Top 25 finishes in Invicta FC history (Nos. 21-25): Cat Zingano vs. Raquel Pennington pre-UFC

More than five years have passed since Invicta FC hosted its first event. During that time the all-female organization has gone through a number of different incarnations.

Despite having its roster consistently ravaged by the UFC, Invicta FC frequently hosts solid fight cards to help further the growth of women’s MMA. The fighters do their part by delivering inside the cage, and with the 25th event in company history set to go down later this month, Invicta FC has decided to highlight its young history.

Invicta FC 25 takes place Aug. 31 at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Ahead of the seminal event, Invicta FC’s social media team is rolling out a countdown of the 25 best finishes in its history.

Check out the first portion of the list, which counts down No. 25 to No. 21.

* * * *

25. Ashley Yoder def. Amber Brown at Invicta FC 20 (Nov. 18, 2016)

Ashley Yoder was successful in her Invicta FC debut when she locked up a tight armbar on Amber Brown to win in the second round.

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24. Megan Anderson def. Peggy Morgan at Invicta FC 18 (July 29, 2016)

Megan Anderson’s charge toward the Invicta FC featherweight title continued at Invicta FC 18 when she throttled Peggy Morgan with a series of right hands for the first-round knockout.

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23. Ayaka Yamasaki def. Amber Brown at Invicta FC 16 (Mar. 11, 2016)

Invicta FC atomweight champion Ayaka Yamasaki made her first successful title defense at Invicta FC 16 when she caught Brown with a second-round armbar to stay unbeaten in her career at 105 pounds.

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22. Cat Zingano def. Raquel Pennington at Invicta FC 3 (Oct. 6, 2012)

In a bantamweight matchup between two fighters who now hold a place among the UFC elite, Cat Zingano put away Raquel Pennington by second-round rear-naked choke at Invicta FC 3.

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21. Livia Souza def. Katja Kankaanpaa at Invicta FC 12 (Apr. 24, 2015)

The triangle choke is now fairly rare in top-level MMA, but Livia Souza proved it still works. At Invicta FC 12, she caught Katja Kankaanpaa with the technique in the fourth round of their bout to win the vacant strawweight belt.

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Check out the Blue Corner on Saturday for the next installment of Invicta FC’s top 25 finishes countdown.

And for more on the Invicta schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale salaries: Justin Gaethje banks event-high $200k

Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned the largest disclosed payday at this past Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, taking home a disclosed $200,000 purse in addition to the $100,000 he earned in post-fight bonuses for a “Fight of the Year” candidate against Michael Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC).

MMAjunkie today obtained the list of official disclosed salaries from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The TUF 25 Finale took place at T-Mobile in Las Vegas. The bulk of the card aired on FOX Sports 1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The next highest earner on the card was two-time title challenger Gray Maynard (13-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC), who took home $102,000 for a unanimous decision over Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) on the UFC Fight Pass-streamed prelims.

The total disclosed payroll for the event was $1,028,000.

Official TUF 25 Finale payouts included:

Justin Gaethje: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Johnson: $47,000

Jesse Taylor: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Dhiego Lima: $15,000

Drakkar Klose: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Marc Diakiese: $24,000

Jared Cannonier: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Nick Roehrick: $12,000

Brad Tavares: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Elias Theodorou: $24,000

Jordan Johnson: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Marcel Fortuna: $14,000

Angela Hill: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Ashley Yoder: $12,000

James Krause: $48,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Gallicchio: $10,000

C.B. Dolloway: $86,000 (includes $43,000 win bonus)
def. Ed Herman: $54,000

Tecia Torres: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Juliana Lima: $17,000

Gray Maynard: $102,000 (includes $51,000 win bonus)
def. Teruto Ishihara: $21,000

Now, the usual disclaimer: The figures do not include deductions for items such as insurance, licenses and taxes. Additionally, the figures do not include money paid by sponsors like Reebok, which can oftentimes be a substantial portion of a fighter’s income. They also do not include any other “locker room” or special discretionary bonuses the UFC sometimes pays.

For example, as previously reported, UFC officials handed out additional $50,000 TUF 25 Finale bonuses to Gaethje, Johnson and Torres who all earned “Performance of the Night” awards.

