Spoiler Alert! Looks like Tara LaRosa didn't make it to the UFC after her appearance on this season's Ultimate Fighter. The show will feature men and women's bantamweight competitors under the coaching guidance of Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate. Here's a look at the full cast revealed just last week. LaRosa was one of the most experienced fighters in either division with a record of 21-3 and 11 years of pro-MMA experience. Her most recent fight came under the Invicta banner, a unanimous decision loss to Vanessa Porto; some tabbed her as the odds-on favorite to win the whole show. Considering the current lack of depth in the UFC's women's division the idea that she might not even get a contract is particularly surprising, as MMARising.com reports that an agreement is in place for LaRosa to fight Rin Nakai at Pancrase 252 on September 29th.
That's not to say that this is set in stone, Pancrase has notoriously jumped the gun on announcing upcoming fights. So until we get word from LaRosa herself I'd take this with some caution. If the fight does go down, LaRosa may find herself in something of a compromising position against the Japanese promotion's golden goose. LaRosa has failed to make weight in each of her last two fights, if she fails to do so against Nakai Pancrase may waste little time in using it to stack the deck against her. When Nakai's last opponent (Danielle West) came in 2.5 lbs over the limit, Pancrase made her do a second full weight cut the day of the fight, changed the match rules to include no chokes or knees (which West found out mid-fight only applied to her) and informed her after the fight that, had she won, it would have been changed to a draw. Pancrase also supposedly tried to levy additional fines post fight for a poor performance and missed weight cut.
All of which is a shame, because Rin Nakai isn't a terrible fighter. She's not terribly exciting as a wrestling heavy wrestle boxer, but she certainly doesn't need the rules bent around her to make her legitimate. Hopefully LaRosa enters her Pancrase contract aware of all this and doesn't get burned by it. We'll be sure to update as more information comes, so stay tuned.
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