As you may know “The Ultimate Fighter 20” tryouts are this Monday and we are expected a solid turnout. Not surprising many have been vocal about making the trip to Vegas to get into what has become the most prestigious tournament in women’s MMA history.
Eight spots will be available for those lucky few who impress the UFC enough to vie for the inaugural strawweight title. (Julianna Lima, Claudia Gadhela, and Paige VanZant won’t be a part of the show and will fight in the UFC this summer.) The rest of the cast are expected to be in Vegas (not at tryouts) for medical evaluations.
Here is our list of 20 confirmed participants (in no particular order):
1) Jessica Penne – The former Invicta atomweight champion was a part of the Bellator strawweight tournament in 2010. She is the front runner for a spot due to experience and her reputation from Invicta.
2) Lisa Ellis – The one thing the house is missing now is a true vet, and Lisa Ellis fits the bill. The Bellator 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.
3) Heather Clark – 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.
4) Aisling Daly – The Irish fighter is already in Vegas getting acclimated. One of the few people to defeat Jessica Eye, Daly looked impressive in her return to strawweight in January at Cage Warriors.
5) Nina Ansaroff – 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.
6) Kailin Curran – 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.
7) Randa Markos – 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.
8) Jenny Liou – Liou has started her career with big wins over Jillian Lybarger and InvictaFC signee Rachael Ostovich.
9) Tessa Simpson – Handing Paulina Granados her first loss, Simpson started her pro career with back to back finishes.
10) Angela Hill – The Muay Thai specialist has yet to make her MMA debut but will still try out. She has decision wins at Lion Fights and New York’s Froday Night Fights promotion.
11) Amy Cadwell Montenegro – The Washington State strawweight had proved her superior ground game with back to back submission wins.
12) Paulina Granados – Granados was undefeated as an amateur and went 2-0 before losing a decision to the above mentioned Simpson.
13) Helen Harper – The British fight is currently fighting out of the Phuket Fight Team in Thailand, which is known for their striking. Harper finished in both of her wins last year.
14) Diana Rael – 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.
15) Jocelyn Lybarger – Invicta vet Lybarger won her first two before losing to Sarah Alpar last year. She defeated Rosa Acevedo at RFA 14 a few weeks ago.
16) Jillian Lybarger – Jillian is coming off a pro debut decision loss and is hoping to join her sister in the house.
17) Brianna VanBuren – 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.
18) Justine Kish – 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.
19) Sharice Davis – Having an even record as a pro, she has a submission win over Nadia Nixon.
20) Katrina Taylor – One of the two “Ultimate Women’s Challenge” vets to try out (Heather Clark being the other) is coming off a three year absence from the cage, but has been continuing her training in MMA.