Zoila Frausto is two wins away from the Bellator 115-pound belt and probably wouldn't be in her current position had it not been for a loss to Miesha Tate.
"I can't win every fight on just standing alone," Frausto recently told MMAFighting.com. "I had no ground game, no wrestling up until [the Tate] fight. I was to the point where I thought if they can't take me down, then why even work on the ground, but it was the wrong mindset. She kind of pretty much just put me in my place, and I've become an all-around fighter and I'm happy with it."
Frausto lost to Tate by armbar submission at Strikeforce Challengers 7 in March and both have moved forward to find success through the popular tournament format. Tate recently won a single-night, four-woman 135-pound Strikeforce tournament and a title shot awaits her once a winner is determined in the Sarah Kaufman vs. Marloes Coenen fight in October.
"I'm happy for her," Frausto said. "It's the only loss I have on my record and the only loss I plan on having and she was a great opponent to that that from me. It taught me a lot and things happen for a reason."
Meanwhile, Frausto advanced in the Bellator 115-pound tournament last week when she defeated Jessica Pene by unanimous decision at Bellator 25. In the fight, she displayed solid takedown defense and an aggressive clinch game. Despite the win, Frausto, who fought Tate at 135 pounds, says she still needs to adjust to the weight cut.
"I didn't perform as well as I wanted to," she said. "The weight thing was a little bit different this time around. My first time at 115, so it was a little difficult, but as long as I can keep staying down and stay on my nutrition then this next round, I'm positive I will be a lot better."
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney alerted the media at the post-fight conference that Frausto was taken to the hospital following the fight and her spot in the tournament could be in jeopardy. Luckily, Rebney did not have to explore that option and Frausto says to avoid further complications with her foot, may just have to learn to avoid kicking her opponent's knee.
"I got [to the hospital], I was almost positive it wasn't broken, but they wanted to double-check because I couldn't even really walk on it," Frausto recalled. "But as soon as I got there, they x-rayed it and said I'm fine, and to just stay off of it. I'm good. I'll be good to go."
Frausto secured the tournament spot with a beautiful knockout (video above) over Rosi Sexton in June. With the win last week over Pene, Frausto will next face American Top Team fighter Jessica Aguilar in the semifinals.
"I saw part of [the Aguilar vs. Lynn Alvarez] fight but it looked like there really wasn't anything that I couldn't have handled," Frausto said. "I go into every fight prepared and I'm going to go into that fight. I'm going to go into that fight as prepared as I possibly can and I want that belt. I want to fight in that final. If I have to get through her to get it, then that's what I'm going to do."