Note: This is a story I wrote for MMA Latest News.
The newest addition to the UFC on Fox card headlined by the rematch between bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw and former champion Renan Barao, July 25 in Chicago, features a rematch between prospects Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke and Elizabeth Phillips. UFC officials confirmed the announcement via Twitter.
Phillips (4-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) and Duke (3-2 1NC, 0-2)faced off in 2012 at RFA 2 where The Gun submitted the SikJitsu fighter in the second round with a guillotine choke.
Both fighters have taken similar paths since their first bout. Duke won her professional debut against Suzie Montero, finishing her in the third round via TKO. She earned victories over Marciea Allen and Peggy Morgan. In between those fights, she fought Miriam Nakamoto to a no-contest. Duke had originally lost the fight via TKO, however the Missouri Athletic Commission overturned Nakamoto’s victory after it deemed that she threw an illegal knee while her opponent was in the kneeling position.
Duke also starred in “The Ultimate Fighter 18” where she met training partners and Four Horsewomen Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey. She’s coming off back-to-back losses against Bethe “The Pitbull” Correia and Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith.
As for Phillips, she finished her amateur run with a split-decision win over Priscilla White at Night of Champions 7. She stepped up to the professional ranks where she lost to Nakamoto in her debut. Phillips rebounded from her loss, winning her next four fights, including wins over Stevie VanAsshcie, Katie Howard, and Kristen Stenzel.
Two weeks after her win over Howard, Phillips signed with the UFC. She’s dropped razor-thin decisions to Valerie Letourneau and Milana Dudieva.
This should be a good fight that will more and likely be on the preliminary card. Both fighters are well-rounded with similar experience. They also have good camps. While Duke trains with Baszler and other fighters like Colleen Schneider and Josh Barnett, Phillips grapples and spars with three “Ultimate Fighter” castmates – two of them winners – Michael Chiesa, Sam Sicilia, and Julianna Pena. She’s also learned from veterans of the sport.
Both Duke and Phillips have their backs against the wall and will be looking for their first octagon win. Some may give Duke the edge because she won the first fight and has gained a lot of experience in the last years, but Phillips has also come a long way since her amateur days.