Paige VanZant is too young for "The Ultimate Fighter," but not too young to fight in the Octagon.
The 20-year-old will make her UFC debut against fellow newcomer Kailin Curran at UFC Fight Night on FOX Sports 1 on Oct. 4 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the UFC announced this week. She’ll be the youngest women’s fighter in UFC history, in only the third women’s strawweight fight.
VanZant (3-1), a former ring girl who is also a model and dancer, was going to be part of "The Ultimate Fighter 20" when her contract was acquired from Invicta late last year. But she was disappointed to find out she didn’t meet the minimum age requirement of the show. Because there’s a chance of alcohol being in the house, any competitors must be at least 21 years old. TUF 20 will decide the UFC’s first 115-pound women’s champion.
VanZant, a Nevada native who trains out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, is coming off a first-round submission win over Courtney Himes at BCP Cage Wars 15 in April 2013. Before that, she fell to TUF cast member Tecia Torres in January 2013 while both were fighting for Invicta.
Curran (3-0) is also pretty inexperienced in pro MMA, though her amateur career started four years ago. The Hawaii native and Reign MMA product is coming off a unanimous decision win over Yoo Jin Jung at Pacific Xtreme Combat 42 in February. All of the 23-year-old’s wins have come by decision.
UFC Fight Night in Halifax will be headlined by a welterweight contender fight between Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine. It’ll be the UFC’s first-ever trip to the Canadian city.