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Ariane Lipski’s goals for 2019: Finish Joanne Calderwood in debut, earn shot at UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko

Ariane Lipski, a former titleholder in KSW, aims to take the UFC belt from Valentina Shevchenko.
Photo by KSW

“The Queen of Violence” wants to make a statement in her UFC debut.

Ariane Lipski enters the Octagon for the first time in the company’s first-ever card on ESPN+, booked for Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, NY, against experienced Scottish fighter Joanne Calderwood, and sees it as the first step towards the UFC flyweight gold.

A former KSW flyweight champion, Lipski had to wait a little longer to make her promotional debut after her UFC Argentina clash with Maryna Moroz was cancelled due to her opponent’s injury. The Brazilian kept training hard and jumped in when offered a fight with “Jo Jo” in January.

After kicking off her camp in Brazil, training alongside fellow UFC fighter Jennifer Maia and former Glory champion Jady Menezes, Lipski flew to California to finish her training with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, and celebrated the fact that the fight is now a week earlier, since it was originally booked for UFC 233.

“I’m anxious, that good anxiety of wanting to fight, but at the same time I’m calm, enjoying every day of camp and preparation for this fight,” Lipski told MMA Fighting. “There’s a lot of media for this fight, so I’m enjoying every day of the process, visiting new places, meeting new people, and it’s being natural for me. All the hard part is going on now, and I feel that anxiety of putting everything I worked for in practice.”

To make things even more interesting, Calderwood threw some shots at Lipski in a recent interview with MMA News, saying that the Brazilian hasn’t “fought anyone” and “I’ve trained with better girls than she’s fought.”

Lipski laughed at the comments, saying it only makes her more excited for the flyweight contest, calling it “just part of the promotion.”

“(I’m excited) not only because this is my UFC debut and I want to debut with a win, she’s a striker and I’m here to prove I’m getting there to become champion,” Lipski said. “This is what this fight means to me, going there and showing the reason why I’m here. It’s not only about her, it’s about showing what my goal is inside the UFC.”

Calderwood has finished a couple of opponents under the UFC banner, stopping Valerie Letourneau by TKO and Kalindra Faria by submission. Lipski hopes she decides to stand and bang on Jan. 19, but expects “Jo Jo” to change her mind after the first punches and kicks land.

“She’s saying she wants to stay on the feet and strike from start to finish, and that’s what I want,” Lipski said. “I want to put on a stand-up show for the audience, but I believe she will change her strategy and go to the ground when we start trading.”

“My jiu-jitsu is great,” she continued. “I’m very sharp on the ground. My defensive jiu-jitsu is good, but my offensive jiu-jitsu is even better. I’m training with world champions in jiu-jitsu and we’re confident on the ground. If the fight goes to the ground, it’s highly likely that we can finish it.”

The UFC has just crowned Valentina Shevchenko the new flyweight queen in December, and Lipski, winner of nine in a row outside of the UFC, including three title bouts in KSW, expects to be two or three steps away from a shot at the 125-pound championship following a big win in her debut.

“The division is new, my opponent is ranked No. 10, so I’ll take her spot with a win — and I might move up even more with a good victory,” Lipski said. “There aren’t many options to face Valentina, so what we expect is that one or two wins, not more than three, and we might fight for the belt.

“Our goal is to fight as much as we can this year, get a good streak going, to get to the belt and win.”