TUF 20 Finale/UFC on Fox Primer

Seven of the top 15 strawweights in the world will compete this weekend in the UFC.

The current #3 ranked Carla Esparza looks to make history being the first ever UFC 115 pound champion Friday at the TUF 20 finale in Las Vegas live on Fox Sports 1. In her way is the unranked Rose Namajunas, who has become a star after her three submissions in the TUF 20 tournament. Seven more bouts featuring the rest of the cast will also take place Friday

There will be no rest for whomever is champ as Saturday the #1 contender for the title will be determined as #2 ranked Claudia Gadelha takes on #9 ranked Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Here is a breakdown of the strawweights in the UFC this weekend.


namajunas esparzaUFC Initial Strawweight title – Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas

The Fighters:

Carla Esparza (9-2): Her only losses were to the two #1 fighters – Megumi Fujii and Jessica Aguilar. This wasn’t Esparza’s first MMA tournament. She lost to Fujii in the opening round for the Bellator 2010 strawweight tournament. She has obviously improved since.

Rose Namajunas (2-1): Having gone undefeated in her amateur, she has yet to be finished. Her last official fight saw her lose a decision to Tecia Torres.

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The Storyline: Esparza is coming in with a huge experience factor and an improved striking game. She only finished one of her opponents in the house however. Namajunas has proven her submission game is top notch with three subs in the tournament.

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What to expect: Esparza would be smart to keep it standing. If she does take it down to the mat, Namajunas has proven extremely dangerous with two subs off her back in the tournament. This will be the first time Namajunas will be in a five round fight, while Esparza is facing her second. Namajunas’s endurance could be tested.

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Where to watch: The fight will be the main event for the TUF 20 Finale main card, which will air on Fox Sports 1 starting at 9 p.m. est/6 p.m. pst Friday.


Strawweight title Eliminator – Claudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

The Fighters:

Claudia Gadelha (12-0): After a successful career at Invicta, Gadelha was signed with the original set of TUF 20 strawweights. Having to drop a lot of weight in order to participate, Gadelha bypassed the tournament and went directly into the UFC, picking up an unanimous decision over Tina Lähdemäki in July.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk (7-0): The Polish fighter debuted in the UFC this past July with a win over Juliana Lima. Jedrzejczyk had gotten a KO over Rosi Sexton, only the second time the vet has lost in that fashion.

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The Storyline: Brazil’s Gadelha has some unfinished business with Carla Esparza. The two were set to meet a year ago, but Gadelha fell ill after weigh-ins and had to pull out of the fight. Since then the two have been going at it on social media.

In order for Gadelha to get her hands on Esparza, both need to win their respective fights, and neither is an easy task. In Gadleha’s case, she is facing another undefeated fighter in Poland’s Jedrzejczyk who is a former Muay Thai champion.

What to expect: Gadelha needs to take it to the mat with Jedrzejczyk. A standing war with the dangerous striker will most likely end with an unanimous decision for the Polish fighter. Gadelha has six submissions under her belt and could be the first to make Jedrzejczyk tap.

Where to watch: The fight will air as the co-feature fight of the UFC on Fox prelims, which will air on Fox Sports 1 starting at 2 p.m. pst/5 p.m. est.


randa penneJessica Penne vs. Randa Markos

The Fighters:

Jessica Penne (11-2): The former InvictaFC atomweight champion only lost to Zoila Frausto in the Bellator strawweight tournament and to Michelle Waterson for the Invicta title last year. She got a win over Nicdali Rivera-Colonoc before her run in the TUF tournament; which saw her finish rival Lisa Ellis and decision Aisling Daly.

Randa Markos (4-1): The breakout star of the show was 4-1 going in, with her only loss to castmate Justin Kish at a catchweight of 120. She defeated favorite Tecia Torres in the quarterfinals and submitted Felice Herrig with a scarf choke in round 2.

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The Storyline: There was a question about Penne going back to 115, and she is proving that she is competitive a weight class up. Markos wants to continue what has been a breakthrough year with a big win over the vet Penne.

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What to expect: Experience goes to Penne. Her ground skills are more sound that Markos, who got submitted in her semi-final match. Markos will need to take the fight to Penne and press the action standing for a decision win.

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Where to watch: The match will kick off the main card for the TUF 20 finale,  which will air on Fox Sports 1 starting at 9 p.m. est/6 p.m. pst Friday.


losa feliceFelice Herrig vs. Lisa Ellis

The Fighters:

Felice Herrig (9-5): Herrig was on a four fight win streak before losing to Tecia Torres at Invicta. In the house, she defeated Heather Clark in a rematch.

Lisa Ellis (15-8): The 10 year vet had broken a three fight win streak against three top ranked fighters (Jessica Aguilar, Megumi Fujii, and Penne respectively) with a submission win over Amy Davis. She lost to Penne by submission in the opening round of the tournament.

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The Storyline: If the picture is any indication, there is no love loss between Ellis and Herrig since the show. Like Penne, Ellis is looking to see if she can fight a weight class up and still be competitive. Ellis didn’t look like herself on the show and now that she had time to get a full camp under her actual fight team and access to her family, she looks focused and obviously has a chip on her shoulder.

