This article is part two in a series that will profile five of the top Canadian mixed martial artists not yet signed to a major promotion.
Part 1: The Fighting Five: Laramie gets shot at UFC dream
Were it not for the popular dating app Tinder, Jasmine Jasudavicius almost certainly wouldn’t be competing professionally in mixed martial arts.
The St. Catharines, Ont.,-based strawweight had no combat sports experience whatsoever when she accompanied a friend on a date with someone who she connected with on Tinder. It was on Canada Day in 2015 when she met her future boyfriend and wrestling coach Chris Prickett.
“We met through a friend of mine. She was on a Tinder date with some dude and [Prickett] was friends with her,” Jasudavicius told TSN. “She brought me along because she was scared to go alone, tricked me into it.”
Two months later, Jasudavicius’s mixed martial arts journey started when Prickett asked her to travel with him to Prince Edward Island on a business trip. Prickett was headed east to train grappling with UFC fighter Jason Saggo, who had an upcoming bout in the promotion.
“Once we were there, I was watching in the gym and I’m like, ‘This actually looks really cool,’” said Jasudavicius.
After sparring practice one day, Jasudavicius asked if she could try. After Saggo saw her move around, he encouraged her to pursue the sport.
Jasudavicius had her doubts, but after attending Saggo’s fight in Ottawa she returned home to start training and hasn’t looked back.
About a year and a half later, Jasudavicius competed in her first amateur fight, earning a third-round submission victory at an event in Rochester, N.Y. She has remained undefeated since, with three more amateur wins and four professional victories.
While most women’s strawweight and flyweight bouts tend to go the distance, Jasudavicius has shown a killer instinct. Her two most recent wins both came early in the first round.
Now Jasudavicius has the opportunity to become a champion when she faces Elise Reed at Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) 83 on Aug. 13 in Philadelphia for the vacant strawweight (115 pounds) championship.
The CFFC has proven to be an important step on the road to the UFC. Two former CFFC female champions, Katlyn Chookagian and Miranda Granger, have gone on to compete in the UFC. Chookagian earned both the CFFC flyweight and bantamweight titles and Granger held the strawweight title.
With the exception of her previous bout, which was contested at a 122 pound catchweight, all of Jasudavicius’s professional bouts have been at flyweight (125 pounds). However, she hopes to compete at strawweight for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve been struggling to find an opponent that will accept the fight at 115 (pounds),” said Jasudavicius. “A lot of the times I’ll get a short-notice call. I can’t make 115 [on] short notice, so finally I’m able to lock it in at the right weight class.”
Jasudavicius has not been offered a bout on the Dana White Contender Series, but she ultimately hopes to fight in a UFC octagon.
“I really like the CFFC. I think they’re a really awesome promotion,” said Jasudavicius. “Obviously, if the Contender Series gave me an option I would go there, or try to make them both work.”
With less than five years of combat sports experience, it’s remarkable how far Jasudavicius has come. She is now just one win away from becoming a champion on the regional scene, with a future call from the UFC a real possibility.
“I think I’m good with the nerves, I’m good with adversity,” said Jasudavicius. “I think when I get under those lights, I feel at home and I think that’s where my success is happening, people want to see that wiliness that I have inside of me.”
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