BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Poliana Botelho is one day from attempting to spoil the long-awaited comeback of Cynthia Calvillo in the only female fight of a 12-bout card in at UFC Fight Night 140, the promotion’s first event in Argentina, just south of her native Brazil.
All the attention on this fight will go to Calvillo, who missed weight Friday after coming off a nine-month suspension for marijuana use. But Botelho enjoyed a similar rest period and feels ready for her opponent.
“I believe this doesn’t make any difference,” Botelho said during media day. “I had a long layoff of about seven months myself, so it is not a big deal. I know she was inactive, but I don’t think this will be a factor.”
Factors, however, are aplenty for Calvillo, who stormed onto the UFC scene a couple of years ago and amassed an impressive winning streak before her forced time off. Botelho believes she knows them all.
“She is a very complete fighter. She had about four fights in the UFC already, so she’s coming up very fast, and she’s very promising,” Botelho said. “But I am very well prepared for whatever happens in this fight, and you’re going to see a Poliana that no one has ever seen before. I am going to show her something that she has never seen.”
When pressed for details, Botelho refuses to indulge in specifics and remains committed to the use of the third person in her colorful comments.
“I am accomplishing things that I hadn’t been able to accomplish before, and I am going to feel more loose in the octagon,” Botelho said. “I had a few things that were stuck in me, and I have to release them in the octagon. I believe that, in this fight, I will be able to showcase all of this and show the whole world why Poliana is worthy of the UFC.”
And she is right, in ways both known and not known to her. When asked about her role as a trailblazer on this FS1-televised card, being the very first female UFC fighter to climb into the cage on Saturday night and opening a whole new chapter in the history of the sport in this country rich in female boxing champions, the whole thing dawns on her. She cannot help but feel the emotion of the moment.
“I didn’t know that. I am realizing that right now!” Botelho said as she rolled up her sleeve to reveal the goosebumps suddenly on her forearms and smiling broadly. “I am happy to learn this, and I am happy to be the first woman to be on the first UFC event ever (in Argentina). I know there was another fight planned that fell through, but I am very happy to hear this from you right now.”
The potential inspiration that her performance could bring for the many young women who feel disenfranchised by all other major is palpable in Botelho, and she suddenly seems to feel that another major achievement in her career is within reach. All she needs to do now is bridge that impossible gap between Argentinian and Brazilian sports fans, forever confronted by their lifelong rivalry.
Botelho feels she is up to the task, and she hopes to bring the two countries together in one love for MMA.
“I have a lot of fans in Argentina, and I believe the fans will be on our side and will cheer on Brazil,” Botelho said. “I believe our rivalry is limited to soccer, and in the UFC they like us a lot. For this I believe they will be on my side on Saturday night.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Brazil's Poliana Botelho expects to feel love from UFC Argentina crowd during Cynthia Calvillo fight