Former Golden Gloves national boxing champion Danyelle Wolf will try to earn a UFC contract on Tuesday night when she takes on the undefeated Taneisha Tennant in Dana White’s Contender Series.
The 37-year-old Wolf comes in as a -142 favorite in her professional MMA debut, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Wolf Tries MMA After Boxing Opportunities Dry Up
Wolf competes at featherweight, which has made it difficult for her to find professional fights in boxing. Her weight class isn’t represented at the Olympics, either. That made the jump to MMA a natural move for the former three-sport college athlete, even at what would normally be a late stage in a combat sports career.
“It’s just another day at work,” Wolf told Cageside Press. “I’m a fighter, this is what I do.”
Wolf struggled to find opportunities in amateur MMA given her experience as an elite boxer. While she says her boxing experience will make her feel comfortable inside the Octagon, it’s not easy to move from boxing to MMA.
“You have to have respect for the sport of MMA, and you have to respect that it’s not just striking,” Wolf told Cageside Press. “You can’t just be a great boxer, because you will get taken down by great wrestlers, and you will get your leg kicked out by great kickboxers. You have to be a well-rounded athlete, you have to respect the sport, you have to put in the work as a mixed martial artist, and as a student.”
Taneisha Tennant (3-0) provides an interesting challenge for Wolf. Four of her five career wins have come against relatively good competition in Invicta, though all four came by unanimous decision, and two were in one-round exhibition bouts.
Dana White’s Contender Series Odds
- Muhammadjon Naimov (-385) vs. Collin Anglin (+290)
- Kyle Driscoll (-205) vs. Dinis Paiva (+164)
- Gregory Rodrigues (-158) vs. Jordan Williams (+128)
- Michael Lombardo (-184) vs. Korey Kuppe (+148)
- Danyelle Wolf (-142) vs. Taneisha Tennant (+116)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
The 31-year-old licensed practical nurse turned pro last May, and sees the Contender Series as a potential stepping stone into the limelight.
“These people who come from the Contender Series, they’ve been champions in their hometown and their state, and they’ve been around but nobody has seen them,” Tennant told Newsday. “So when they finally get to that big stage, people are like kind of wild. They’re like, ‘Wow, this talent was out there all along.’”
Two Fighters Get Second Chances on Tuesday
Tuesday’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series also features a couple of returning veterans looking for a second shot at a UFC contract.
Former college football player Michael Lombardo (10-2) will battle Korey Kuppe (8-3) in a welterweight contest. Lombardo appeared on the show last June when he dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Kyle Daukaus, who has since joined the UFC. This time around, Lombardo comes in as a -184 favorite over Kuppe (+148).
Meanwhile, middleweight Jordan Williams (8-3) will make his first appearance since losing a split decision to Ramazan Kuramagomedov last July. On Tuesday, he’ll enter as a +128 underdog against the 7-2 Gregory Rodrigues (-158).
Dana White’s Contender Series gives promising MMA fighters a chance to earn a UFC contract. White, the UFC president, has awarded 23 contracts over the first six episodes of the current season of the show.