In other words, the above figures are simply base salaries reported to the commission and do not reflect entire compensation packages for the event.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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TUF 25 Finale post-event facts: Justin Gaethje extends winning streak in high-volume debut

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The UFC’s sixth annual “International Fight Week” festivities kicked off on Friday with The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, which took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

The lightweight main event produced one of the most memorable fights of the year, with Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) making a huge impression in his UFC debut. “The Highlight” and Michael Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC) combined for an astonishing 195 signifiant strikes landed before Gaethje scored a TKO in the closing seconds of the second round.

Gaethje’s performance stole the show, but there were several others who delivered noteworthy efforts, as well. For more, check out 45 post-event facts to come out of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale.

* * * *

General

The Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $122,500.

Debuting fighters went 1-1 at the event.

Johnson and Tecia Torres earned $50,000 TUF 25 Finale fight-night bonuses. Gaethje received two bonuses for $100,000.

The TUF 25 Finale drew an announced attendance of 6,308 for a live gate of $432,495.

Betting favorites went 8-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:18:32.

* * * *

Main card

Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson

Gaethje extended his winning streak to 18 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat in his nearly six-year career.

Gaethje’s 18-fight MMA winning streak is third longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24) and Jimmie Rivera (19).

Gaethje had earned 16 of his 18 career victories by stoppage.

Gaethje has earned 15 of his 16 career stoppage victories by knockout.

Gaethje became the first to earn two fight-night bonuses for one bout since Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 101 in November.

Johnson fell to 1-4 in his past five fights dating back to August 2015.

Johnson suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Jesse Taylor

Jesse Taylor (31-15 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was successful in his return to UFC competition. He lost his lone previous octagon appearance in July 2008.

Taylor has earned 17 of his 22 career stoppage victories by submission.

Dhiego Lima (12-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) was unsuccessful in his return to the UFC for a second stint. He hasn’t earned an octagon victory since November 2014.

Lima has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage.

Lima suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Drakkar Klose

Drakkar Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned both of his UFC victories by decision.

Marc Diakiese (12-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) had his 12-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his professional career.

Jared Cannonier (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) improved to 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC light-heavyweight division in December.

Cannonier has earned eight of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Cannonier has earned both of his UFC stoppage victories by knockout.

Nick Roehrick (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) had his seven-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his pro career.

Brad Tavares

Brad Tavares (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) has earned his past eight UFC victories by decision. His last stoppage win was a first-round knockout of Phil Baroni at UFC 125 in January 2011.

Elias Theodorou (13-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

Jordan Johnson (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned his past three victories by decision after opening his career with five consecutive stoppages.

Marcel Fortuna (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered both of his career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Angela Hill

Angela Hill (7-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) improved to 1-1 since she returned to the UFC for a second stint in February.

Hill improved to 5-1 since her initial release from the UFC in late 2015.

Hill has earned both of her UFC victories by decision.

Ashley Yoder (5-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has suffered all three of her career losses by decision.

James Krause

James Krause (24-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC) was successful in his UFC welterweight debut.

C.B. Dollaway (16-8 MMA, 10-8 UFC) snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since May 2014.

Dollaway was successful in his UFC light-heavyweight debut.

Dollaway improved to 5-4 in his past nine UFC appearances.

Ed Herman (24-12 MMA, 11-8 UFC) fell to 1-2 since he returned to the light-heavyweight division in January 2016.

Tecia Torres

Torres’ (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) five victories in UFC strawweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Torres earned the first stoppage victory of her career.

Juliana Lima (9-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) suffered the first submission loss of her career.

Gray Maynard

Gray Maynard (13-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) improved to 2-1 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in July 2016.

Maynard has earned his past 10 UFC victories by decision. He is the first fighter in UFC history to earn 10 wins with the organization without a stoppage, breaking his own record of nine.

Maynard’s 11 takedowns landed tied the record for most in a UFC/WEC featherweight fight.

Maynard’s 11 takedowns landed marked a personal best in his UFC career. His previous high was nine against Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 13.

Teruto Ishihara (9-4-2 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) has suffered both of his UFC losses by decision.

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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TUF 25 Finale Athlete Outfitting pay: Justin Gaethje gets $2,500 payout for thrilling debut win

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LAS VEGAS – Fighters from Friday’s The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $122,500.

The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the card aired on FS1 following early prelims UFC Fight Pass.

The headliner, which featured Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earning a thrilling second-round TKO over Michael Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC), featured a large pay discrepancy. “The Highlight” was on the lowest payout tier for his promotional debut and received $2,500, compared to $15,000 for promotional vet Johnson.

