More than a year away from the cage has done nothing to diminish
’s ambition. In her case, absence certainly made the heart
grow fonder.

Gatto, who still views herself as a key player in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
women’s flyweight division, will
make her long-awaited return to the Octagon when she meets former

champion Ariane
in a featured
UFC on ESPN 48
attraction this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las
Vegas. Shoulder surgery cost the Brazilian valuable time in the gym
and untold earning inside the cage. Gatto has not fought since she
lost a unanimous decision to Tracy
at UFC 274 in May.

“I had already been feeling shoulder pains, and I fought her
anyway,” she said. “After that, I went back to training. I accepted
a new booking, but I couldn’t train properly. I felt a lot of pain,
and my shoulder kept getting worse. I decided to pull out and get

Now, her road back to relevance begins.

“The worst thing that can happen is a long period without a fight,”
Gatto said. “It was a difficult period to be idle after surgery,
but I always try to have a positive attitude and do whatever I can
in the gym. If I can’t punch, I’ll kick instead—and so on. The main
thing is to remain focused and keep my ultimate goal in mind.”

Lipski does not figure to provide anything resembling a soft
landing. The “Queen of Violence” owns a mediocre 4-5 record across
nine appearances in the UFC but finds herself in possession of some
welcomed momentum after a three-round unanimous decision over
at UFC Fight Night 221 on March 11.

“She’s coming off a very important win,” Gatto said. “She fought
very well against Aldrich. We’ve been studying her fights. Without
a doubt, her win over J.J. was a great restart in her career after
a few losses in the UFC. We’re expecting her to show up at her
best. She has a very sharp muay thai game. Her striking is her best
attribute, for sure. I can’t avoid feeling the pressure of coming
off a loss, but I’m looking forward to showcasing my work. I plan
to give everything I have. A good performance and a win will be the
consequences of that.”

In advance of her high-stakes showdown with Lipski, Gatto once
again set up shop at MSP—an all-female camp in Rio de Janeiro
fronted by coaches Rafael Vinicius and Eduardo

“I worked with several girls who can emulate Lipski’s aggressive
game,” she said. “I believe that my standup is even sharper for
this bout without ever neglecting my ground game.”

Emotions run understandably deep for Gatto as the fight approaches.
A total of 420 days will have passed since she last competed.

“I’m very happy to be returning after over a year away,” Gatto
said. “I’m coming off a loss and a surgery, so now I’m seeking
redemption. I want to show my work and get another win. I’m coming
back like a phoenix from the ashes.”

Source link

‘Like a Phoenix from the Ashes’