Before Brazil went on lockdown due to COVID-19, Manaus, Amazonas had held their first all-women MMA fight card in March, as Larissa Moura Rodrigues (3-1) earned her first career belt at Skull Champions Girls.
“Winning the belt was an important accomplishment for me. It’s something that I will keep forever. This all-female card was very important,” Moura said, “because there is the issue of valuing female athletes. They are good athletes and young girls chasing a dream, chasing a goal.”
“It’s beautiful to see women standing out more and more in a very masculine sport like MMA. I think we still have a certain prejudice, we still have a certain barrier, but we are overcoming all of that.”
Moura noticed that by earning her first belt has opened up many opportunities for her, she added. Then, the pandemic put her opportunities on hold.
The Brazilian bantamweight quarantine for three months in Manaus without leaving her home, and couldn’t train for a month due to a neck injury.
On June 29, local gyms in the Amazonas opened and Moura’s gym, Cosme Júnior Team, restarted their training sessions.
“I trained at home before getting injured– shadow training, metabolic training and running at 4 a.m. to avoid contact with other people, Moura said. “I also managed a balanced diet. It was difficult, we were anticipating if events were going to happen this year.”
Brazilian MMA promotions are resuming to host events again. Shooto Brasil announced last week that they will host a fight card on July 26 in Rio de Janeiro.
Promoters are reaching out to Moura. However, there’s uncertainty when events will start up again in Manaus.
“We are waiting, and I think that by the end of July we’ll have a scheduled fight. We already had a meeting with the team about the dates,” Moura said. “It’s just a matter of waiting for the confirmation of the events. I hope to do one or two fights this year.”
Cosme Júnior Team’s former student Ketlen Vieira, and now UFC bantamweight, stopped by once and trained with Moura. It became a memorable training session for the rising prospect.
“Ketlen is a wonderful person, super technical and a person who I admire a lot. She used to train here, and now she fights in the UFC,” Moura said. “This is one of the reasons why I believe in my goals, that I’ll also be able to be in the UFC and compete at big events one day. I’m training a lot and dedicating myself to it.”
The pandemic paused the career of many rising prospects, but promotions are slowly operating again in Brazil. Moura awaits for her next bout, as matchmakers are scrambling to schedule their upcoming events.