The full Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Justin Gaethje: $2,500
def. Michael Johnson: $15,000

Jesse Taylor: $2,500
def. Dhiego Lima: $2,500

Drakkar Klose: $2,500
def. Marc Diakiese: $2,500

Jared Cannonier: $2,500
def. Nick Roehrick: $2,500

Brad Tavares: $10,000
def. Elias Theodorou: $5,000

Jordan Johnson: $2,500
def. Marcel Fortuna: $2,500

Angela Hill: $2,500
def. Ashley Yoder: $2,500

James Krause: $5,000
def. Tom Gallicchio: $2,500

C.B. Dollaway: $15,000
def. Ed Herman: $15,000

Tecia Torres: $5,000
def. Juliana Lima: $5,000

Gray Maynard: $15,000
def. Teruto Ishihara: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $2,930,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $13,253,000

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of TUF 25 Finale with Zeppelin and Nirvana, Cash and Madonna

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While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale event in Las Vegas went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Justin Gaethje def. Michael Johnson via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:48

Justin Gaethje: “Champion” by Keznamdi

Michael Johnson: “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood/M.A.A.D. City” by Nina Simone/Kendrick Lamar

Jesse Taylor def. Dhiego Lima via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 0:43

Jesse Taylor: “Highwayman” by The Highwaymen

Dhiego Lima: “God’s Not Dead” by Newsboys

Drakkar Klose def. Marc Diakiese via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Drakkar Klose: “Congratulations” by Post Malone

Marc Diakiese: “Cool Nuh” by Giggs

Jared Cannonier def. Nick Roehrick via TKO (elbows) – Round 3, 2:08

Jared Cannonier: “It’s Like That” by Big Pokey feat. Lil’ Keke

Nick Roehrick: “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin

Brad Tavares def. Elias Theodorou via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Brad Tavares: “Tears” by Alborosie

Elias Theodorou: “Oh Canada”

Jordan Johnson def. Marcel Fortuna via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Jordan Johnson: “Like a Prayer” by Madonna

Marcel Fortuna: “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash

Angela Hill def. Ashley Yoder via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27

Angela Hill: “Battle Hymn” by Manowar

Ashley Yoder: “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy

James Krause def. Tom Gallicchio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

James Krause: “Hootie Hoo” by Outkast

Tom Gallicchio: “Work” by Gang Starr

C.B. Dollaway def. Ed Herman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)

C.B. Dollaway: “Loud and Heavy” by Cody Jinks

Ed Herman: “When the Lights Go Out” by The Black Keys

Tecia Torres def. Juliana Lima via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 0:53

Tecia Torres: “Dreamer” by Charlie XCX

Juliana Lima: “TNT” by AC/DC

Gray Maynard def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Gray Maynard: “In Bloom” by Nirvana

Teruto Ishihara: “Lion No Ko (Yashabo Version)” by Spinna B-ill

For complete coverage of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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TUF 25 Finale results: Angela Hill's standup game shines in unanimous win over Ashley Yoder

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Angela Hill and Ashley Yoder entered their bout with the same goal in mind: their first victory in the UFC.

It was Hill, the former Invicta FC champion, who prevailed, claiming a unanimous-decision win with a clean sweep of a 30-27 scores.

The strawweight bout closed the preliminary card for today’s UFC event, The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

With Hill (7-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) and Yoder (5-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) both looking to break through with a victory, the fight played out in the classic fashion of striker vs. grappler, and it was Hill’s stand-up game that won out.

It was Yoder who got off to an excellent start in the early part of the first round, scoring a takedown to get the fight to the mat. But that didn’t last long as Hill escaped quickly and found her groove standing up. She was repeatedly effective with combos that made Yoder uncomfortable. In the closing minute, Hill perfectly timed a head kick that stood up Yoder as she attempted to go low for a takedown.

Yoder again started fast in the second round with a snap single leg. But she was unable to do anything with top position. Yoder eventually let Hill to her feet and tried to jump her back, which failed, resulting in Hill on top. After some minor ground-and-pound, Hill allowed Yoder back to her feet for the final 1:20 and won the exchanges on their feet to close out the round.

Hill came out in the third round with a straight right, which Yoder responded to with an immediate takedown attempt that she worked hard to complete. Hill snuck out, and at the 2:20 mark it was Hill who took down Yoder, falling into full guard. Hill didn’t do much with top position and let the fight back on the feet for the final 90 second, finishing strong and dominating the stand-up exchanged to impress the judges.

