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Ex-Invicta FC champ Vanessa Porto in no rush for shot at Bellator title, but won’t rule out Cris Cyborg rematch

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Vanessa Porto parted ways with Invicta FC after winning four in a row between 2017 and 2019.
Dave Mandel, Invicta FC

Vanessa Porto wants to get her feet wet in Bellator. Make no mistake about it, though: She’s in there to collect gold.

One of the most experienced women in the MMA today, the 36-year-old Brazilian racked up four straight victories in Invicta FC, becoming the flyweight champion in the process before joining the Bellator roster in 2020.

Porto admits “it was a surprise” when Scott Coker’s company reached out with an offer, especially considering Invicta FC’s tight relationship with the UFC, but is “thankful for the opportunity of being part of this promotion.”

“I’m happy,” she said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “And I’m training super hard, waiting for this fight to happen.”

Porto is hoping to make her debut in late-January or early-February, she said. Porto won’t, however, campaign for an immediate shot at newly crowned flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez, a fellow Brazilian who dethroned Ilima-Lei Macfarlane via decision in December.

“Not for now,” Porto said of a title fight. “There are people ahead of me, and I really want to get one fight in first to feel the moment and see how it’s like. New house, feel the people, feel the cage, so I think my first fight should really be a normal fight, a non-title fight.”

Porto is “anxious and hungry” to once again fight for a promotion that isn’t exclusive to women like Invicta FC, and expects bigger and brighter things in the future under the Bellator banner.

Porto has defeated a long list of popular names over the course of her 15-year professional career, including Germaine de Randamie, Roxanne Modafferi, Jennifer Maia, Tara LaRosa, Hitomi Akano and Tonya Evinger. Each fight helped build the fighter that will enter Bellator in 2021, she said.

In a way it comes full circle for Porto, also, as she once again finds herself under the same umbrella of Cris Cyborg. Porto was 3-1 in the sport when she fought Cyborg in Curitiba, Brazil, back in 2005. Cyborg, 0-1 at the time, won a decision that night.

Fifteen years later and now separated by a couple of weight classes, Porto won’t rule out bulking up 20 pounds and try to avenge that defeat to a fellow Brazilian veteran, who made a name for herself by clinching featherweight belts in the Strikeforce, Invicta FC, UFC and now Bellator.

“You never know, right?” Porto said of a potential rematch with the Bellator featherweight titleholder. “The opportunity, a good offer, you never know. But I don’t know, let it happen.”