Brazilian strawweight Karen “fênix” Thalita (2-1) makes her Shooto Brasil debut, as she meets Valesca “Tina Black” Machado (7-2), tonight at Shooto Brasil: Solidarity.
Machado will fight in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, Thalita comes looks to seize this opportunity, coming from the countryside of Selvíria.
“Shooto Brasil is a door that will give me a lot of visibility. I am from the countryside and the chances of standing out are few, so for me, this is a tremendous opportunity. I’ve been studying a little Tina Black, since she’s more experience and everything. I know that if I win it will be of great significance.”
Thalita played various sports growing up in Selvíria. Yet, sports programs in her hometown aren’t as developed as Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.
“Imagine what it is like for an athlete from the countryside, without the conditions to maintain a sport. Apart from that, everyone knows you and everyone cheers for you,” Thalita said. “In the context of the struggle, my city gives me the greatest support.”
Events are far away from the countryside, and traveling fare can get expensive. The Brazilian strawweight doesn’t have many opportunities in Selvíria, she added.
“Selviria is a great city that’s growing a lot. I carry the name of Selvíria in all my fights. I have so much love for my city,” she said. “But I know that at some point I will have to search for something closer.”
Thalita comes off a loss to Andréia Serafim at SFT 19, after winning her first two pro bouts. Meanwhile, Machado defeated Maria Ribeiro via third-round knockout last June at Future FC 6. “Tina Black” is on a five-fight winning streak.
Shooto Brasil: Solidarity begins tonight at 7 p.m. ET. held at the Upper Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Canal Combate will broadcast the fight card.