According to a Jan. 15 report from Yahoo! Sports, Paige VanZant has been booked to fight Felice Herrig at the star-studded UFC on FOX 15 spectacular, Apr. 18 in Newark, New Jersey. The fight between VanZant and Herrig is going to be a high-level affair with spirited grappling and striking, but both are also well-known for their model-esque good looks.
Herrig, 30, has been using modeling work to enhance her fighting career for several years now, and her unique marketing has helped propel her into one of the most well-known superstars in the UFC’s strawweight division. VanZant, who won Fight of the Night in her UFC debut last November, seems to be cut from the same cloth.
She does modeling work on the side, and she’s a former cheerleader. VanZant receives as much attention for her looks as she does for her skills inside the cage. Let’s be honest: VanZant versus Herrig is the hottest fight the UFC has ever put on. There’s no way around it, so it might as well be mentioned.
The weigh-in for UFC on FOX 15, which goes down one night before the fights, might end up being the most-watched UFC weigh-in of all-time. Heck, it might just break the internet. There’s no getting around the fact that Herrig and VanZant are two of the most beautiful women in the UFC, so the promotion’s PR team might as well just embrace it.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be best for business. No word yet if the Herrig verus VanZant scrap will be televised on FOX, or if it’ll be assigned to the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card. Either way, it’s going to be one of the most talked about fights on the bill.
VanZant, 21, was one of the most discussed fighters in the UFC last year, as she was trending for days on Yahoo and Google after her finish of Kailin Curran at UFC Fight Night 54. Make no mistake: VanZant’s good looks are part of her success. There’s no way a UFC Fight Pass preliminary card fighter would have received as much attention as VanZant if they were an ordinary looking male.
What can be made of VanZant’s success? To be honest, it is what it is. People are going to Google search whatever they want, and folks will be fans of VanZant for whatever reason they choose. If people want to watch her because she’s beautiful, that’s perfectly fine. If they want to watch because she’s a great fighter, that’s great too. The important thing is that they are watching.
Here’s the thing: VanZant is a legitimate fighter who has devastating striking skills, and she can hold her own against any of the top strawweights in the world. Fight fans shouldn’t think the UFC is turning into the fighting version of the Lingerie Football League. The difference is that VanZant is a talented brawler who just so happens to be attractive.
Her good looks become an after-thought after fight fans watch her compete inside the cage. Same goes for Herrig, a grizzled MMA veteran who stopped Lisa Ellis with an armbar in her UFC debut. UFC on FOX 15 emanates from Newark’s Prudential Center, the site of several previous MMA events.
The Prudential Center played host to UFC 169, UFC 78 and UFC 159. Elsewhere on the UFC on FOX 15 card, Lyoto Machida fights Luke Rockhold and Jim Miller battles Paul Felder. Long Island’s Aljamain Sterling is also rumored for the card.