The Brazilian standout will enter the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix in a semifinal matchup against Stamp Fairtex on Friday, 29 October.
Mezabarba earned this huge opportunity by defeating Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi in a Grand Prix alternate bout this past September.
The 28-year-old dominated the two-time ONE World Title challenger for three rounds at the promotion’s first all-female card, ONE: EMPOWER. And with Ham Seo Hee having to pull out due to injury, the Brazilian is ready to make the most of the massive opportunity ahead of her.
“It makes no difference [if I am the underdog]. It just motivates me to show people they are wrong,” Mezabarba says.
“I’m happy [to enter the tournament], and I’m training a lot. I didn’t get hurt against Mei. And now, I’m ready to reach the Grand Prix final.
“Once again, I will prove that I deserve to be there. I won the [alternate] fight, so I deserved the spot.”
Mezabarba’s stunning debut signaled her intent in The Home of Martial Arts. The way she handled the Japanese veteran was a shock to the global fan base, and she has been buoyed by the response to her win.
Though she has always believed in herself, the RD Champions product got to show the world what she was capable of in her first promotional appearance.
“I’m in this sport to fight the best. Mei was the best test for me. It was tough, but I was very well trained, and I got great feedback with the victory. It was perfect,” she recalls.
“A lot of people posted on social media saying I kicked [butt] because I was the underdog, and I beat her, for real. I came from many victories in a row, and a lot of people said that I was looking for affirmation.
“Fighting and beating Mei proved that I’m in ONE to shine. It wasn’t by chance and it wasn’t luck, and I’m working to prove it.”
That said, former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Stamp is another big challenge for Mezabarba.
- 5 Reasons Why Roman Kryklia Is Among The Baddest Men On The Planet
- Stamp Reacts To New Grand Prix Opponent, Predicts Hirata vs. Phogat
- 5 Epic Knockouts From The Stars Of ONE: NEXTGEN
The Thai star got redemption for her only mixed martial arts defeat when she overcame Alyona Rassohyna on the same bill at ONE: EMPOWER. But Mezabarba is not fazed by another tough opponent.
She relishes the chance to face a stand-up specialist inside the Circle and thinks their styles will lead to an explosive matchup.
“We’re both strikers, so the fight will be toe-to-toe, for sure. I think the fight will not be decided by decision. It will definitely be an aggressive and bloody fight,” Mezabarba says.
And though she holds the Fairtex athlete in high regard, the Brazilian believes she has a set of skills that will help her to overcome the former two-sport queen.
“I think her Muay Thai style is not good for MMA. For traditional Muay Thai, she is awesome. For MMA, she is too slow,” the Rio de Janeiro native adds.
“Being quicker is one of my advantages, and I train a lot of kickboxing, so my footwork is way better.”
Mezabarba knows that she can’t write off the Thai star’s grappling ability.
Stamp has made impressive progress on the ground, but the Brazilian believes that she is a threat to her Asian rival in every range.
The South American has trained extensively in her native art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and plans to put Stamp under pressure, whether they’re in the stand-up, clinch, or on the mat.
“I think Stamp has evolved a lot in BJJ too, so it will be a tough fight wherever it goes,” Mezabarba says.
“I don’t train only kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, or luta livre. I train all of them together – I train MMA, so I’m a complete fighter. Stamp will be in trouble wherever the fight goes.”
Stamp is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the atomweight division, but Mezabarba has already shown that name value does not automatically equate to victory.
Just like she did with Yamaguchi, the Brazilian wants to topple a leading figure and move closer toward her dreams of World Championship gold.
This time, her goal is to do it even more emphatically – but the win is the most important factor.
“I can’t wait to beat Stamp. If she is the golden girl, my victory will be bigger,” Mezabarba says. “I want to knock her out, but a victory is a victory.”
Read more: How To Watch ONE: NEXTGEN Live On 29 October