Bantamweight Prospects: UFC’s Karol Rosa and Tracy Cortez

Taking an in-depth look on Karol Rosa and Tracy Cortez, the Bantamweight's newest potential contenders in the division.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

The 135lb talent is getting stale and desperately needs new blood to take over the division. The “old head” women’s Bantamweights like Germaine de Randamie (GDR), Holly Holm, and of course, Amanda Nunes, have been on top of the Bantamweight mountain since the Rousey era ended in 2015-2016.

Many prospects have become contenders over these past couple of years like Ketlen Viera (11-1), Macy Chiasson (6-1), and Julia Avila (7-2); however, all three of these fighters have hit a setback loss that has made their run at a chance for the title a little longer.

These two women bantamweights both fight like seasoned veterans in Karol Rosa and Tracy Cortez.

#16 Karol Rosa (14-3)


Key Facts

  • 1-0  in 2020
  • Notable wins against Joselyn Edwards, Lara Procopio, Gisele Moreira, Mariana Morais

The winner of six of her last seven contests, Karol Rosa (14-3), is hitting her stride.

Karol Rosa is 3-0 since she moved to the major leagues, and the UFC is building her up correctly by picking her opponents wisely and letting her confidence grow with every win.

Her volume sets her apart from every bantamweight she faces.

In her UFC tenure, Rosa has landed an insane rate of 177 total strikes per fight. Rosa is a very technical boxer. All of her combinations are set up by her jab work, and her jabs are straight, quick, and pack a sting behind them.

Aside from her volume, one of her strengths is her fight IQ.

Not only do Rosa’s jabs keep her opponents at bay, but so do her low kicks. She has a plethora of inside & outside thigh and calf kicks she likes to use against fighters who put all of their weight on their front foot so they can sit down on their punches. Her thigh kick also immediately takes away the power a fighter is trying to put into their strikes. In turn, Rosa then out volumes and overwhelms her opposition, hitting them with a 4-5 low kick-punch combo.

What she has to keep improving is her ground game. In her last fight against Vanessa Melo (10-7), she successfully landed her first two UFC takedowns. While Rosa is a BJJ brown belt, she has a high-level awareness of what to do on the ground and when. That is exactly what happened in the 3rd round of her last fight.

Vanessa Melo started having her best round of the fight, putting up multiple combos back to back, pressing Rosa. Rosa used Melo’s aggressiveness against her once they got close, got her to clinch with her, put her against the wall, and took her down.

After her victory against Joselyne Edwards (10-2), Karol Rosa is seeking another fight later in the calendar year.

#20 Tracy Cortez (8-1)

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Key Facts

  • 1-0 in 2020
  • Notable wins against Stephanie Egger, Mariya Agapova, Erin Blanchfield

The Quick & Slick Tracy Cortez brings a new dimension to the bantamweight division with her sudden explosiveness.

Everything about Cotrez’s gameplan screams patience and control.

Cortez uses her faints to close distance and control her opponents’ space. Once her opponents show their hand, she is a natural at countering them. Cortez loves to constantly move, stay on the outside, and level change when her opponents recklessly throw at her.

We have also seen that when a fight can get dirty, Tracy Cortez becomes a brawler.

In her fight against Vanessa Melo (10-6), she showed that she could take a punch to give one, even two, for good measure.

Cortez doubled Melo 155 to 76 in total strikes and even added two take downs on her way to a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 29-27). Once Cortez establishes her game plan and maintains control, she is one of the division’s best ground and pounders.

Cortez’s ground & pound is explosive and vicious. Her strikes are precise and usually break the opponents’ guard more times than not.

Tracy Cortes hopes to add another UFC veteran to her notable wins list when she takes on Justine Kish (7-3), April 17th.