Fighter Profile: Taila Santos

Taila Santos came the closest anyone has ever come to taking Valentina Shevchenko’s belt in the UFC Women’s Flyweight division. The Brazilian who has a background in Muay Thai lands 51 percent of her strikes with ten of her wins coming by way of Knockout, but she has also Submissions in her arsenal of weapons with three of her wins coming by way of Submission she holds a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu but her striking is where she really shines.

Santos was born June 22, 1993 in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil she stands at 5’6 and has fought at both Bantamweight and Flyweight in her 21 fight career. She started training in martial arts at the age of 16 when she started training Muay Thai. She would soon be entered in a championship at Chute Boxe one of the most popular gyms in the country, she win this contest. It was then that she’d start taking Jiu Jitsu and would soon take the venture into MMA with the aid of her father. She would fight one non pro fight but would lose this contest.

Santos would make her professional debut in November of 2013 when she faced off against Josiane Nunes de Lima for the Striker’s House Cup Promotion winning the fight by decision. She’d then face off against Kessiny Mara winning the fight by TKO (punches.) In Santos’ next fight she’d face off against Geisyele Nascimento she’d win the fight by KO (head kick.) She’d win her next ten fights before fighting Laisa Coimbra for the vacant Aspera FC Bantamweight Championship she’d win this fight and the title before fighting on Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 2 winning the bout by Unanimous Decision.

Santos first trip into the UFC Octagon would be in Febuary of 2019 when she faced off against Mara Romero Borella she’d lose the fight by Split Decision. She’d then face Meatball Molly winning the bout by Unanimous Decision. She’d then face UFC submission ace Gillian Robertson winning by Unanimous Decision. MMA legend Roxanne Modafferi would be up next and Santos would again rise to this Occasion and would beat the “Happy Warrior.” She’d then face Joanne Wood where she would get her first UFC finish with a victory by Rear-Naked Choke. She’d then face Women’s Flyweight G.O.A.T. Valentina Schevchenko losing the bout by Split Decision, in the hardest contest she’s faced at 125.

Santos has a promising future in the UFC, I’d definitely love to see her run it back with Schevchenko in the future. 

Fighter Profile: Maycee Barber

Photo Courtesy of Zuffa LLC

One of the most promising fighters to ever come off of Dana White’s Contender Series is Maycee “The Future” Barber who is riding a two fight win streak after her win against Montana De La Rosa at UFC Vegas 53 a few weeks ago and sports an impressive 10-2 record in her young MMA career and is currently ranked in the top 15 of the Flyweight division, and she could be at the top of the division in the very near future if she chooses the right fights.

Barber was born in Greeley, Colorado on May 18, 1998. When Barber was younger she had one dream of becoming an MMA fighter. Her parents got behind her dream and let her pursue it with the best training imaginable driving her and her brother who is signed with Bellator all over the country to train with the hopes of them getting skilled enough to take the least amount of Damage. Barber would earn her Black Belt in Karate and currently holds a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After securing one amateur MMA victory Barber would turn her sights on making MMA her profession

Barber would make her Professional MMA debut in June of 2017 in The Legacy Fighting Alliance. She’d earn the victory against Itzel Esquivel via Submission (armbar.) She’d then face Mallory Martin in September of 2017  winning the bout via Unanimous Decision. Kaila Thompson would be next for Barber who would secure the victory via Submission (rear-naked choke) at LFA 33. Barber would then face Audrey Perkins in May of 2018,  at LFA 39 by way of TKO (punches and elbows.) She’d then get the call to fight on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Barber debuted on the National stage when she’d fight Jamie Colleen winning the three round contest by TKO (elbows.) She’d make her official UFC debut in November of 2018 when she’d face off against Hannah Cifers, winning the bout by TKO (elbows and punches) in the second round. She’d then face JJ Aldrich winning the bout by TKO (Knees and punches) in March of 2019. Barber would then face Submission Specialist Gillian Robertson, barber would win  the contest by TKO (punches.)  She’d then drop two contests in a row, the first to MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi and the second to Alexa Grasso. She’d win her next two bouts to Miranda Maverick and Montana De La Rosa both by Decision.

Barber is set to take on Jessica Eye at UFC 276 in Las Vegas. We’re excited to see how this one shakes out for Barber.

Fighter Profile: Casey O’Neill

Photo courtesy of Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Casey O’Neill entered the UFC in 2021 and since then has gone on a wrecking course towards the top of the Flyweight Division. She looked good in her last outing when she faced women’s MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi, in Modafferi’s last fight in the UFC.  O’Neill is undefeated in her pro career and if she plays her cards right she could find herself in the UFC Octagon across from current Flyweight Champion Valentina Schevchenko as Women’s Flyweight is one of the UFC’s shallowest active divisions.

O’Neill was born Irvine, Scotland on October 7, 1997 to a father who was a Professional Kickboxer. O’Neill would start training in the art at age of four. She’d eventually start training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Her family would eventually move to  Australia’s Gold Coast. It was here that O’neill attended Coombabah State High School. While in school her father reluctantly let her take part in her first amateur MMA fight when she was only 15 years of age. She’d lose the contest by TKO to a 19 year old woman. O’Neill would compile a 5-2 record as an amateur before turning pro.

O’Neill made her professional debut against Amira Hafizovic in April of 2019 she’d win the fight via Unanimous Decision and would win the Eternal MMA Strawweight Championship. She’d then face Jada Ketley in July of 2019 O’Neill got the victory by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) Miki Motono would be next for O’Neill she’d win the bout by Unanimous Decision on the judge’s scorecards.  She’d then move up to Flyweight to fight Caitlin McEwen and would get the nod from the judges again. Christina Stelliou would be her final fight in a non major promotion. O’Neill would win the bout via Knockout, the first of her professional career. 

O’Neill’s next bout would be her first fight in the biggest MMA promotion in the world, the UFC. She’d face Shana Dobson and would win via TKO (Punches.)  She’d then face Lara Procópio winning by Technical Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in June of 2021. She’d then face Current Flyweight Champion Valentina Schevchenko’s sister Antonina Schevchenko in October of 2021. O’Neill would win the fight by TKO (Punches.) O’Neill would then face Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 271 in Modafferi’s retirement fight. O’Neill would get the victory in a Split Decision.

O’Neill is currently ranked 12th in the UFC Flyweight division. It is not known who will be next for her.