Bellator 243: Valerie Loureda Thought About Punching Graff “Every Single Day of Quarantine”

    Bellator prospect Valerie Loureda is a star on Instagram, and is quickly becoming a star in the cage as well. On Friday at Bellator 243, after over a year away, the flyweight knocked out opponent Tara Graff in the second round.

    Then did a little dance post-fight.

    The fight became more than a little personal after Graff called the 22-year-old’s social media presence “trashy” (among other things) ahead of the fight. Speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets post-fight, Loureda explained how it was a rare instance that tried her professionalism.

    “Of course [Graff’s comments] made it personal. I just didn’t answer her, I didn’t lower myself to her. I waited til the chance I got the fight, when I was healthy, and shut her mouth,” Loureda (3-0) exclaimed backstage at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

    It was a bit of vengeance a long time in the making. “Let me tell you something. This girl, every single day of quarantine I thought about her face. The moment I get to punch her, extremely necessary like Jorge [Masvidal] would tell me. I don’t stop for anything, I don’t care if there’s five seconds left or if there’s one second left,” she added. “I hit her 15 million times so she can’t get up.”

    Loureda most certainly did deliver a number of follow-up strikes after the initial knockout blow, that came in the dying seconds of the pair’s preliminary card fight. It’s the rare time, however, that she has struggled to maintain composure with an opponent, despite competing in martial arts for most of her life.

    “I’m a master of Taekwondo. I’ve always been professional,” she said. But Graff was the exception. “I can’t be professional to that girl, when you’re telling me I’m being demoralizing to this sport. Well you know what, look at all the girls who look like me, who dance, who want to defend themselves, who are now going to be in MMA because I’m an inspiration to them and they’re not scared. That’s what I stand for, not what she is.”

    Following Bellator 243 Loureda also gave credit to her sister, who was with her throughout fight week. “My sister and I have been training partners since we were three years old, under my father. I would coach her in tournaments, she would coach me. My sister knows me better than anyone else,” she stated. “She’s an amazing training partner, and just having my sister with me made this experience what it is. I’m just so blessed to have her.”

    And yes, she’s still going to post Tik Toks.

    Watch the full Bellator 243 post-fight press conference with Valerie Loureda above.