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Ariane Lipski sparred with former opponent Joanne Calderwood to seek evolution ahead of UFC Sao Paulo

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Brooklyn-Calderwood vs Lipski
Ariane Lipski fought to a decision with Joanne Calderwood in her UFC debut.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

SAO PAULO — There was a lot of hype surrounding Ariane Lipski when the UFC signed her. But she didn’t performed like she did in her days as the KSW flyweight queen.

With her back against the wall following decision losses to Joanne Calderwood and Molly McCann, “The Violence Queen” decided to spend a few weeks in Las Vegas and train with Calderwood, one fighter that was able to solve her puzzle.

“My coach and I went to Las Vegas after my fight (with McCann) and spend some time doing tests at the UFC Performance Institute and training with ‘Jojo’ at Syndicate MMA,” Lipski told MMA Fighting before her fight with last-minute replacement Isabella de Padua, who stepped in for Veronica Macedo hours before the UFC Sao Paulo weigh-ins on Friday morning. “She invited me to train with her and Roxanne (Modafferi) a while ago, but I couldn’t go. This time we made it.

“It was great, because Renato (Rasta, her head coach) was there, and he could see many flaws in sparring sessions, (and) the mistakes I was also making in the fights. So I can evolve and be ready to fight better.”

Calderwood, who defeated Lipski via unanimous decision at UFC Brooklyn in January, lost to Katlyn Chookagian in her following bout, but then bounced back with a win over Andrea Lee in September.

“We’re not close in the rankings,” Lipski said. “I’m coming off two losses, and she’s in the top-five, so it’s not like we’re fighting each other again any time soon. We’re both strikers, and she doesn’t have many strikers to train with, so I was happy that she invited me to train with her.

“‘Jojo’ is very professional, and so is everyone in her team, so there was no rivalry when I got there. But, at the same time, we were both pushing really hard in training. We fought once, but our games have changed a lot since then. We were showing each other things we had to fix in our games, and we came back completely different fighters the next day.

“You go there thinking you’ll know how it’s going to be because you fought her before, but it’s a whole other game. That’s why I think it’s great that athletes train together sometimes because they won’t be the same athletes if they have to fight down the line.”

Down 0-2 under the UFC banner, Lipski was originally booked against Priscila Cachoeira in Sao Paulo. Cachoeira is 0-3 in the UFC, and it felt like it was a loser-leaves-town matchup. But then Macedo replaced “Pedrita,” who finished Polyana Viana at UFC Uruguay. On Friday morning, de Padua was signed by the UFC as the replacement.

Lipski doesn’t feel any added pressure for the victory.

“We never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “(Viviane Pereira) ‘Sucuri’ was 2-2 in the UFC, and they didn’t re-sign her. I’ll have one more fight in my contract after this one, but that doesn’t mean that they will re-sign me, win or lose. We never know how that works with the UFC. I’m really cool about it because I know what I want, I know I’m ready for this fight, but I have my name. I’m not worried about it because I know I won’t lose.

“The UFC hired me because of my name and the fanbase I have, so it won’t be this fight that defines my career.”

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