The Tuf 18 Cast: My Three to Watch.
With the premiere episode of TUF 18 due to debut on September 4th I thought it would be good to have a rundown of the big players in this season. Some names will be familiar to you, you may even be some you are big fans of. But the beautiful thing about this season is that there are some solid names with only a handful of fights on their record, but still have the ability to raise a storm on this season...maybe even snatch the title from under the noses of the veterans listed on the cast.
Tara LaRosa and Tonya Evinger are big players, but I've hard rumours regarding their status on the show, so I'll focus my blog on three women who I feel could make it to the finals and maybe claim the honour of becoming the first...ever...female Ultimate Fighter.
So first, my main bet:
"The Queen of Spades" Shayna Baszler:
Biggest Wins: Alexis Davis, Sarah D'Alelio, Roxanne Modafferi
Key Losses: Tara LaRosa, Cristiane Justino, Sara McMann
A protege of Josh Barnett, Baszler is the only certified female catch wrestler in the United States so comes into the season with a top-notch submission game as well as a stunning 14 submissions to her record.
A ShoX, EliteXC, Strikeforce and Invicta Veteran. She is my pick to win the season, her submission game I believe will be too much for any opponent.
If not Baszler then...
"The Happy Warrior" Roxanne Modafferi:
Biggest Wins: Jennifer Howe, Marloes Coenen, Vanessa Porto, Tara LaRosa
Key Losses: Marloes Coenen, Sarah Kaufman, Barb Honchak
Do not let the recent 5-fight losing streak fool you, Roxanne's losses have only come to the best in Womens MMA, and recently at 125lbs, a weightclass she has had trouble making weight for.
She comes in with a record of wins over a who's-who of WMMA talent. Until recently, she trained out of Groundslam in Japan, currently making a move back to the U.S. to further dedicate herself to making a big run in MMA once again.
She's another fighter coming in with an outstanding ground game and 4 submissions on her record, mostly going the distance in her fights, there can surely be no question the state of her cardio, she controls and shuts down her opponents and her striking game is improving as we speak.
Back in the 135lbs division for the first time in years, the added strength, weight and power could carry the "Happy Warrior" to the finals.
And should a rookie play spoiler to the Veterans...
"The Gun" Jessamyn Duke:
Key Wins: Marciea Allen, Suzie Montero
Key Losses: Miriam Nakamoto (fight was overturned by the commission due to an illegal knee)
Coming into the season with a 2-0 and 5-2 Amateur record may not appear convincing to some. Jessamyn Duke is not a fighter to be overlooked.
Going Pro after having trouble finding fights at the amateur level, Duke feared she may have been taking the Pro-leap sooner than she had originally wanted, she quickly became one of Invicta's biggest prospects at 135lbs, she's a fighter who looks for the finish every.
With a TKO win as well as a Submission, on WMMA's biggest stage (Invicta FC) as well as being one of the tallest fighters for her weightclass, Duke's youth, size and diversity can make her the fighter to upset the veteran fighters this season.
This season is geared up top be personally for me, a great one of interest with other WMMA talent like Bethany Marshall, Sarah Moras and Raquel Pennington. Whether the casual MMA fans like it or hate it, the Women are here to take the spotlight.
And deservedly so.