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Tag: hot fighter alert

Report: Paige VanZant vs. Kailin Curran Slated for UFC Fight Night Halifax


(Winner gets a six-figure modeling contract?)

MMAFighting is reporting that teen model turned UFC strawweight prospect Paige VanZant will likely make her Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night Halifax: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine on October 4th, against Hawaiian prospect Kailin Curran.

To borrow a phrase from the CME, these two certainly look good getting off the bus. On the other hand, VanZant and Curran land on the low end of the UFC experience spectrum, to put it gently. VanZant is 3-1 professionally with all three of those wins coming against women who were making their pro debuts. Curran’s pro record is a similar 3-0, with all three victories by unanimous decision under the Pacific Xtreme Combat banner — and none of those wins coming against an opponent with a winning record.

VanZant and Curran have something else in common: They both tried out for TUF 20. While VanZant was blocked from the show due to age requirements, Curran simply didn’t make the cut. Or maybe the UFC hand-picked her as VanZant’s first opponent, for aesthetic reasons.

Speaking of which, 12 more photos of Kailin Curran are in the gallery after the jump. Enjoy, and check out her Instagram page for more.

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Hot Fighter Alert: 14 Photos of Lia Mata’afa, Rumored TUF 18 Castmember


(Click all images for larger versions.)

Yesterday, Dave Melzter released a rumored list of the 16 female fighters selected for the upcoming co-ed season of The Ultimate Fighter. Though the cast list hasn’t been confirmed by the UFC or FOX, it includes such well-known veterans as Tara LaRosaShayna Baszler, Tonya Evinger, Roxanne Modafferi, and up-and-coming talent like Jessamyn Duke, Colleen Schneider, and Raquel Pennington.

One name stuck out for a different reason — Lia Mata’afa, the only fighter on the list with a 0-0 professional record. So why would TUF bring on a fighter with no professional experience? Well, as the UG informs us, she happens to be really attractive.

But make no mistake: Mata’afa is a freak athlete with a ton of potential. In addition to her 4-1 amateur MMA record, Lia was a two-time girls State wrestling champion in her native Hawaii, and according to the Meltzer report she played varsity rugby at Boston University and is currently a member of the American Samoa national rugby team. She is Kendall Grove‘s sister-in-law, and a product of Chris Leben’s Ultimate Fight School in Honolulu.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite Lia Mata’afa photos for your consideration — which continue after the jump — along with a video of her MMA debut. Visit Lia’s Facebook page for more.

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Hot Fighter Alert: 16 Photos of Model/MMA Prospect Paige VanZant


(Photo courtesy of 12gaugepaigevanzant.com. Click image for full-size version.)

Props to BabesofMMA and MMAJunkie for turning us on to Paige VanZant, a 2-0 professional MMA fighter who will be facing Tecia Torres on the prelims of this Saturday’s Invicta 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt event in Kansas City.

A model and student-athlete since childhood, the 18-year-old fighter began training in MMA when she was 15, and currently trains at the House of RYU in Las Vegas. Paige began competing this year, first picking up an amateur win in April, then winning decisions in professional matches against Jordan Gaza and Amber Stautzenberger. (She’s also done ring girl gigs for Shark Fights and Ultimate Reno Combat.) According to this Examiner article, Paige likes wrestling and throws, doesn’t enjoy getting hit in the face, and her future goals include opening a restaurant and fighting Cris Cyborg.

Check out lots more of our favorite Paige VanZant photos in the gallery after the jump — as well as four bonus videos of Paige chatting, fighting, and steam-mopping — and follow her life on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hot Fighter Alert: NFL Cheerleader Turned MMA Prospect Rachel Wray


(Image via Rachel’s Facebook page. Click for full-size version.)

Rachel Wray‘s unlikely transition from NFL eye-candy to aspiring cage-fighter started with a fateful trip to a boxing gym. As she explained to KCMMA:

I have been a cheerleader or dancer my whole life and I moved [to Kansas City] from Arkansas to cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs. I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the girls for an alternative workout. I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day, I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it.

I was absolutely horrible. This drove me to want it even more. I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting. I trained harder and took more private lessons. In the same shopping center was [Jason High and LC Davis's gym] HDMMA and I wandered in there to see what was going on. Everyone was so nice and just not what I expected from a MMA gym. So, I started training there too. One thing led to another, and now I feel comfortable enough to compete in the cage…I hope to fight 4-5 times over the next year.”

