LAS VEGAS – Amanda Ribas plans on making strawweight her consistent home after returning to the division with an exciting finish of Luana Pinheiro at UFC Fight Night 232, and hopes for a big fight next.
Ribas (12-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) has bounced between 115 pounds and the women’s flyweight division in recent years. However, after getting mixed results in the higher weight class, she opted to move back down for Saturday’s matchup with Pinheiro (11-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), which she won by third-round knockout after a spinning back kick to her opponent’s face.
With a 5-1 octagon record at strawweight, Ribas hopes this is the time she can make a run, and would like to prove it on the historic UFC 300 card, which is expected to take place in April.
“I want to fight at UFC 300, because I know it will be fire,” Ribas told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC Fight Night 232 post-fight news conference. “I want to fight there and I’m hoping at 115, because I’m feeling good. And I’m hoping after this win I can be in the ranking because I beat a lot of girls who is good in the ranking, too. Maybe I can fight a girl in the top five or top six.”
Ribas, 30, didn’t get off to a great start against Pinheiro, who was a former housemate during their teenage years in Brazil. She lost the first round, but then rallied to win the second, then finish the fight in the third.
According to Ribas, the early struggles were a product of fighting too emotion and not following the game plan, but once she got herself together mentally, the momentum changed.
“My dad (who is my coach) was saying to me, because we’ve been training a lot this strategy, I think the first round I was trying to just put my aggression,” Ribas said. “The second round I put my intelligence and it was to fight on the left side, to put my distance and put my game first in front of her. In the first round I didn’t do that, in the second round I put my strategy and my game first.”
The finish came when Ribas timed Pinheiro’s exit from the pocket and turned into the spinning kick, which landed clean. She swarmed her rocked opponent then got the stoppage. Afterward, she credited the entire sequence to the coaching of her father in the corner.
“It was beautiful because I’ve been training a lot, and we can’t win a fight without our team, our coaches, because they can see the fight from another angle,” Ribas said. “I listened to them and it made me to do it. You know when you play a video game? I was doing this. My dad was saying, ‘X, R1’ – and I did it.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 232.