has fallen. She is surely done.” I think those folks forgot that everyone loses a fight, especially in the beginning of their career.
Being in Bellator gives Shafir a chance to also break out of the shadow of current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and establish her own brand. The promotion would obviously market her as “a member of the Four Horsewomen” until she starts tearing through the competition. She’ll probably continue to be recognized as one of the four, but also have her own brand.
Some folks might be skeptical and say there’s a lack of 145-pound fighters but there’s competition around the world. Personally, I think Shafir vs. Coenen would be one hell of a grappling match down the road. For now, there are a couple of fighters Bellator has that they could match up with, such as Talita Nogueira and Holly Lawson.
The UFC might someday establish a 145-pound division but until then, let’s hope that Bellator picks up the Supernova.