TUF 26 Cast revealed, who are the early favorites?

he TUF 26 winner we be the UFC’s first Women’s Flyweight Champion

During last night’s UFC Fight Night Mexico City card, the UFC announced the participants for TUF 26. The all women’s cast will be coached by Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje. The winner of the season will become the inaugural Flyweight champion. It will give the UFC four women’s divisions with champions.

First things first, who are the ladies on the show? Here’s a list of who’s in.

Ariel Beck
DeAnna Bennett
Shana Dobson
Sijara Eubanks
Melinda Fabian
Karine Gevorgyan
Barb Honchak
Christina Marks
Rachael Ostovich
Lauren Murphy
Nicco Montano
Roxanne Modafferi
Gillian Robertson
Maia Stevenson
Montana Stewart
Emily Whitmire

The Favorites

So now we know who’s in, let’s take a look at some of who I believe are the favorites to leave Las Vegas with gold around their waist.

Barb Honchak – She’s an unbelievable talented fighter who has beaten Roxanne Modafferi, Felice Herrig, Aisling Daly, Leslie Smith and many others. She’s on a nine fight winning streak that goes back to 2010.  The only negative is she hasn’t been in a cage since 2014. She’s not been competing, and it’ll be interesting to see how rusty she is. She’s a former Invicta champion, and if she returns to the sport in the same shape she left it, she will be a contender undoubtedly.

Maia Stevenson – She opened her career 1-4, but has gone 5-0 in her last five and gets better with each performance. She’s married to TUF 25 competitor Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and could make some noise in this field.  The only concern is this will mark a big step up in competition for Maia who has been winning fights at Gladiator Challenge.

Roxanne Modafferi – “The Happy Warrior” has seen a major career resurgence at Syndicate MMA.  She’s won 4 of her last 5 and has shown marked improvement in each and every fight. Her ground game is already elite and now she’s getting hands to match. Roxanne is a star, and she has all the tools to leave the TUF house with a shiny belt around her waist.

Lauren Murphy – Lauren is currently in the UFC and fights in the talent rich MMA Lab facility out of Phoenix, AZ. Her record has not been as good as her talent because she’s been forced to weight in a weight class that doesn’t fit her. At 125 pounds, she’s going to be a tough out in this tournament and I’d make her the early favorite to win it all.

DeAnna Bennett – DeAnna has lost 3 fights in a row, two of those by split decision. That said, she’s a talented fighter, and has a solid 8-3 overall record, a ton of experience and is very athletic. She bounces between fighting at 115 pounds and 125 pounds. She’s not my favorite to win, but her talent and experience make her tough to simply overlook.