Octagon Oracles: Undefeated LFA Vet Tabatha Ricci

Tabatha Ricci stands in an LFA cage while her corner drapes a flag behind her with sponsors. Undefeated flyweight Tabatha Ricci is joining the UFC roster after a three-fight tear in LFA. Photo Credit: LFA / UFC Fight Pass

Tabatha Ricci is the first of three former LFA fighters that will be getting the short notice UFC call-up on Saturday night. Ricci will make her UFC debut on the prelims of a “Fight Night” card on Saturday night, fighting fellow rising flyweight Manon Fiorot.

Ricci is getting the call to the UFC after an strong streak of wins as of late. Extending an undefeated MMA record that she opened in 2013, Ricci has recently scored submission, TKO and decision wins since making her LFA debut in the fall.

The Octagon Oracles team looked at Ricci before she will make her first walk to the UFC cage.

Kristen King

Grade: B+
Ricci signing with the UFC is a big deal because the promotion just scored a highly touted, undefeated prospect with the ability to go very far. Her background is in judo and jiu-jitsu and it has served her well since her return to mixed martial arts completion last year. Ricci came back, signed with LFA and earned three wins over names such as Kelsey Arnesen, Vanessa Marie Grimes and Shawna Ormsby. Each time she stepped inside of the cage, she showed something different. Ricci can go the distance. Ricci can secure a submission. Ricci can get the knockout. Her striking may not match her grappling right now, but it is a work in progress and she looks better in every outing.

My only concern with the debut of Ricci is that I believe it is too soon. I was happy to see she signed a multi-fight deal with LFA because it is sort of a feeder league for the UFC and it meant she could take her time being built up as a fighter. A couple more solid showings would have absolutely landed her a contract eventually, and I have no doubt she would have secured one in the next few years. However, I understand not wanting to pass up on the opportunity to sign with the UFC. I just hope that they do not rush her because she is definitely a fighter that can crack the top 15 of her division.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Zac Herbison

Grade: B-
Ricci’s an exciting, athletic grappler and pressure fighter. A judo black belt and BJJ brown belt, Ricci competed in a martial arts promotion somewhat similar to combat sambo or judo with striking. When a fight went to the ground, a timer was started. After thirty seconds, the fighters were stood up. This promotion also rewarded pressure – pushing or throwing your opponent out of bounds three times would win the match. Her game seems to be a product of that background. She’s great at pressing her opponent back with clinches, powerful kicks, or flurries of hooks. On the ground, she passes as if that timer’s still going in her head. Her judo experience shows in the way she quickly and systematically works towards an armbar.

I think where she may be vulnerable is in a prolonged kickboxing match. She seems to like fighting in bursts of offense, and hasn’t shown much interest in fighting from range. However, having that kind of fight with Ricci requires keeping her off of you, and that seems tough.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion