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Ariane Lipski: UFC future could be on the line at UFC Vegas 37 but ‘I always come back stronger’ after a loss

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Ariane Lipski stepped in to replace Taila Santos against Mandy Bohm at UFC Vetas 37.
Zuffa LLC

Ariane Lipski believes her back is against the wall going into her UFC Vegas 37 clash with Mandy Bohm, scheduled for Saturday night at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

“Queen of Violence” was hyped by fans and promotion ahead of her octagon debut back in 2018, but came up short in her first UFC appearance opposite Joanne Calderwood. With a record of 2-4 in the company now, Lipski hopes to turn things around this weekend, aware that this match could determine her future in the UFC.

“I went through the same [situation] in my first UFC fights,” Lipski said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I came in with a lot of expectation, was already seen as a title contender before my first fight, and that’s exactly what I had to work on in my first year in the UFC, to not let the pressure people put over me influence me, influence my performance and my results. That’s what happened.

“I was feeling that pressure when I was going to fight Molly [McCann] in my second fight, I couldn’t let things go, and then I had two losses. Another loss and I could be out of the UFC. That’s exactly the same situation going on with me right now. I went through that pressure and won. [And I will do it] again now. Can it define my future? Yes. But I’ll always put up a fight and do what I love and be who I am regardless of the result.”

Lipski bounced from decision defeats to Calderwood and McCann with a victory over overweight late-notice replacement Isabela de Padua in Sao Paulo, ripping Luana Carolina’s knee with a violent submission eight months later in Abu Dhabi. Lipski suffered TKO defeats to Antonina Shevchenko and Montana De La Rosa since then.

“I’m going there for the victory.” Lipski said of her fight with Bohm. “I won’t leave [the octagon] without giving my all and without the win, but I can’t let a result say if I’m good or not or say who I am.”

The former KSW flyweight champion joined American Top Team earlier this year to work on her wrestling and grappling after “entering MMA as a white belt,” but “never turned down a challenge, never said ‘no’ to anyone even if they were more experienced or ranked than me.”

“My losses made me stronger. I always come back stronger,” she said. “These last two fights prepared me for something. I’ve done everything I could to evolve. We left our hometown, we moved to the United States to train at American Top Team and train with more people and get better with my wrestling for MMA. I’m sparring more and accepting the challenges. I’ve said ‘yes’ to another challenge to show how much I’ve evolved. I don’t want to carry that pressure. Everything happens so fast, and one loss won’t define who we are.”

Lipski admits she would have preferred more time in between fights to focus on her takedown defense in Florida, but “it’s hard for an athlete to say ‘no’ to a fight, we always want to fight.”

“The Antonina fight showed me this flaw,” she said of her takedown defense. “I’m a striker who started training jiu-jitsu when I began fighting MMA, so I’m not a specialist. I’m always adapting my grappling to the opponents I’m facing. I expected more of a stand-up fight when I fought Antonina since she’s a muay thai champion who always wants to stand, and she took me down. That really showed a flaw because a striker took me down and won the fight on the ground.

“Against De La Rosa was different because that’s her game. I knew the risks of that fight, but I believed I had trained enough and would be able to show what I had learned, my evolution in the wrestling department at American Top Team, but there was not enough time. Although I knew the positions and knew what I had to do, the mistakes I made in that fight were things I had trained not to make, but that’s something she’s training her entire life.

“When I thought about doing something she was already reacting. It’s about time and practice. You can’t speed up the process and that’s something I learned in the fight.”

Undefeated in eight professional bouts, Bohm, 7-0 with one no contest in MMA, makes her UFC debut after scoring four stoppages in previous promotions, split in two submissions and two knockouts. Lipski anticipates a stand-up battle at UFC Vegas 37, but feels ready to stop any takedown attempt this time around.

“More than worrying about my opponent and her strategy, I have to focus on my gameplan because it was pretty clear what I had to get better at, grappling and wrestling,” Lipski said. “When that’s good and solid I’ll be able to show my striking and everything I got in the UFC. I still haven’t showed that in the UFC. This is a good fight to show my striking because she’s more of a striker than a grappler, even if she wants to grapple with me.

“Every time I thought about a fight I mentalized the same thing. I really want my first knockout in the UFC, but I was like, ‘it’s going to be this way, it’s going to be that way.’ But it’s MMA. I just have to be prepared for everything. I’m more confident with my takedown defense and grappling now, so I can show my striking. That’s what I wanna do. I just know I’ll give my all for the win.”