Laura Sanko, former fighter and current announcer for Dana White’s Contender Series gives her picks for who to keep an eye on this Tuesday night.
Las Vegas, NV — It’s easy to forget that Laura Sanko, who currently handles interviews and in-cage announcing duties for the Contender Series (not to mention her role with Invicta), was once a fighter herself. In the early 2010s, Sanko made appearances for Titan FC and Invicta.
The MMA landscape has changed a fair bit since those days, but the more things change, the more they stay the game. Fight night jitters. The highs of winning and the lows of losing. Ahead of the third season premiere of Dana White’s Contender Series, Sanko told reporters including Cageside Press that “every time I see a fighter walk out, I get almost nauseous to be honest with you. It reminds me of the times I was able to do that. I feel the excitement for every single one of those fighters, every single winner, and my heart aches for every single loser.”
“I feel a lot of ownership over this show in a lot of ways,” she added.
The new Apex facility gives a bit of a movie-set quality feel to the production this season. “I think that’s fair to say,” Sanko said of the suggestion. “I think you’re right, the TUF Gym feels a little bit more Fight Pass-y, a little bit more like Invicta. If I screw up, maybe I won’t lose my job. In here, it’s ‘oh man, it’s go time. It’s go time!'”
Still, she said Tuesday at the UFC Apex, “I love doing live interviews, I love doing live hits. It kind of just is what it is. I thrive off that. It feeds the adrenaline of not fighting anymore.”
As for the fights on her radar, “I think the ladies fight tonight is going to be really interesting. You’ve got Kali Robbins and Hannah Goldy coming in here. Goldy is undefeated, Kali Robbins has done a lot of good in a number of organizations. I remember watching her first hand in Invicta. I always like to watch the ladies throw down, so that’s one I’m definitely looking forward to.”
As well, Hawaii’s Punahele Soriano stands out. “You can’t get a guy who at least on paper is just [more] perfect for this show. 5-0, all finishes, all in the first round,” she noted. “If he can do that, you’ve got to believe he’s going to get the contract.”