TUF 20 Tryouts Scouting Report


Since a date has been established for “The Ultimate Fighter 20” tryouts, many are wondering who will be trying out and who could be the front runners.

Fighters that are pro with a winning record are eligible to try out, which makes for quite a list. We are also hearing a rep from Invicta and RFA will be there to scout talent, which will bring even more opportunities to the 115 hopefuls.

I decided not to include the 1-0 fighters on the list since a lot of strawweights are in that category. If you are keeping count, add about 15 to the possibles below.


Officially Going

Jessica Penne (11-2) – The former Invicta atomweight champion was originally offer to be a part of the cast, but decided to decline it. Since then, Penne has changed her mind and is set to be the front runner for one of the spots.

Aisling Daly (14-5) – One of the few people to have a win over current UFC signee Jessica Eye, Daly looked great at 115 against Karla Benitez this past December at Cage Warriors.

Heather Clark (6-4) – The XFC and Bellator vet is looking to continue her feud with TUF 20 signee Felice Herrig in the house. Clark had the upper hand over Herrig in the first round of their first encounter, until Clark suffered an arm injury in the second, which helped Herrig take the last two rounds. With a lot of screaming after the fight and no love lost, this rivalry could be a ratings-getter.

Lisa Ellis (15-8) – The one thing the house is missing now is a true vet, and Lisa Ellis fits the bill. The Belltor 115 tournament vet had a fight of the year contender against Penne at atomweight, and Ellis has went toe to toe with the two best fights ever at 115; Jessica Aguilar and Megumi Fujii.

Nina Ansaroff (6-3) – Current on a 5 fight win streak, Ansaroff has finished in all but one of her wins. She recently made her Invicta debut, getting the KO over Munah Holland. She trains out of MMA Masters with UFC fighter Amanda Nunes.

Randa Markos-Thomas (4-1) – The top prospect out of Canada, Markos went 3-0 before her war with Justine Kish. She recently got her 4th win in a match with Lynell House a few weeks ago.

Claire Fryer (4-1) – The Australian prospect has been a well known name in kickboxing and has fought MMA since 2009. Teammates with TUF 20 cast member Bec Hyatt, her only loss was to cast member Alex Chambers. Fryer has back to back TKO wins in her last two fights. 

Amy Cadwell (3-0) – The Washington State strawweight had proved her superior ground game with back to back submission wins.

Jocelyn Lybarger (2-1) – Invicta vet Lybarger won her first two before losing to Sarah Alpar last year. She is hoping to be 3-1 when she tries out, as she faces Rosa Acevedo at RFA 14 April 11.

Brianna VanBuren (2-1) – Having just recent defeated veteran fighter Patricia Vidonic, VanBuren has been on many people’s radar as of late. The XFC vet is strong and her wrestling is something to watch out for.

Jennifer Liou (2-0) – Liou has started her career with big wins over Jillian Lybarger and InvictaFC signee Rachael Ostovich.


Has not confirmed

Lena Ovchynnikova (9-3) – Having started her MMA career in 2006, the kickboxer turned MMA fighter went 8-0 to start her career with 7 submissions.

Nicdali Calanoc (8-7) – An eight year vet of the sport and a fan favorite, Calanoc is looking to string together some wins and to revitalize her career.

Karla Benitez (11-6) – Spain’s top female fighter, she is a seven year vet of the sport and has faced some of the best international fighters. She has won three of her last 5 and started her career 6-0.

Lynn Alvarez (6-3) – A seven year vet of the sport, Alvarez looked like a fighter in her prime getting a first round submission over Amber Stautzenberger in January. Her only losses are to current WSOF champ Jessica Aguilar, former Invicta champ Carla Esparza, and XFC title challenger Angela Magana.

Angela Magana (11-6) – Magana has wins over InvictaFC champ Barb Honchak and WSOF champ Jessica Aguilar in her 7 year career.

Manjit Kolekar (6-0) – The flyweight from India has finished all of her opponents and has came in a few pounds light in all her matches.

Diana Rael (5-3) – Rael has back to back finishes in her last two fights. Even though she is an atomweight, it maybe an advantage in terms of making weight every week.

Marianna Kheyfets (5-1) – has been MIA from the sport since her loss to Munah Holland in 2012. Kheyfets was a growing star at XFC before the loss, and we won’t be surprised if she shows up to make her much anticipated return to the cage.

