- Jessica Penne - First Invicta atomweight champion, one of the best grapplers in MMA and won't have any trouble making the weight. Penne is an elite fighter, and she is ranked #2 at 105lbs. She was already
asked to be on the castapproached by the UFC. No-brainer here, and I reckon this helps too (dubstep-y warning).Update: It has come to my attention that Penne was only asked if she would move up to 115lbs. She said no, end of story. However, I think it's safe to assume if she said yes, she would have been asked to join the TUF cast. (thanks for the heads up, Roxanne Modafferi)
- Lisa Ellis - A true veteran of the sport. She's been fighting since 2004, and like Penne should have an easier time making weight as she has fought at 105lbs before. Although she has more loses than wins against top-tier opposition (Megumi Fujii, Penne and Jessica Aguilar), Lisa Ellis is an exciting, well-rounded fighter that is very deserving with the time she's put into this sport, competing at a consistently high level. Also, she's had some decent back and forth with Rose Namajunas. Here's the bulk of their exchanges.
- Heather Clark - Previously training with Jackson's MMA, and now with Xtreme Couture, Clark pushes the pace and is well-versed standing and on the ground. I'm a little worried how the weight cut will be for her at 5 ft 6. I wouldn't be surprised to see her win at least one fight in the house. In addition, there is some bad-blood with Felice Herrig, who has already been selected as a cast member. See the weigh-ins and right after the end of their fight in Bellator.
- Kailin Curran - Kailin is exactly the type of fighter the UFC/Dana loves. A highly active, skilled striker (that includes her ground striking). Definitely check out her most recent fight here and her fight vs. Kaiyana Rain that includes round 1, which was voted 3rd best round of the year in the 2013 Bloody Elbow's WMMA Awards, as well as being nominated for best fight of the year.
- Randa Markos - I am a huge fan of Markos' after watching the heart she displayed in her fight against Muay Thai monster Justine Kish (also, worth checking out). She isn't the most athletically gifted, or fastest fighter. But, the will, determination etc all those attributes associated with "having heart" that creates fan-favorites like Diego Sanchez, Miesha Tate and Forrest Griffin she has it.
- Aisling Daly - Ireland is making a little bit of an invasion aren't they with two Irish fighters on TUF 19, and of course Conor McGregor. Now, we also have Ireland's first female mixed-martial artist. She's somewhat of an inconsistent fighter, but her grappling is enough to give all strawweights a tough fight. She has a huge name on her resume (Jessica Eye), who she tapped out in Eye's pre-Bellator days. Daly was a handful for #7 Katja Kankaanpaa, and looked like a woman on a mission in her latest fight against Karla Benitez (all of these fights available on Youtube). Aisling is ranked #12.
- Honorable mentions: Jenny Liou, Tessa Simpson and Angela Hill... Hill is particularly interesting as she has to win her pro MMA debut this week on April 26th just to qualify for the tryouts on April 28th! Potential for quite the story.
- Update: It appears Nina Ansaroff will be trying out as well. She's fresh off a combination to ground and pound finish of Munah Holland at Invicta 7. I have no idea how she'll look as a 115er, but if she can bring any of the striking, wrestling and movement she's shown at flyweight, watch out. Ansaroff does not, by any means, look like a small flyweight, either. It's a shame some of these girls won't make it, due to the amazing nature of this season.
- CDOR = combined defeated opponent record... for girls with 10+ wins I just did the last 5 wins