Montana De La Rosa enters UFC Vegas 16 this weekend as the 15th ranked women’s flyweight in the UFC. Yet while she’s the fighter with the number next to her name, it’s opponent Taila Santos who is the favorite with the oddsmakers heading into the fight.
Not by a wide margin, mind you. Still, it’s the Brazilian who seems to have captured the attention of bettors, despite having faced mostly lower-level competition outside the UFC.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to [whether I’m the] underdog or not. I just go in there to get my hand raised,” De La Rosa said during the UFC Vegas 16 media day this week.
If anything, there might be a bit of recency bias at play when it comes to the odds. De La Rosa (11-6) is coming off a loss in September. Santos picked up a win over Molly McCann in her last fight.
It’s De La Rosa who has managed to stay more active this year, however. Which has helped heading into UFC Vegas 16. “It just feels like another day in the office. It’s nice to get back in there so soon, because I do know what to expect,” De La Rosa said this week.
The empty arena that she returns to will be a welcome sight as well. Count De La Rosa among the fighters who have enjoyed fighting without the crowd — especially given the masses don’t always appreciate her ground game.
“I liked it just because I could hear my coaches very well. I could just kind of focus in, instead of kind of listening to the crowd, because sometimes those boos get to you when you start grappling and stuff,” explained De La Rosa. “So it’s nice to just be able to hear my coaches.”
Don’t expect her to stray from what has got her this far in her MMA career, either. “I’ve been working a lot on my grappling, so I’m hoping to take it there,” the 25-year old said when asked how she expects the fight to go.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 16 media day scrum with Montana De La Rosa above. The event takes place this Saturday, December 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.