Two fighters already have wins ahead of UFC Vegas 20: Ashley Yoder and Angela Hill. In a fight added to Saturday night’s card just last weekend, both fighters made weight at the scales Friday.
That’s a win for the strawweight pair any way you look at it. Now, Yoder (8-6) will turn her focus to the fight itself, a rematch with Hill that saw “Overkill” get the better of her back in 2017.
To ensure history doesn’t repeat itself, Yoder has incorporated some rather outside-the-box training. Underwater training, to be exact. Bellator champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and former UFC fighter/current Bellator star Liz Carmouche introduced Yoder to the concept, working with California’s Deep End Fitness.
Yoder has utilized the technique before, although the pandemic and pool closures have made it difficult to stay consistent of late. Still, Yoder tries to partake when possible, as she has ahead of the Hill fight.
To see it, underwater training looks… a bit scary. That’s perhaps part of the benefit, Yoder explained during the UFC Vegas 20 virtual media day this week. “It’s definitely a challenge on the cardio side, but for me it’s always been a mental thing,” explained Yoder. “Staying calm in crazy situations. The first thing anyone wants to do when things get hectic is freak out. And [underwater training is] the biggest and best way to keep yourself calm.”
It certainly seems to compliment traditional training. “You’re doing bobs with someone trying to grapple you underwater, you’re trying to do escapes from people trying to grapple you underwater,” Yoder noted. That, “after you just did sprints.”
Moving into the rematch with Angela Hill, Yoder sees the fight as benchmark test, to see how far she was evolved over the past four-or-so years.
“I love getting in there and competing. I love to see my growth. I love to see, after four years, what has changed, what has stayed the same,” said Yoder. “It’s just a really good benchmark for where I’m at in my career, what I need to work on, things I do well, and just overall seeing my experience in the octagon.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 (UFC Fight Night 186) virtual media day scrum with Ashley Yoder above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.