To get International Fight Week started inside the octagon, TUF 25 Finale featured two exciting bouts in the women’s strawweight division. To open the FS1 preliminary card, Tecia Torres met Juliana Lima. The first round was back and forth in the second round Torres found her way to the back of Lima, scoring the first finish of her pro career by submitting Lima with a deep RNC. Later on in the night, TUF 23 Team Joanna alum Ashley Yoder faced former Invicta FC strawweight champion Angela Hill. Yoder put a valiant effort up, but it was Hill’s striking that led her to a unanimous decision victory.
A third women’s fight between Jessica Eye and Aspen Ladd was scheduled for the card, however, that fight was scratched due to Ladd falling ill.
So, what’s next for the women of TUF 25 Finale?
All three of Lima’s losses in the UFC have come from top competition. Despite falling short to Tecia Torres, Lima is a well-rounded fighter that is a tough out for anyone in the division. A good next fight for Lima could be against Jessica Aguilar. Aguilar is currently ranked number fifteen in the division and she is coming off a decision loss to Cortney Casey back in May. Another option that makes sense for Lima is Maryna Moroz. Moroz and Lima have both lost decisions to Carla Esparza and a fight between the two would show which fighter is closer to working her way back up the rankings
In her first fight since moving camps to train with her fiancè, bantamweight contender Racquel Pennington, Tecia Torres looked nothing short of impressive. Tecia scored the first submission of her pro career after being called in on short notice to face Lima. Currently ranked number five in the official UFC fighter rankings, Torres may find herself one or two wins away from a title shot. She called out the “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson post-fight and that would make for exciting, high-profile fight that fight fans would surely get behind. Another possible fight for Torres that would propel her up the rankings, is former title challenger and fearsome striker Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Yoder finds herself down two fights in a row after falling short against Angela Hill but she remains a promising prospect in the strawweight division. Yoder is still relatively young in her career– she has a strong, unique ground game and a developing striking attack. A fight that makes sense for the “Spider Monkey” is fellow TUF alumni J.J. Aldrich. Aldrich has around the same level of experience as Yoder and they both trained under Coach Joanna on TUF 23. An alternative fight for Yoder could be against Juliana “Ju Thai” Lima.
“Overkill” Hill got back in the win column by handing Yoder a unanimous decision loss in what was her second fight back in the UFC since re-signing last year. Hill’s striking shines in every fight she has and her defensive wrestling and grappling continues to improve. A fight against Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey would for sure be a FOTN candidate. Casey is an agressive and well-rounded fighter who comes forward and Hill isn’t one to shy away from a brawl (see her FOTN with Jessica Andrare for proof).
What fights would you like to see next, fight fans?