“The biggest difference for me is having a lot of good training partners, a lot of good people to spar with, a lot of good coaches and being able to mask everything a lot better – not just moving forward and getting taken down,” Hill said. “I knew Ashley was going to be tough. She was able to get that first takedown pretty easily and I was surprised by that. I knew she was going to be able to take a lot of punishment and I knew it would be awkward because I’m not used to fighting southpaws. All of that kind of stunted me a bit, but I’m still kind of happy with my performance.”

Up-to-the-minute TUF 25 Finale results include:

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on site in Las Vegas.)

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10 reasons to watch the TUF 25 Finale, including the UFC debut of ex-WSOF champ Justin Gaethje

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In Justin Gaethje’s mind, an MMA referee serves one purpose: to preserve life.

“The time for talking is over. That octagon door is going to lock and it’s going to be me, Michael (Johnson) and hopefully ‘Big John,’ (McCarthy),” Gaethje said after an open workout ahead of his UFC debut on Friday. “One of the referees, he’s there to save one of our lives.”

Gaethje, one of the most aggressive fighters in MMA, signed with the UFC as a free agent in May, relinquishing his WSOF lightweight title in the process. Gaethje brings with him a perfect 17-0 record with 15 finishes and meets Michael Johnson in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale.

For Johnson, a veteran of 16 UFC fights, the matchup provides an opportunity for him to put a 1-3 stretch behind him, something he seems anxious to do.

“I’m itching like Tyrone Biggums over here,” Johnson said following his open workout.

In the co-main event, Dhiego Lima and Jesse Taylor meet to determine the welterweight winner of Season 25 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

The TUF 25 Finale takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch.

1. Let’s see what you’ve got

In May, Gaethje made the transition from highest ranked non-UFC lightweight in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, to No. 8 (now No. 7) ranked 155-pound fighter in the UFC. That adjustment took place when the former WSOF champion inked a free-agent deal with the UFC.

When he announced his signing on Twitter, Gaethje (17-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) requested a fight against “the scariest lightweight possible.” The UFC responded by matching him against No. 12 Johnson (17-11 MMA, 9-7 UFC) in a main-event fight.

Gaethje’s goal is obviously to become the UFC champ. By booking him against Johnson, someone who has fought some of the best in the division, the UFC, fans and Gaethje himself are all going to get a good idea of just how attainable that goal is.

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The downside of this fight, if you can call it that, is if Gaethje adds a 16th stoppage to his record, the logjam at the top of the division means he’s likely going to have to battle at least once more before he gets a title shot.

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2. That last step

Dhiego Lima

In “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” welterweight finale fight, Lima, who made it to the Season 19 final, faces Taylor, who was supposed to fight in the Season 7 final. Lima lost to Eddie Gordon by knockout. He then went 1-2 before being released by the promotion in July 2015. Taylor didn’t get the opportunity to fight in his season’s finale. Instead, his behavior outside the cage got him released from the show. Taylor did get one fight in the UFC, but lost to Season 7 runner-up C.B. Dollaway by first-round submission. He was released after that contest and fought for seemingly every other MMA promotion before getting the opportunity on Season 25 of “TUF.”

Lima’s (12-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) accomplishment of getting back to the “TUF” final is impressive. But the fact is, he’s only 28 and three fights removed from his UFC career. Taylor (30-15 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is 34, and it’s been nine years and 36 fights since his only octagon appearance – so he gets the nod for stick-to-it-iveness.

3. Rare occurrence, but no complaints

It’s not often the UFC takes two young(ish) prospects and matches them up early in their UFC careers, especially in a crowded division. But that’s what’s happening with unbeaten lightweights Marc Diakiese and Drakkar Klose.

Diakiese is an exciting and flashy striker who excels at distance, something he displayed in his last outing, a “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning knockout of Teemu Packalen. Diakiese (12-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has decent takedowns and is good from the top position, but if he finds himself on his back, he struggles. Klose’s (7-0-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) wrestling base showed in his short-notice UFC debut, a decision win over Devin Powell. Klose closed distance well and was heavy against the cage. He also landed both takedown attempts, which could be the deciding factor here.

4. Really short notice

Jared Cannonier

Let’s hope Jared Cannonier didn’t spend too much time preparing for this event by watching tape of Steve Bosse, because Bosse is off the card. Cannonier now faces Nick Roehrick, who took the light heavyweight fight on three days’ notice.

Cannonier is coming off a decision loss to former title contender Glover Teixeira. Before that defeat, he had won two straight, claiming post-fight bonuses in each of those victories.

