All the hype surrounding Bellator 216 is about Michael Page vs Paul Daley, and rightfully so. However, another name getting attention is Valerie Loureda, who is set to make her Bellator debut against Colby Fletcher.
Loureda, who is just 20-years-old comes from a Taekwondo background and was a big signing for Bellator when it was announced. For Loureda, it was an easy decision to sign with Bellator and continue her MMA journey there.
“From the moment Bellator reached out, and how professional they were, something drew me towards them,” Loureda said to BJPENN.com. “I’ve always been a perfectionist with my name and my brand and I just knew this was the right way to go. I instantly felt at home and they value me as much as I value them. I’m forever grateful.
“I’m the type of martial artist, I develop very quickly,” she continued. “I just knew if I have the right people around me I will perform to the best of my ability. I have been fighting my whole life so it just felt natural to me.”
A reason why Loureda is such a hot commodity is the fact that she trains at American Top Team. ATT is considered one of the best gyms in the sport, and there she gets to train with champions and top contenders.
“From the moment I joined there, people are like ‘oh you aren’t going to be recognized there,’” she said. “I just believed in myself and training there, little by little everybody started recognizing me. They all say ‘Valerie is going to be the next flyweight champion.’
“My training camp has been as hard as every other training camp,” she later added. “I give it my all for every camp, and we have been working on perfecting my striking and grappling for this fight. Just really evolving and gaining knowledge from a lot of other fighters. I have gotten so much better and I have felt so ready for awhile for this fight.”
With her Bellator debut just days away, and all the preparation behind her, Loureda is ready. However, she knows her opponent in Fletcher is tough and she can’t take her lightly.
“I know Colby, she has more experience then I do and she is a Muay Thai fighter,” Loureda explained. “I just know this is a big opportunity for both of us, so we will give it all we got.”
Not only is it Loureda’s Bellator debut, but she will also be fighting on the main card. That, to Loureda is why she signed with Bellator as they are giving her opportunities like this.
“I’m just so honored and I have been waiting for this moment my whole life,” she said. “Ever since I was a baby, I just dreamt of fighting on a platform like this. I earned my way to this fight, and just knowing this will be amazing for me. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.”
Ultimately, Loureda is more than ready for her debut. She can’t wait to introduce herself to Bellator and MMA fans and show the world just how good of a fighter she is.
“I’m just looking forward to the world meeting me for the first time in the MMA platform,” Loureda concluded. “I just believe in traditional martial arts so much. I have adapted to MMA. I’m just excited to bring moves people haven’t seen before and I’m just a very exciting fighter to watch.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/13/2019.