Kathina Catron (4-3) – The InvictaFC vet had finished in three of her 4 wins.

Simona Soukupova (4-3) – The InvictaFC vet got a notable win over Cassie Roddish. She has finished in all of her wins.

Justine Kish (4-0) – The kickboxer turned MMA fighter has made waves with her win over previously undefeated Randa Markos-Thomas at RFA this past January. Kish started her career with back to back submissions.

Ashley Cummins (3-2) – Undefeated as an amateur, Cummins lost a close split decision TUF cast member Emily Kagan. Cummins is looking for redemption and the opportunity to rematch Kagan and Joanne Calderwood. 

Tessa Simpson (3-1) – Handing Paulina Granados her first loss, Simpson started her pro career with back to back finishes.

Kailin Curran (3-0) – The PXC star has wins over Invicta vet Kaiyana Rain and JEWELS vet Emi Tomimatsu. She trains out of Reign MMA with Rachael Cummins and UFC star Jake Ellenberger.

Daizy Singh (3-0) – The best female strawweight fighter out of India, Singh had back to back submission wins to start her pro career last year.

Livia Von Plettenberg (2-1) – The Austrian fighter has made the move to Portland, Oregon and Team Quest and is a vet of InvictaFC. She took TUF cast member Joanne Calderwood the distance and is tough as nails.

Rachael Cummins (2-1) – Getting back to back armbar wins, Cummins has found her stride as a pro. The Tuff-n-uff vet trains out of Reign training center with UFC star Jake Ellenberger and PXC’;s Kalin Curran.

Paulina Granados (2-1) – Granados  was undefeated as an amateur and went 2-0 before losing a decision to the above mentioned Simpson.

Lynnell House (2-1) – House suffered her first loss in a barn burner with Randa Markos-Thomas in Canada last month. House had back to back finishes to start her pro career.

Michelle Nicolini (2-0) – ADCC grappling world champion and a BJJ black belt,  Nicolini has back to back first round armbars.

Rebecca Heintzman (2-0) – Having gone undefeated as an amateur, Heintzman has looked impressive in her two pro wins.

Helen Harper (2-0)- The British fight is currently fighting out of the Phuket Fighgt Team in Thailand, which is known for their striking. Harper finished in both of her wins last year.


Fighters with 1-1 records…

  • Cortney Casey
  • Liz McCarthy
  • Nohime Dennison
  • Jordan Gaza
  • Kaela Banney
  • Sharice Davids
  • Thea Wolfe
  • Hadley Griffith
  • Stacey Sigala


Not Trying Out

  • Zoila Frausto
  • Norma Center
  • Amber Stautzenberger
  • Patricia Vidonic
  • Jodie Esquibel
  • Sarah Alpar
  • Glena Avila
  • Lacey Schuckman

10 thoughts on “TUF 20 Tryouts Scouting Report”

  1. Jordan Gaza has no shot of making the house. She has shown time and again an inability to get down to the 115 limit. There’s no way she could maintain the weight over 6 weeks in the TUF house. She’s got talent, but she would be better off trying to add more muscle so she could compete at 135. That’s a weight she could make consistently.

  2. I’m pretty sure the “Phuket Fight Team” is not in Malaysia. Because Phuket is in Thailand.

    Also those Indian fighters on the list may have nice-looking records, but if you watched their fights you’d realise they’d get smashed by the others.

    1. will fix – Harper had done MMA in Malayasia and wasn’t thinking.

      As for the Indian fighters – the reason they are listed is because they qualify to try out. Not necessarily they will be picked up but stranger things have happened.

  3. Curious as to why im here . Guess its cuz I qualify? But if thats all were going off of then arent there a lot more girls? I only see a few female fight a year but I swear there were way more potentials. Im clueless as to current events .

    1. These are the gals there are qualified to try out and for all intensive purposes you are. A lot have losing records and aren’t eligible and I didn’t include those 1-0 fighter because there were a dozen or so that qualify & didn’t have time to cover.

      I assume this means you aren’t going to try out Angela?

    1. Since Eggink is under XFC contract and is their champ, she is not allowed to tryout. Several other XFC fighters have gotten permission but not the champs.

  4. I would like to see Penne, Kish, and Clark make it, just thinking about a matchup between Calderwood and Kish is salivating! Penne has the skill set to go far in the tournament, and Clark has a history with Herrig so that should make for television.

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