Though Rachel’s last scheduled match didn’t take place due to her opponent not showing up — gotta love regional MMA! — she won her amateur debut by second-round TKO. (You can watch it here and here.) Rachel’s next fight is slated for January 25th at Harrah’s Casino in Kansas City, against an opponent to be named later.

Get to know Rachel better by checking out her photo gallery after the jump, as well as our short-’n'-sweet interview with the lady herself…

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Hot Fighter Alert: 11 Photos of WMMA Rising Star Cassie Crisano


(Photo courtesy of Cassie’s Facebook page; click for full-size version. Full gallery is after the jump.)

Props to BabesofMMA for introducing us to Cassie Crisano, a 3-1 amateur MMA fighter from Middletown, New York, who will be making her professional debut this Saturday against Janice Meyer at Cage Fury Fighting Championships 17 in Dover, Delaware. The fight will be streamed live on CFFC.tv.

Like Miesha Tate before her, Cassie took to wrestling early in life, competing among the boys on her high school varsity team. Her competitive accomplishments included finishing second at the first Women’s National Wrestling tournament in Albuquerque, and becoming the 138-pound New York State women’s champion. After a long recovery from a near-fatal auto accident in 2002, Cassie began training in MMA four years ago, and made her amateur MMA debut in December 2010.

In her own words: “The problem with women in MMA is that there are just not enough of us to be able to take it to the next level as the men. There are too many women that want to be classified as ‘A FIGHTER’ but the skill level of being a well-rounded fighter is just not there. The talent pool is just not big enough yet. So when a one-trick pony pops up from out of nowhere they become a rising star which ultimately in the end makes women’s MMA look like it’s a joke.”

No offense, Ronda? Get to know Cassie better on Facebook and Twitter, and check out more of our favorite Cassie Crisano photos in the gallery below…

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Hot Fighter Alert: Sarah McLeod [Photos]

Sarah McLeod hot mma fighter photos bikini model
(Full gallery is after the jump.)

Victory Fighting Championships 35 goes down tomorrow night at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, featuring Abe Wagner, Joe Ellenberger, and a rising women’s MMA prospect named Sarah McLeod. (Thanks to BabesofMMA for the tip.) A native of Vancouver, Sarah has compiled a 3-2-1 record as an amateur, and will be facing New Hampshire-based fighter Heather Lambert (3-0).

Though Sarah started her fight career without any formal training, she has been honing her skills at Mid-America Martial Arts in Omaha since the beginning of the year, and is looking to build on her current two-fight win streak.

Also, and not that this is important or anything, but Sarah McLeod just happens to be a model and bikini competitor in her spare time. She is “always” single, and loves a good mullet. Follow ‘TNT’ on Facebook, and check out some more of her photos below…

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Hot Fighter Alert: Sarah Ponce

Sarah Ponce model kickboxer MMA

According to MiddleEasy, Houston-based kickboxer/model Sarah “Sugar Foot” Ponce may be tapped as a competitor for the 135-pound women’s tournament that Strikeforce is planning for next year. Though Ponce has never competed in MMA, she’s a fairly seasoned kickboxer, with a 12-1 pro record and appearances in the World Combat League and the Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008. When she’s not modeling swimwear, Ponce hones her craft at Houston’s Kickboxing Gym with trainer Mike Altman. Could we be looking at Strikeforce’s next breakout female star? More photos of Sarah await you after the jump, courtesy of UjENA/UjENANetwork.

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Hot Fighter Alert: Mika Nagano

Mika Nagano hot fighter MMA

Props to Fightlinker for turning us on to Mika Nagano, a 4-2 veteran of the Smackgirl and Jewels promotions in Japan. The 25-year-old fighter was an amateur grappling champion before turning to MMA, and has won her last three fights by armbar. She’s also quite a looker, and used her natural charm to promote her last Jewels fight with a semi-nude photo-shoot. Those pics (among many others) are after the jump; you can see a few more photos here and here.

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Hot Fighter Alert: Aby Rulloda

Aby Rulloda sexy ass pose
(Images courtesy of MySpace.com/badaby. Props to MMA Fight Girls for the tip!)

Aby Rulloda is a San Francisco-based go-go-dancer, model, clothing designer, and former Strikeforce ring girl. And oh yeah, she’s also a competitive kickboxer who trains with World Team USA and previously won WCSC‘s California State Super Flyweight Championship. Now that’s hustle. You can get to know Aby better at MySpace.com/badaby and Twitter.com/badaby. After the jump: Lots more pictures, plus a video of Aby working the pole.

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