Roehrick (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) joins the UFC with a perfect 7-0 record, the same record Cannonier (9-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) had when he made his UFC debut. Roehrick undoubtedly hopes his promotional debut goes smoother than Cannonier’s, which ended in the first round when he was knocked out by Shawn Jordan.

5. Change the discussion

Brad Tavares

Brad Tavares has no problems defeating middle-of-the-pack UFC middleweights, but when he steps up in competition, he struggles. Over the past five years, Tavares has gone 7-3 with his losses coming to Yoel Romero, Tim Boetsch and Robert Whittaker. Tavares (14-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) gets a chance to change that narrative against rankings honorable mention Elias Theodorou (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), whose only defeat is a decision loss to Thiago Santos.

This bout looks like the most evenly matched fight on the card, and the winner could parlay his victory into a fight against a ranked opponent.

6. Looking for that first win

Angela Hill

Angela Hill has been successful outside the UFC, going unbeaten while winning and defending the Invicta strawweight title. Unfortunately, Hill has struggled in the UFC, compiling an 0-3 record over two stints with the promotion. Hill returned to the UFC in her most recent bout, a “Fight of the Night” decision loss to recent title contender Jessica Andrade. While Hill did lose that contest, she did what Andrade’s two previous strawweight opponents could not – go the distance.

Hill (6-3 MMA, 0-3 UFC), currently ranked No. 9 in the division, gets another chance at UFC victory against Ashley Yoder (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who enters the contest coming off a decision loss to Justine Kish.

Hill has displayed good outside striking ability. She’ll need those skills against Yoder, who has won four fights via submission.

7. It’s been a minute

Two longtime UFC fighters return from injuries on this card. Ed Herman, who has not fought since a July 2016 knockout loss to Nikita Krylov and C.B. Dollaway, whose most recent bout was a December 2015 knockout loss to Nate Marquardt meet in a light heavyweight contest.

Herman (23-12-1 MMA, 10-8-1 UFC) was out with an undisclosed injury, while Dollaway’s (15-8 MMA, 9-8 UFC) prolonged absence stemmed from an elevator mishap following the UFC 203 ceremonial weigh-in in September.

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Both fighters are 3-4 over their past seven bouts. Herman has alternated wins and losses over that time, Dollaway is on a three-fight losing skid. This is a sensible matchup that neither fighter can afford to lose.

8. Important for different reasons

Jessica Eye

Undefeated Aspen Ladd makes her UFC debut against a very dangerous opponent. The 22-year-old Ladd, whose first pro fight took place in February 2015, meets 30-year-old Jessica Eye, who has not won since November 2014 when she defeated Leslie Smith via TKO.

When Eye joined the UFC, she was 10-1, she’s now 11-6 with one no-contest and has decision losses in her past four fights. Eye (11-6 MMA, 1-5 UFC) has fought some tough opponents during that run, but her back is against the wall against Ladd (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). If Eye loses this bout, the odds of her being released are high.

As for Ladd, she’s never faced anyone with the name recognition or high-level experience of Eye. If she can get her sixth consecutive win, she’s likely to earn a shot at a top-15 bantamweight opponent.

9. Looking forward

Gray Maynard

Gray Maynard and Teruto Ishihara are both coming off frustrating unanimous decision defeats. Ishihara falling to Artem Lobov and Maynard losing to Ryan Hall.

Ishihara (9-3-2 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC), a potential star in the making, saw Lobov control the range during their fight, never allowing the young Japanese fighter to mount any sustained offense of his own. Maynard (12-6-1 MMA, 10-6-1 UFC), the UFC veteran, dealt with a competitor in Hall who fought to his strengths, using his Brazilian jiu-jitsu base to negate any offense Maynard hoped to bring to the contest.

Don’t be surprised if these featherweights look to put their recent disappointments behind them with a good old-fashioned donnybrook.

10. Looking for a boost

Tecia Torres

It’s rare that two top-15 fighters open a UFC event, but No. 7 Tecia Torres and No. 13 Juliana Lima do just that on this card. This matchup was not the original booking, but when USADA flagged Amanda Ribas for a potential anti-doping violation, Torres agreed to step in to face Lima.

Neither of these strawweights has had success against other ranked fighters. Torres’ (8-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) sole loss came to Rose Namajunas, while Lima (9-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has dropped decisions to former champion Carla Esparza and champion-to-be Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

One of these women will leave Las Vegas with a boost in confidence, knowing she belongs among the top-ranked strawweights.

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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