Best Female Muay Thai Fighters in the UFC: Betting Tactics for Their Matchups | Awakening Fighters

Best Female Muay Thai Fighters in the UFC: Betting Tactics for Their Matchups

by Rew MitchellPosted on
Article Thumb 2024 Valentina | Awakening Fighters


Part of the thrill of watching UFC bouts is the clash of styles. From powerful strikers to athletes with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing backgrounds to Muay Thai, the different elements and skills add unique twists to the MMA action.

The particular style of a fighter will naturally have a large effect on the outcome of a fight. A fighter with a strong grappling and wrestling background is going to want to take a bout to the mat but could be vulnerable in defence when it comes to warding off punches.

Skills have to be taken into consideration when piecing together UFC odds. The quotes on a fight outcome may paint a picture of what may happen, but looking into the background of fighters and checking a list of online bookmakers may help with picking out the true value.

Muay Thai in the UFC

Muay Thai is a combat discipline that uses hands, feet, shins, knees and elbows and is referred to as the ‘Art of eight limbs'. It involves stand-up striking of opponents and features highlight-reel moves like the spinning back fist and Superman punch.

There are also different forms of Muay Thai, which first became recognised early in the 20th century. In the UFC, Muay Thai is used as a base for striking and then garnished with other essential survival skills.

It’s not a grappling discipline, though, and therefore that’s an element that Muay Thai fighters have to adapt to and learn in MMA. Some have done it admirably, like UFC Hall of Famer Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who learned Muay Thai as a teenager and was dominant between 2015 and 2016 after adapting to MMA.

But which fighters are currently flying the flag for Muay Thai in the UFC?

Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko is one of the greatest women’s Muay Thai fighters of all time, not just in her flyweight division. Shevchenko has lighting speed, which she uses to unleash wicked forays of punches and kicks.

That speed often catches opponents off guard. Shevchenko was the queen of the women’s flyweight until she lost in a 2023 bout against Alexa Grasso, who is the current pound-for-pound top-ranked fighter in the UFC.

Shevchenko’s last 10 UFC fights have all been title bouts. Her loss to Taila Stanos in 2022 was a blow to her dominance, and the failure to beat Alexa Grasso in back-to-back fights was a further setback, but she’s far from done.

Zhang Weili

Weili turned pro in 2012 and has a 25-3-0 record with eleven first-round finishes. “Magnum” made history by becoming the first Chinese fighter to win a UFC title by defeating Jéssica Andrade in Shenzhen in just 42 seconds. That was just nine months after Weili had lost her pro debut.

One of the greatest fights ever in the UFC happened between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2022, in what was a title defence for the former. There has never been a higher-quality, more clinical display of Muay Thai in a UFC octagon than what was on show in that fight.

China’s Weili won the bout with an astonishing barrage of knees, elbows and punches. She just tore through the defence of Jedrzejczyk, who again, is a UFC Muay Thai legend. Weili blends BJJ and Kung Fu skills, but those Muay Thai skills do still shine though.

Jessica Andrade

Brazil’s Andrade holds a 26-12-0 record, with 10 of those wins coming via a knockout and she has been a great advocate for Muay Thai. She was back in the limelight in April’s UFC 300 with a split decision given her way over Marina Rodriguez.

Andrade’s big title opening came in 2017 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, before she got on the board with a second-round victory over Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 in 2019.

Andrade has lost her two title shots against Weili and then Shevchenko since then, but still completes the trio of the best Muay Thai fighters in the UFC.

Betting Tactics for Muay Thai Fighters in the UFC

Muay Thai fighters tend to be bigger strikers. You can see it in the skill set of Shevchenko and to a lesser degree in Weili. It’s power and pace of striking that often defines their fights.

For UFC betting when it comes to Muay Thai fighters, it’s rarely worth looking towards submissions in the Method of Victory method. They aren't tactically targeting rear naked chokes and arm bars.

But because they can sting an opponent from out of the blue in the blink of an eye, early finishes through lower lines are well worth considering in the Total Rounds market.

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