Valerie Loureda had a lot of hype going into her pro mixed martial arts debut on Saturday night.
And boy, did she live up to her advance billing in her Bellator MMA debut.
The 20-year-old taekwondo black belt and American Top Team competitor made short work of Colby Fletcher in the main-card opener of Bellator 216. Loureda showed impressive striking skills in the flyweight matchup before finishing things off for the TKO victory at 2:55 of the opening round at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
“This is a moment I’ve been deaming of since I was little girl,” a tearful Loureda (1-0) said in her postfight interview. “My whole life I dreamed of the moment I could have the platform to show my martial arts to the world.”
Fletcher (1-3), who had not fought since 2015 and whose most noteworthy bout was a loss to current UFC flyweight competitor Montana De La Rosa, came out pushing a fast pace, but Loureda easily matched her foe’s intensity and turned up the heat.
Loureda’s striking was crisp, and slowly wore her foe down. A three-punch combo was followed by a sneaky kick to the ribs which dropped Fletcher. From there, Loureda landed about two dozen hammer fists before referee Kevin MacDonald waved the bout off.