Back to the flyweight division for the first time since July 2020, when she forced Paige VanZant to tap in less than three minutes in Abu Dhabi, Amanda Ribas foresees another perfect night inside the octagon Saturday, when she faces Katlyn Chookagian at UFC Vegas 54.
Ribas was expected to meet Michelle Waterson in a strawweight contest in March, but was left without a dance partner after “The Karate Hottie” was sidelined with health issues. Ribas admits she was “upset,” especially since the top of the 115-pound class was already busy.
Presented with a chance to face No. 1 ranked flyweight next, an “excited” Ribas vows to make the most of it.
“No one’s ever imagined me fighting her,” Ribas said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “If the win comes, and I’m ready for it, I think I can ask to go for the belt. I’ll ask for it. It’s such a big opportunity and I can surprise a lot of people.”
Ribas weighed almost 136,6 pounds when she got the call to face Chookagian, and added a few pounds to kick off her training camp. The Varginha-native plans on entering the octagon at 141 pounds Saturday, not gaining more than usual to make sure she’s “strong and fast.”
Getting past Chookagian is no easy task, though. “Blonde Fighter” won three straight since losing to former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, collection decisions against Cynthia Calvillo, Viviane Araujo and Jennifer Maia. Another Brazilian will stand across the cage Saturday, and she’s “alert” at the danger she presents.
“I have to be very smart because she will try to use her reach,” said Ribas, who won a decision over Virna Jandiroba in her most recent bout. “She’s taller than me, so I have to be lighter and stronger and find the distance. If I allow her to use her reach and do her game, which is a bit boring, getting in and out and scoring points, it will be good for her. But I won’t let that happen.”
“I’m ready to find my timing in there and not let her enjoy the fight,” she continued. “I have three rounds to fight calm and do my thing, [but] I want to end it in the first round. A beautiful submission, one that is worth a bonus.”