Perfect through her first four fights in the UFC thus far, Brazil’s Amanda Ribas has become a popular figure as much for her upbeat personality as for her results in the cage.
Coming off of a submission win over Paige VanZant at UFC 251, Ribas (10-1) is poised to break through to the next level in the women’s strawweight division. While the VanZant fight came at flyweight, Ribas’ other wins were all at 115lbs. And moving up against a fighter with the name value of PVZ should garner some style points.
The fans seem to love her regardless. As does the UFC itself. Ribas has been paired up with Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257 this Saturday, and a win should leave her just outside the top five. The 27-year old currently sits at #10, while opponent Rodriguez is ranked eighth at 115lbs.
“I feel it’s a really tough fight, because she throws elbows, throws kicks, has really good striking,” Ribas told Cageside Press about the match-up during a UFC 257 virtual media day this week. “And it’ll be really good for me, because I can show my striking too, not just my [ground game].”
Ribas is predicting an amazing fight. Of course, the fight was supposed to be against Michelle Waterson, who was forced off the card back in December. A previous booking against ex-champ Carla Esparza had also fallen through. None of that has dampened Ribas’ high spirits any.
Marina Rodriguez, she said, is “not just a fighter. She’s a warrior.” Ribas knows she’ll be coming to win on Saturday as a result. “I don’t want to let her do that. I think she will go with the best Marina, and she will find the best Amanda ever. And for that reason, I think that it will be a great fight.”
The way fans have connected to Ribas’ cheerful personality is reminiscent of the connection fighters like Roxanne Modafferi have made with the fan base. And it solved something of a dilemma that Ribas had prior to joining the UFC.
“This is amazing again, this is so good, when you do your thing and people like it,” explained Ribas, admitting that she struggled with how to get across to fans in years past. “Before I did my debut in the UFC, I always talked to my dad and to my mom, [about] ‘how do I sell the fight?’ Because I can’t do trash talk, it’s not like me, I don’t do that. I don’t do, like, sexy photos. How do I sell the fight?”
“We were talking about it, and then people liked my personality,” Ribas continued. “This is so good for me, because I feel relaxed. It’s good.”
UFC 257 takes place this Saturday, January 23 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs live on PPV.