Even after repeated viewings, it’s a head kick knockout that retains its ability to take your breath away. Dana White himself called it one of the best knockouts in the history of Dana White’s Contender Series. And in addition to sealing a UFC contract for Bruna Brasil, it served as her statement of arrival.
“When we stood up from the floor in the second round, I felt a little bit of that energy,” she explains, trying to describe that feeling you get when something electric is about to happen. “I looked at her and saw that she was very beat down. I said, ‘Damn, she's worse off than me.’”
She and her opponent, the then-undefeated Marnic Mann, had engaged in a wild nine-plus minutes of back and forth before Brasil saw her chance.
“I threw the strike and it landed and I saw her falling in slow motion.
I said, ‘Wow, it's over. It's over.’
“It was the best night of my life. I couldn't believe everything that had happened. It was really fast. And it felt like a dream.”
A dream come true, certainly, but not necessarily a surprising one if you had been watching the career of the 29-year-old, who rides a seven-fight win streak into her UFC debut Saturday in Kansas City. A veteran of promotions like LFA and Shooto Brazil, the strawweight hasn’t suffered a loss since 2017.
“Basically, my life boils down to training,” she says, noting that the focus has served her well to this point. And outside of learning to speak English and clearing her head with a some video games, she has spent most of her waking hours since that head kick getting ready for Denise Gomes, whom she’ll face on the prelim card of UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Allen on April 15.
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Like Brasil, Gomes is a contract-winning graduate of DWCS. She came up short in her own UFC debut—albeit a short-notice assignment—and will be looking to jump start her own run at 115 pounds.
“I’ve known her just through the media and social media. I watched some of her fights because she was part of my old team, and we met at the Performance Institute when I fought at Contender. But I just said hello and goodbye.”
It’s not a ton of familiarity, but Brasil is confident she’s seen enough to make a prediction.
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“There's going to be a knockout or submission. I feel it will end before all three rounds, possibly in the second round.”
She says this with the same confidence and enthusiasm that she would in telling you that the sky is blue. Her answers are heartfelt, concise and reveal a sense of purpose.
“This is a year of renewing. It's a new beginning. It’s about staying focused. I want to reach great heights, so I can't lose my concentration.”
Her agent dubbed her “The Special One” as a nod to her martial arts prowess and her personality, but Brasil knew she was special long before the moniker came along.
“I’ve thought that since I was born. I've wanted to be a star since I was a kid and I've been looking for that. I think this is the best time of my life, to be living through all of this, to be in the UFC, all of this response. I think that Bruna the child would be very happy with this achievement.”
UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Allen took place live from T-Mobile Center in Kansas City on April 15, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!
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