Multi-time jiu-jitsu world champion Talita Alencar has spent the last two years making the transition to the world of mixed martial arts as she prepares for her pro debut this weekend.
Alencar faces Staci Vega in a strawweight bout on the main card of Titan FC 70. The event takes place this Friday at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami and streams on UFC Fight Pass.
An American Combat Gym standout under the tutelage of UFC veteran Charles McCarthy, Alencar is now ready to show the world what she’s made of inside the cage.
“I think if you watched my jiu-jitsu fights, you can see that I have a very aggressive style that transitions perfect to MMA,” Alencar told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “People used to watch me and ask, ‘Why don’t you do MMA,’ and I never really felt comfortable doing it knowing it was such a big step. I told myself if one day I decide to do MMA, it would be when I have a great team [behind me] and it was perfect because I met Charles McCarthy and he introduced me to the MMA world.
“It was the perfect fit for me and I have the best team, they support me, and that’s why I decided to make my pro debut. I made the move to [prepare for] MMA almost two years ago.”
Working with coaches and fighters like McCarthy, as well as UFC featherweight Charles Rosa, has boosted Alencar’s confidence to new levels. Although it took a bit of seasoning, the IBJJF world champion feels comfortable across the MMA spectrum.
“It was a big change,” Alencar said. “It was a bit overwhelming but now it makes more sense. Knowing my style, everyone’s gonna be expecting me to do only jiu-jitsu and wrestle but I’m ready to box and kickbox as well. I’ve actually been doing great with my kickboxing range and I’m just getting better every day, day by day. I look forward to be in the cage. It’s the same feeling when I step on [the mat] for the finals of a world title [tournament].”
Admittedly, the most difficult part of her transition was experiencing what it was like to get punched in the face. When it first happened, not only did it not bother her, it enhanced her already aggressive combat side.
Add the fact that she can now inflict physical harm with her striking, Alencar hopes she’ll be able to quench her thirst for violence on Friday night.
“When you’re a fighter, you get paid to hurt people,” Alencar stated. “There are fighters who are humble like that, but I’m not. I’m gonna step in the cage to f*ck somebody up. The feeling of f*cking somebody up is amazing.
“So I’m really excited to get punched, to be able to defend, but also be able to throw my punches because I know they’re going to land and it’s going to be an amazing feeling. I know I can finish the fight as fast as I can.”
Alencar will face Vega, a Wyoming-based fighter looking for her first pro win in three attempts. The 33-year-old made her amateur debut in 2009 in a loss to one-time UFC title challenger Raquel Pennington. Most recently, Vega fought to a draw at a Sparta Combat League event in November 2019.
While there isn’t a lot of footage of Vega out there, Alencar has seen all she’s needed to in order to feel that she’ll have the upper hand in her pro debut.
“The first thing I did when she accepted the fight and signed the contract is study her,” Alencar explained. “The last fight that I watched from her was six years ago, but that doesn’t really matter for me. I believe she [turned her YouTube] private so we could not study her [more recent fights]. I just need to know what I’m gonna do and focus on my game, but be aware of her good spots. She’s more experienced in MMA and I saw she likes to play guard, so if she wants to do that, or boxing and kickboxing, I’m gonna be there and pressure her.
“If she goes to the ground, my pressure is excellent, my ground-and-pound is excellent so I’m ready for each situation that could happen.”
As far as a prediction for the fight goes, Alencar doesn’t expect Vega to make it out of the second round. Ideally, the fast track is exactly what Alencar is hoping for as she expects to make her walk to the UFC’s octagon sooner rather than later.
“I’m 30, I have an excellent background and I think I need two years to get what I need [experience wise],” Alencar said. “My main focus is the UFC. Because of my background, I don’t want to waste time bouncing around and I’m very focused on doing what I want, and what my team is expecting from me. I have a team of seven or eight people helping me [in all facets of MMA], working with world champions and high level guys to fix things up.
“I definitely know that my focus will be three or four fights then get to the UFC.”