Heading into Bellator 255 this Friday, former women’s flyweight title challenger Alejandra Lara feels she has at least one advantage over Kana Watanabe. Despite the Japanese star’s formidable ground skills. “I feel that I still have that surprise factor, because a lot of people haven’t yet seen a lot of things of my game. Specifically in my ground game.”
The 26-year old from Colombia, speaking at a virtual media day on Wednesday, added that “I feel like I’m not gonna play her game, but I’m still prepared for whatever she [brings] to me.”
Lara (9-3) rocketed to stardom upon joining Bellator in 2017. Off the strength of a single win, she earned herself a title fight against then-champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. “Azul” came up short, however, then lost her subsequent bout, a split decision against Juliana Velasquez, who would go on to defeat Macfarlane last year.
Losing to the two best fighters in the weight class is not something to be ashamed of, of course. But timing may have had a lot to do with it. “I feel I’m a completely different fighter since that fight,” said Lara when asked about the close fight with current champ Velasquez. “Every time I enter into the cage, I’m a better fighter. Right now in my career, I feel like I really know what I’m doing, because at the beginning, I wasn’t prepared in any aspect. I had that lack of experience that was so important in those first fights. But even with that, I know Bellator saw my potential.”
That’s in sharp contrast to how she feels today. “Right now, I feel very good for every challenge.”
Lara, like Jorge Masvidal before her, has taken time off to compete on reality TV show Exatlon. Something that has exposed her to a brand new fanbase. “Being in Exatlon was a big opportunity for me to improve and grow in my social media. It’s one of the biggest shows for the Hispanic public in the United States,” she noted. “And people that was following me in the show, right now are supporting me in fighting too. So that’s awesome. I feel you have to take that kind of opportunity, but my mind was always here in my career.”
Now, the focus is back on fighting, and specially on Kana Watanabe. “For this fight, I feel more mature mentally and physically, and I feel like my preparation is more focused and my body is responding really well,” said Lara. “I feel that when you’re disciplined and you do the right things, nothing can go wrong. I feel mentally strong, but physically incredible. in the best shape ever.”
Watch the full Bellator 255 virtual media day scrum with Alejandra Lara above. Bellator 255 takes place Friday, April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The card airs live on Showtime, and will be available in its entirety right here on Cageside Press.