Herrig is looking to climb into the top 10 of the division and raise her profile once again.

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What to expect: Ellis’s wrestling is top notch and needs to make it a ground battle. Herrig’s ground game has improved but proved susceptible to submissions in her match with Markos. The question will be if weight will be a factor against a natural 115er in Herrig. Herrig needs to stick with her bread and butter: striking.

Where to watch: This will be the featured bout on the TUF 20 Finale prelims, which will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. est/4 p.m. pst Friday.


heather becBec Rawlings vs. Heather Jo Clark

The Fighters:

Bec Rawlings (5-3): Having taken Esparza the distance in her InvictaFC debut, she would defeat Jasminka Cive and lose to Mizuki Inoue before entering the house. Rawlings would lose to Torres in the opening round.

Heather Clark (6-4): Only being stopped once because of a doctor’s stoppage, Clark snapped a two fight losing streak with a decision win over Hannah Cifers. She lost a rematch to Herrig in the opening round of the tournament.

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The Storyline: Clark had beefs with several fighters in the house, including Rawlings. Rawlings is friends with Herrig and Esparza, both who have a hatred for Clark. Both Clark and Rawlings are looking for a much needed win to get into the top 15.

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What to expect: Rawlings has proved to be strong on the ground and durable. Clark’s striking has vastly improved and needs to make the fight her own to get the win by TKO or decision.

Where to watch: This will be the featured bout on the TUF 20 Finale prelims, which will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. est/4 p.m. pst Friday.


jojo hamJoanne Calderwood vs. Seo Hee Ham

The Fighters:

Joanne Calderwood (8-0): Having defeated the current InvictaFC champion Katja Kankaanpää before heading into the TUF 20 tournament, the striker defeated Kagan by decision before losing by submission to Namajunas.

Seo Hee Ham (15-5): The former DEEP-JEWELS atomweight champion will make her UFC debut. She has won 9 of her last 10 fights.

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The Storyline: The #4 ranked Calderwood was expected to make the finals but was submitted by Namajunas. She is looking to continue her official undefeated streak. Ham is looking to make an impression on the UFC fans and make a successful return to strawweight.

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What to expect: Calderwood’s size advantage will be a factor, but Ham is known just as much as Calderwood for her striking. The question is if Calderwood’s ground game evolved since the show.

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Where to watch: This will be the second televised bout on the TUF 20 Finale prelims, which will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. est/4 p.m. pst Friday.


magana torresTecia Torres vs. Angela Magana

The Fighters:

Tecia Torres (4-0): The #7 ranked Torres grew to be a star at Invicta with four wins, many that were action packed striking battles. This includes her win over Herrig.

Angela Magana (11-6): The seven year vet of the sport came off back to back losses coming into the show, and lost to Daly by TKO in the opening round of the tournament.

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The Storyline: Torres is looking to prove her worth in the division and get some experience under her belt. Magana has been “playing the heel” and hopes that her newly found anti-popularity will raise her stock.

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What to expect: Torres has been known for being a complete fighter in both her ground game and standing. The question is if Magana can focus and dig into her experience to get the upset.

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Where to watch: This will be the first televised bout on the TUF 20 Finale prelims, which will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. est/4 p.m. pst Friday.


daly chambersAisling Daly vs. Alex Chambers

The Fighters:

Aisling Daly (14-5): Daly rebounded from a three fight losing streak with a win over Karla Benitez  before entering the house. Daly would defeat Magana before losing to Penne.

Alex Chambers (4-1): Chambers is the only fighter to defeat Jodie Esquibel in her pro career. Chambers only loss was to Mizuki Inoue. She would lose in the opening round of the tournament to Namajunas.

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The Storyline: Daly came in two pounds overweight for the fight and will give 20% of her purse to Chambers. Daly is looking to recover from her run on the show to regain a spot in the top 15. Chambers is looking to prove her worth at 115.

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What to expect: Being a natural atomweight, Chambers’s size maybe a factor. Daly’s ground skills have improved over the years and the question will be her mindset going in.

Where to watch: This will be the second prelim on TUF 20 Finale card, which will air on Fight Pass at 6 p.m. est/3 p.m. pst Friday.

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hill kaganEmily Kagan vs. Angela Hill

The Fighters:

Emily Kagan (3-1): Having defeated Ashley Cummins in a close split decision before entering the house, her only loss was to Namajunas. Kagan loss by decision to Calderwood in the tournament.

Angela Hill (1-0): With a win over Stephanie Skinner, Hill was a Muay Thai fighter before making the transition over to MMA. Hill lost to Penne by submission.

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The Storyline: Hill is looking for an upset against a much more experienced Kagan.

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What to expect: As much as Hill has drilled her ground game, she needs to keep it standing and use her knees in the clinch. Kagan will most likely take it to the ground for a sub.

Where to watch: This will be the first prelim on TUF 20 Finale card, which will air on Fight Pass at 6 p.m. est/3 p.m. pst Friday.

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