The Brazilian flyweight finally faces Grasso after two previous cancellations in 2022, a frustrating change of plans that gave her the opportunity to have a long training camp and extra time to break down every aspect of Grasso’s fighting style for their Oct. 15 clash.
“We studied her game a lot and saw that her boxing is really good and sharp,” Araujo said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca. “She’s very aggressive but also likes to follow a strategy. Her volume of strikes is the biggest danger she brings to the fight. She’s evolving on the ground, but I don’t see so much danger in her ground. She’s more dangerous on the feet, really.”
A jiu-jitsu black belt since 2015 who just earned her black belt in luta livre as well, Araujo wants to give Grasso her second submission defeat in MMA. Grasso has only lost once before via tapout, a first-round rear-naked choke finish to Tatiana Suarez in 2018. Grasso scored her most recent UFC victory with the same choke, stopping Joanne Wood.
“I really want to show my ground game in the UFC,” Araujo said. “I haven’t had that opportunity yet. I’ve shown a little bit last time against Andrea Lee, but she defended well against my attacks, my arm-triangle choke and attacks from the back.
“Everyone in the top 10 is tough so we have to be sharp, but I see the ground as an opening in her game. I worked really hard on my luta livre and wrestling because I want to take her down and finish this fight. I don’t want to leave it to the judges.”
Araujo will be ranked amongst the best flyweights in the UFC with a victory Saturday, but won’t think too much ahead just yet. Araujo sees a clash with one-time title contender Taila Santos as “probable,” or battling the winner of UFC 280’s bout between Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot. Unlike many Brazilian fighters, however, Araujo won’t necessarily call for a spot on the UFC 283 show in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 21 next.
“It really depends on this fight, but I want to brawl it out with Alexa,” she said. “It depends if I’ll have an injury after the fight. I’m not thinking too much about coming back at UFC Rio in January, I want to give my all in this fight. It’s going to be too close and I just did two camps back-to-back and I need more time for my body to recover, especially now that I’m closer to the top of the division and is a bit harder to book fights.
“But I would really love to fight at UFC  because my [UFC] debut was in Rio.”