Welcome to the UFC: Irina Alekseeva

Irina Alekseeva, UFC Vegas 72 weigh-in
Irina Alekseeva, UFC Vegas 72 weigh-in Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

Irina Alekseeva was all set to make her promotional debut in the women’s bantamweight division at UFC Vegas 72 this weekend. Then she went and missed weight on Friday, hitting the scales a sizable four pounds over the non-title limit. While the fight is still on, Alekseeva’s debut against Stephanie Egger now has a different look to it.

Irina “Russian Ronda” Alekseeva
Standing at five-foot-eight
Fighting at 135 lbs (bantamweight)
Fighting out of Ekaterinburg, Russia
Training out of Ratiborets
A pro record of 4-1
1 KO/TKO, 1 Submission

How Alekseeva will fare in the UFC:

Alekseeva was a surprising signing from the UFC. Her record is just 4-1, she’s only fought once in about four years, and is about to be 33. Alekseeva’s last fight she missed weight so it is odd to see her just go straight to the UFC. She is a judo blackbelt and a three-time Sambo world champion.

Alekseeva strikes a lot for being a black belt in judo. You will see her use a lot of explosive strikes. Switch kicks, wheel kicks, superman punches, and more than anything, the flying knee. Alekseeva is slow and has plodding footwork. With that said she does a good job mixing it up being diverse. She’s landed a lot of head kicks and flying knees across her five fights. The problem is the speed, set-ups, and power all lack. On the feet, she could be in some fun scraps but that’s all. Alekseeva isn’t going to be one to outclass someone in the striking department.

Alekseeva is better when she gets the takedown in terms of just control time. I don’t rate her jiu-jitsu highly at all. I don’t see her submitting anyone in the UFC. Her judo is good but judo isn’t really a good base to have in MMA. Her takedowns come from body locks and trips and that’s just not going to work as much at a high level.

Alekseeva will probably struggle to get wins in the UFC. Her striking defense, movement, cardio, and other deficiencies will hold her back. Alekseeva should’ve had to go through the Contender Series before coming to the UFC and getting thrown into the fire.

How she matches up with Egger:

Egger is also a judo practitioner. She is also a black belt but was more accomplished in the sport being an ADCC competitor who won the European Trial in 2019. Egger has better judo and her jiu-jitsu is much better. On the feet, it should be a very non-technical fight. Egger wins off volume and forward pressure whereas Alekseeva has more weapons. I see the fight taking place in the clinch and on the mat where Egger is stronger. The pick is Egger and I think she could finish Alekseeva later in the fight.