MMA Prospect of the Month: Valesca Machado

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Valesca Machado
Valesca Machado Credit: Youtube

Age: 24-years-old
From: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height: 5’4”
Reach: ?
Weight class: Atomweight
Record: 7-2 (1 NC)
Ranked #18 among active Brazilian women according to Tapology.

Who is Valesca Machado?

Born on May 6, 1995 the 25-year-old Machado has competed in a few other combat sports. The Brazilian is 2-0 in boxing and 5-3 in kickboxing. Machado made her MMA debut not too long ago, in 2016. She won that fight, only to see it turned to a No Contest due to the fact Machado missed weight. After winning her next two bouts, she suffered her first defeat, then a second one right after. She bounced back in a big way in May of 2018 beating Julia Polastri who now is a top prospect out of Brazil. Now, Machado is on a five-fight win streak and her latest win for Future FC was a big finish of Maria Ribeiro.

Striking

Machado is a striker-first type of fighter. She’s more of a brawler, as she plants her feet and throws wide looping right and left hooks. Not just a brawler though — she is technical and shows that the more as she gets loose in the fight. Machado throws that jab and will at times throw hooks to the body. Even off her back foot, Machado is a solid striker. She will take damage to give some as she is usually likely to have the better chin and hits harder. On the feet, Machado is always throwing volume and staying active especially with her hands. Grade: B-

Kickboxing

Machado employs her kicks frequently. She actively attacks the lead leg of her opponent, going to the inside and outside mixing it up. The Brazilian will also throw the teep kick right down the middle to maintain distance. She’s just very grounded with her kickboxing just chopping away at her opponent’s legs. It would be nice if she would import it into her combinations more but it’s a weapon she still uses well. Grade: B-

Clinch

Machado is a good fighter in the clinch. She has solid dirty boxing in close and throws good elbows. Where she really shines at is in the Muay Thai plum firing knees to the body and the head. Machado is always one step ahead in the clinch knowing her way around with position and control. She’s really everything you ask for in a clinch fighter. Grade: A-

Movement

In terms of movement, Machado is really nothing special and it is an area she could improve on. Machado will circle more than she will move laterally. In recent fights, she is getting better at sticking and moving as opposed to standing and banging — but is still planting her feet more often than not. Grade: C-

Wrestling

Machado isn’t a wrestler and you will hardly ever see her shoot for a takedown. In the clinch, where she is such a good Muay Thai fighter, is where she gets takedowns utilizing the body lock and trips. Most of the time when she gets into top position it’s from her opponents initiating the takedown. It’s her defensive wrestling that is in fact her best wrestling attribute. Grade: C-

Ground game

Somewhere Valesca Machado doesn’t produce a lot of offense is on the ground. Little to no ground and pound and zero wins by way of submission. Grade: D

Cardio

Machado has gone the distance more times than not. She has gone all three full rounds four times (technically five including the No Contest) and has a third-round finish as well. Machado fights at a high pace so it’s expected that she slows in the later rounds, and she does. Her hand speed does wear but her output is still always present, always throwing looking for the finish. You will see in her last fight against Maria Ribeiro that she was very tired in round three but still pressed forward and found the finish. Grade: C+

Defense

With takedown defense Machado’s defense is solid. Compared to her takedown defense in her past fights it’s night and day different opposed to how it is now. She fights hands well against the cage when her opponent drops level on a leg. Machado has good balance and excellent hips avoiding the takedown at all costs. Her striking defense though does need work and that’s just because of how willing she is to sit in the pocket. More often than not she’s willing to receive punishment to give some. I don’t believe she’s ever been dropped but she still takes too much damage. Machado just has an issue leaving her head on the centerline while throwing. Grade: B-

Fighter comparison: Angela Hill

Overall thoughts: I first stumbled upon Machado earlier last year and was impressed with her. With her Muay Thai, striking, output, and power I think she has a lot of potential. She’s only 25-years-old so she still has a lot of room for growth. With all that said, you can only go so far being one-dimensional. If she developed a ground game or just worked on it a little bit she would be that much better. Overall she’s a good talent and one of the better atomweight prospects out there. Machado is signed with Invicta now so as soon as the world gets back to normal we will see how good she is.

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