Tracy Cortez set for UFC debut in Brazil

Image for Tracy Cortez set for UFC debut in Brazil

Tracy Cortez is one of the hottest prospects in the UFC. Having gained a contract through her performance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Cortez is set to debut at UFC on ESPN+ 22. The card is headlined by the light heavyweight debut of Jacare Souza, who takes on #5 Jan Blachowicz. Souza is coming off a loss against Jack Hermansson, whereas Blachowicz recently knocked out Luke Rockhold.

Road to the Contender Series and Contract Winning Performance

Before turning professional, Tracy Cortez began her MMA journey with an impressive 6-0 amateur record. Cortez didn’t rush her amateur career, taking these six fights over a period of three years.

Cortez turned professional in 2017, debuting at Invicta FC 25. On this occasion, she faced 3-0, Cheri Muraski. Muraski handed Cortez her first loss in MMA, via guillotine choke in the second round. This clearly lit a fire in the belly of Cortez because she is undefeated since this loss. She faced Roxanne Ceasear in her next bout, knocking her out in a little over 30 seconds. You can catch this fight on UFC Fight Pass.

Cortez then went on to pick up a further two finish victories and two decision victories before being offered a place on the Contender Series. She faced 6-0 prospect Mariya Agapova. Being on the end of a three-inch reach deficit, it took Cortez a little while to find her range. She took a few big shots but continued to walk forward. In the first, she showed some good groundwork as well as managing to land some heavy knees in the clinch. Cortez dominated the second and if it wasn’t for some good defensive work on the ground from Agapova, Cortez could have finished the fight. The third played out similar to the second, with Cortez dominating her opponent over five minutes.

UFC debut

Having impressed Dana White, Tracy Cortez gained a contract to fight in the UFC. Originally scheduled to face 3-1 Brazillian, Duda Santana, Cortez will now face Brazillian Venessa Melo. Melo is 10-6 in MMA and 0-1 in the UFC. In her debut, she lost a decision to highly rated Irene Aldana. Prior to this, she went on a five-fight winning streak, all via decision. Will Melo ever hold a championship belt? Doubtful. She will certainly provide a good test for Cortez in her debut, however.

Tracy Cortez will be stepping up in weight to compete at bantamweight for the first time since 2014. She could, however, hold a slight size advantage over Melo, who has previously fought at strawweight. 

Although on the prelims, this is certainly one to keep an eye on. With Cortez’s relentless style, she always provides an exciting fight. She will clearly be looking to impress on her debut and expect her to chase the finish.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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