Coming out of the groundbreaking The Ultimate Fighter season, it would be a shame not to highlight one of the women that made this season so fun to watch. The ladies in this season put on spectacular fights to get in the house and even better ones once they were in. The Breakout Star this week is one who has clearly paid her dues. She is a true mixed martial artist who’s fun to watch and has been around for seemingly forever. Full disclosure: she has trained out of New England Submission Fighting in Amherst, MA previously, which is where yours truly currently trains. So, I may be somewhat biased.
What makes her impressive
With 25 professional fights, you’d be hard-pressed to find too many women with more experience than Modafferi. She made her debut more than 10 years prior to her UFC debut this Saturday. Along the way she’s been in wars and has fought some of the toughest names in women’s MMA, such as Rosi Sexton, Sarah Kaufman, Tara LaRosa and Marloes Coenen. She’s fought for numerous titles and taken home her fair share of them.
Even more impressive than her longstanding MMA history is her diverse background in different martial arts. Originally trained in taekwondo, she’s honed her striking background through karate training. So, while owning a strong striking background, her grappling background is equally as impressive. As a teenager she started training in judo and is the proud owner of a brown belt. While that is a great start in grappling, she’s solidified that with a purple belt in jiu jitsu. Oh, have I mentioned she also trains Muay Thai under Kru Mark DelleGrotte currently. Talk about well rounded.
Why she’s been overlooked
Just as women’s mixed martial arts started reaching the front of the public's consciousness, Roxanne began a short losing streak. Starting with a loss for the Strikeforce belt, she has taken a few hard losses recently. Now having refocused her training back in the USA, she is poised to return to her winning ways.
What makes this a good matchup
While Raquel Pennington has loads of amateur experience, she has only had six career professional fights. Furthermore, with the exception of a loss at the hands of Cat Zingano, she has not really had any big name opponents. While those making their debuts are likely to face an adrenaline dump from the excitement, Modafferi has been there and done that. If Pennington can’t finish her early, Modafferi will take her into deeper waters and test her more than anyone ever has.
Daniel Vreeland is a writer (PrelimPicker) and teacher with an avid love for martial arts. He has practiced jiu jitsu and submission grappling under and next to many top names including Royce Gracie, Rousimar Palhares, Murilo Bustamante and Marco Alvan. He has placed in multiple NAGA grappling tournaments and currently trains under black belt Dave Roy in Amherst, MA.