Returning favorites, explosive newcomer added to Mae Young Classic 2018
Three more Mae Young Classic 2018 competitors have been revealed, and they include two of the top combatants from last year’s tournament, plus one of Europe’s toughest grapplers.
Returning competitors Mercedes Martinez and Mia Yim, as well as Portugal’s Killer Kelly, are the latest additions to this year’s 32-woman tournament, bringing the total number of competitors announced so far to 14. It was also confirmed earlier today that India’s Kavita Devi will make her sophomore appearance in the Classic.
The global tournament, which tapes Aug. 8 and 9 at Full Sail Live in Orlando, Fla., will stream later this summer exclusively on WWE Network.
Mercedes Martinez (pictured above), whose return to the Classic was first reported by Newsweek.com, is a 18-year ring veteran from Waterbury, Conn. Using an aggressive combination of strong-style and submission wrestling, Martinez defeated China’s Xia Li, Mexico’s Princesa Sugehit and America’s Abbey Laith in last year’s tournament before falling to her protégé, current NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, in the Semifinals. With an astonishing number of titles to her resume, The Latina Sensation will undoubtedly be one of the most decorated competitors in the mix this year.
Also returning to action is Mia Yim, a dangerous striker from Fontana, Calif., who represented South Korea in 2017’s tournament. After pinning Sarah Logan in last year’s opening round, Yim was ousted by Baszler in her next match. Yim suffered a leg injury in late 2017 that shelved her for months, but upon returning to action earlier this year, she adjusted her style to emphasize strikes and submissions, both of which she’s well-versed in thanks to her extensive background in taekwondo. Yim brings nearly a decade of wrestling experience to this year’s field.
Killer Kelly made her WWE Network debut in June at NXT’s events at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Known throughout the European scene for her punishing kicks and spine-bending suplexes, the Portuguese-born 26-year-old brings a heavy MMA influence to her mat game. Kelly — whose vicious ring name was inspired by Portuguese fans’ chants of “Killer Kelly” early in her career — holds the distinction of being the first women’s champion in the history of Germany's Westside Xtreme Wrestling promotion.
Stay with WWE.com in the coming weeks for more Mae Young Classic competitor announcements.