Poliana Botelho was victorious in her Octagon debut. This time, she wants to leave an impression.
Botelho fought for the first time under the UFC banner back in October, defeating Pearl Gonzalez via unanimous decision at UFC 216, but it wasn’t the most exciting contest. Now set to return on May 19 against undefeated Syuri Kondo at UFC Chile, Botelho expects an action-packed fight.
”I hope Kondo trades with me,” Botelho told MMA Fighting. “Most strikers I face don’t want to trade with me, but let’s hope she does, and we can put on a beautiful fight. I think we can put on a show in this one.”
Botelho was fighting for the first time in most than two years when she took on Gonzalez and admitted that ring rust played a role in her performance. But this time around, Botelho stayed active outside the cage, competing in wrestling and jiu-jitsu tournaments in Brazil to evolve as a mixed martial artist.
”I wanted to stand and fight with Pearl but she wanted to work on the fence, but even there she wasn’t able to take me down,” Botelho said. “I focused a lot on takedown defense, so I was feeling comfortable and confident there. I think I wasn’t able to impose my game better because I was off for two years, injuries and all that, but this time, God willing, I will be able to impose my game and the fight will be just like I’m working.
”Competing in wrestling gives me confidence to get the takedowns if I need to,” she continued. “I’m a complete fighter today. If I have to go to the ground, work against the cage, or stand, I can do that. I’ve been fixing the holes in my game every day, becoming a better and more complete fighter.”
A former champion in Pancrase, Kondo puts her perfect 6-0 record on the line against the 6-1 Nova Uniao fighter.
In no rush to climb the rankings in the UFC, Botelho hopes for a brawl in Santiago, Chile.
”I don’t know if I will be ranked after this fight because Kondo also only has one win in the UFC, so I’m not sure she’s a ticket to the ranking,” Botelho said. “I hope I can put on a great performance to show them that I’m ready to fight a ranked opponent after this. Like I always say, I will be ready to fight anyone the UFC wants, ready for any situation.
”I think it’s a great opponent, undefeated,” she continued. “She moves forward all the time and comes to brawl, has good low kicks and works well close to the fence. She’s pretty well-rounded, and I hope she accepts to brawl with me.”