The Brazilian strawweight made a big statement in her Octagon debut, knocking out bantamweight Talita Bernardo on four days’ notice at UFC 237 in May. Instead of going back to 115 pounds, “Vivi” decided to make flyweight her new home in the UFC.
The former Pancrase strawweight champion returns Saturday night against Alexis Davis in Edmonton, Canada, predicting to be “closer to my 100 percent” now that she weighed in at 125 pounds a day before entering the cage.
“My coaches and I made that decision because of my health,” Araujo told MMA Fighting. “I felt great fighting at bantamweight, my performance was excellent, but we decided not to stay in that division because I’m too small, the other bantamweights are way bigger [laughs], so we decided to go to flyweight and not cut too much weight and still be able to fight many times a year and have great performances during the fight.”
“Vivi” wants to build her career as a flyweight in the UFC and expects to pocket a “Fight of the Night” bonus at UFC 240. And even though Araujo says she’s in no rush to climb the rankings in the division, her flyweight debut will be against a former bantamweight title contender who is currently ranked No. 7 on UFC’s official flyweight list.
“Right now we don’t aim at the top, we just plan on doing great fights and maybe down the line we fight a girl from the top,” Araujo said. “It’s an honor for me to fight such an experienced and aggressive athlete like Alexis Davis in the UFC. I love fighting opponents that will come forward and are prepared to put on a show for the fans. It’s gonna be a great fight.”
After stopping all of her opponents at either strawweight or bantamweight, Araujo believes that a full seven-week camp got her in her best shape to thrive at UFC 240.
“We had enough time to study her and train everything for this fight,” Araujo said. “I worked on my wrestling, my ground game and my striking. Fans can expect a great fight. I’ll continue to move fast and use my speed to put on a show Saturday.”
“I hope she brings her best performance so we can engage in a war,” she added. “I’ll follow my strategy and go for the win. Alexis Davis has an excellent ground game, but so do I. I think I’ll win by second-round submission. If this fight isn’t over on the feet, it will be on the ground. We’re ready for everything.”