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Viviane Araujo plans to dedicate UFC Vegas 9 victory to grandmother

Viviane Araujo looks to get back on track after her first UFC loss to Jessica Eye in December.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Viviane Araujo only experienced light symptoms from COVID-19 after a positive test forced her to withdraw from a planned UFC bout with Jennifer Maia in August, but the pandemic hit her family hard.

Araujo was training in Brasilia, Brazil, for the flyweight showdown in Las Vegas when she got a call from a family member informing that her 79-year-old grandmother Lucia, who was battling Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), died after being infected by the coronavirus.

“She had Chagas disease and it got worse, and it was a very sad moment for us,” Araujo said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “The whole family felt it. I had COVID right after as well, so it was a very difficult moment, but I’m OK now. Our family is strong. This disease is sad, it’s devastating many families.”

Araujo was still planning on going ahead and fighting Maia despite the death of her grandmother, but tested positive for COVID-19 two days later.

“I consider myself a very privileged person because I only had the lightest symptoms of the disease,” Araujo said, “So I took those 14 days off with a cold and a light headache. I came back to training as soon as my doctor cleared me, and I’m feeling 100 percent now. I’m super ready and crazy to brawl again.”

Now booked to face Montana De La Rosa at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas, thousands of miles away from her hometown Brasilia, Araujo plans a form of tribute to her late grandmother.

“This victory will be for her, for all the history we had, and for the whole family that had to go through this difficult moment,” Araujo said. “I’ll dedicate it to her.”

De La Rosa last fought in February, defeating Mara Romero Borella via decision in Rio Rancho, while Araujo looks to get back on track after her first UFC loss to Jessica Eye in December.

“It’s going to be a very interesting fight,” Araujo said. “Montana likes to grapple, but my coaches and I studied her game really well. We have the best strategy to work with my boxing, which is very sharp, and keep the distance to frustrate her. If she wants to grapple, my wrestling and ground game are sharp, too.

“It’s going to be an exciting fight. I won’t let her get close and make it a boring fight.”

Araujo hopes to earn a spot in the top 5 of the flyweight division victory a big victory Saturday, especially after watching Jennifer Maia defeat her replacement Joanne Calderwood and be named the next in line for 125-pound queen Valentina Shevchenko.

To make sure that happens, “Vivi” wants to secure another victory under the bright lights of the UFC on Saturday.

“We saw a lot of holes in her stand-up game, and many holes in her ground game as well,” Araujo said. “I’ve adjusted my ground game with my coach and we’re sharp everywhere. The opportunity she gives me, I’ll catch her. It’s going to be a bad night for her. We’re ready for everything she brings to the fight.”

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