NORTH EAST MMA Media took the time to take a look into the amateur atomweights of the northeast.  In recent years the northeast region has produced some outstanding amateur atomweights who have moved on to have success at the professional level. Such atomweight standouts include; Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt, Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia, Elise Reed, and Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey. Lindsey VanZandt worked hard as an amateur atomweight and has gone on to fight as a professional under such prestigious promotions as Bellator, Invicta Fighting Championship, and Rizin. Marisa Messer-Belenchia produced a strong (4-1) record as an amateur and has went on to make an impact among the pro atomweights with an appearance at Invicta Fighting Championship and wins with both CES MMA and Premier FC. Jillian DeCoursey was a dominant northeast amateur atomweight who finished her amateur career with an excellent (8 – 1) record. DeCoursey has moved on to fight under Invicta FC and Cage Fury FC as a professional. Elise Reed is a New Jersey fighter who finished her amateur career with an exceptional record of (7 – 1). Reed has built an undefeated (2 – 0) record as a pro. Reed made her pro debut with Bellator and recently won the Cage Fury FC vacant Strawweight Title with a split decision victory over a very tough and talented Jasmine Jasudavicius.

It may be sometime before the northeast fans see another batch of atomweights rise up from the northeastern region to equal the most recent class of Lindsey VanZandt, Marisa Messer-Belenchia, Elise Reed, and Jillian DeCoursey.  With that said the northeast does continue to generate tough amateur atomweights with real talent and some of these amateurs may very well become tomorrows future pro prospects.


Brooke Fahey has tremendous potential for a nineteen year old amateur.  She has become a strong presence among the northeast amateur atomweights. Brooke made her amateur debut in June of 2019 with a unanimous decision victory over Taylor Samarco at Maverick MMA 13. The New Jersey fighter went on to win the vacant Primal Fight Promotions amateur atomweight title via second round armbar submission against Rachel Penkower, a northeast atomweight competitor who carried more experience in the amateur cage. All of Fahey’s bouts have been with northeast regional promotions and two of her three victories have come by way of submission.  Brooke is currently undefeated with a (3 – 0) record and has quickly established herself as one of the top amateur atomweights in the northeast.


Alejandra Betancourt fights out of Kentucky and has built a (4 – 2) record as an amateur.  The thirty-five year old Alejandra made her debut back in February of 2015 with an impressive win at Valor Fights 20 over Linda Gray by way of KO/TKO in the second round. She has made two appearances in the northeast; coming up short against Marisa Messer-Belenchia at Reality Fighting in May of 2016 and a big win over Meghen Williams via unanimous decision at Pinnacle FC 17 in June of 2018.  In August of 2018 Alejandra won the BCM Promotions amateur atomweight championship title with a third round rear naked choke finish of a very tough Jennifer Hicks.  Alejandra brings talent and considerable amateur experience into the cage. 


Ariana Cruz fights out of Connecticut and has produced an undefeated (2 – 0) record as an amateur.  She made her debut in June of 2019 with a very close split decision win over Ariana Melendez under the lights at Reality Fighting. Cruz brings fierce aggressive energy into the cage.  She has demonstrated she can deliver fast hands, sharp punching, and knockout power.  Ariana debuted as a strawweight and fought at atomweight in her last bout proving she can perform at both weight classes.


Rachel Penkower has produced a solid (2 – 2) record as an amateur.  She made her debut in October of 2017 as a strawweight gaining a win over Fernanda Alvarado at Ring of Combat AM 26.  The twenty-two year old fights out of New Jersey and has had all of her amateur bouts with northeast regional promotions.  She has proven she can win at both strawweight (115lbs) and atomweight (105lbs).  Currently her only loss at atomweight was against Brooke Fahey the number one ranked amateur atomweight in the northeast. 


Amy Golding is an aggressive atomweight with a strong background in wrestling.  She entered the amateur MMA game debuting against Elise Reed who many believe is one of the best strawweights in the northeast.  Her win over Jennifer Hicks and her loss to Samantha Seff proves she does not shy away from a challenge.  Golding has faced some of the top fighters in the region.  The combined amateur record’s of her opponents (13 – 8) is a clear example of this fact.  Her amateur record of (1 – 3) does not give a true indication of what she brings into the cage.  Look for her to begin the climb upwards as her striking improves and her experience grows.

By – T. Vickers (NORTH EAST MMA Media)

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