The Cut List: The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale

The first women's strawweight title will be given to the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 20 season Friday night at the TUF 20 Finale.…

By: Rainer Lee | 8 years ago
The Cut List: The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The first women’s strawweight title will be given to the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 20 season Friday night at the TUF 20 Finale. Given that this TUF cast essentially forms the backbone of the new strawweight division, I think it’s possible that all of them will be retained for a second bout despite a loss (this, of course, being contingent upon a decent showing). As such, I don’t think there are any likely cuts for this particular card. Otherwise, it is, to quote a phrase, business as usual…

Possibly Cut with a Loss

Angela Hill (1-0-0), Emily Kagan (3-1-0), Alex Chambers (4-1-0), Bec Rawlings (5-3-0), Heather Clark (6-4-0) – the TUF 20 members with the least big-fight experience. They also skew older, with Kagan, Chambers, and Clark all over 32 years old.

Aisling Daly (14-5-0), Joanne Calderwood (8-0-0), Angela Magana (11-6-0), Tecia Torres (4-0-0), Felice Herrig (9-5-0), Lisa Ellis (15-8-0) – The upper end of the TUF 20 cast, based on either potential or on extensive records. If what we saw on TV is to believed, Ellis is in the most precarious position, being not only two years removed from her last professional fight but wrestling with some ambivalence surrounding her fighting career. Meanwhile, Daly, despite her trouble adapting to the house conditions, wound up actually turning in what I think was the most best performances by anyone in this group: a TKO of Magana followed by a competitive losing effort against strawweight terminator Jessica Penne.

Yancy Medeiros (10-2-1NC, 1-2-1NC UFC) – Medeiros’ stint in the UFC has been somewhat hobbled by extenuating circumstances: his first fight ended as a result of a broken thumb, and he wound up having a follow-up win over Yves Edwards overturned due to a positive drug test. He finally found his first clean victory (a prize-winning submission of Damon Jackson) last August, and this weekend he’ll be looking to put more distance between him and the inauspicious start to his UFC career. I think he’ll likely be kept around so long as he looks solid, but a flat showing or any further complications might have the UFC giving his contract a hard look.

Likely Safe Regardless of Outcome

Seo Hee Ham (15-5-0) – moving up from atomweight where she’s proved to be an effective brawler, Korean import Ham has a tough row to hoe. She’s fighting one of strawweight’s largest fighters in Calderwood, and she’ll likely be at a size disadvantage throughout her UFC career. Here’s hoping that she can compensate with sheer ferocity and stick around for a while.

Joe Proctor (10-2, 3-1 UFC), Daron Cruickshank (16-5, 6-3 UFC), K.J. Noons (13-7, 2-1 UFC), Jeremy Stephens (23-10, 10-9 UFC), Charles Oliveira (18-4-1NC, 6-4-1NC UFC) – after a disastrous 1-5 slump, Noons has strung a pair of convincing victories in the UFC. Meanwhile, a similarly revived Charles Oliveira will make for the twentieth opponent of Jeremy Stephens’s UFC career.

Jessica Penne (11-2-0), Randa Markos (4-1-0) – with tremendous grit and some killer moves on the ground, Markos is one of the most pleasant surprises to come out of TUF in a while. Hardcore fans had their eyes on Namajunas heading into this season, and she delivered in spades, but Markos has positioned herself to be a breakout star, as well.

Rose Namajunas (2-1-0), Carla Esparza (9-2-0) – I could sit here and write for pages about Namajunas’ seemingly boundless talent, but what I’d like us to think over instead is what, exactly, Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza was snacking on after her opening fight against Angela Hill. She said it was a cookie, but I don’t know, I’ve never seen a cookie that looked like that. Where the hell did the producers get that cookie? It was like three inches tall. Call yourself “Muffin Monster” and okay, fine, you won’t hear another thing from me about it. That baked good was definitely at least scone territory Esparza was entering. Kind of makes you wonder.

Most High-Risk Fight: Hill vs. Kagan. They have the least amount of pro-experience between them and, barring an especially rousing performance, the I think the loser of this bout is most likely to be released to gain more experience in smaller shows.

Best Nickname: Until Angela “Fartbeast” Hill gets some traction, I’m gonna have to say that Seo Hee Ham’s “Hamderlei Silva” edges out “Thug” Rose.

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