5 Defining Moments: Virna Jandiroba

Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight contender Virna Jandiroba is renowned for her infectious personality and congeniality, which belies her remarkable 19-3 professional record. With a string of impeccable submission victories and an illustrious resume that includes a title run in Invicta Fighting Championships and various medals in prestigious Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments, Jandiroba stands as a beacon of excellence in the world of martial arts.

Beneath the amiable exterior lies a fierce determination to ascend to the pinnacle of her craft, the next step towards that goal shaped in the form of a UFC on ESPN 54 assignment against Lupita Godinez this Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Banking on a solid two-fight winning streak, the No. 5-ranked strawweight will be determined to stem Godinez’s advances.

Before the two women square off at 115 pounds, a look at five defining moments that have shaped Jandiroba’s career:

1. The Rise of ‘Carcara’

Jandiroba embarked on her professional mixed martial arts journey in June 2013, locking away five straight submission victories over notable names like Cristiane Lima Silva and Camila Lima. She later picked up a unanimous decision win over Aline Sattelmayer and subsequently got her maiden shot at championship glory. She squared off against Anne Karoline Nascimento for the vacant MNA MMA Circuit title. The Brazilian won the fight by submission via armbar in the second round. The first taste of championship success became the springboard for future triumphs and a thriving career.

2. A Tale of Triumph and Tenacity

Jandiroba made her debut in Invicta Fighting Championships, a major feeder organization for the UFC, when she faced Amy Montenegro on Dec. 8, 2017. She secured a first-round armbar submission victory and marched on to take on Mizuki Inoue in a hard-fought five-round affair for the Invicta strawweight championship. “Carcara” secured victory via split decision and was crowned the new strawweight queen of the organization. Continuing on her solid run in the promotion, Andiroba faced her first challenge as the champion against Janaisa Morandin at Invicta 31. She retained her title via second-round arm-triangle choke submission and leveraged the impressive run to advance her career into the UFC.

3. Rude Awakening and Realignment

UFC Fight Night 150 served as the platform for Jandiroba to mark her promotional debut against Carla Esparza, who at that time, entered the fight on a two-fight losing skid. From the outset, Esparza seized control, dictating the pace and rhythm of the bout, securing an early takedown and establishing grappling control throughout the first round. As the bout progressed, Jandiroba attempted to rally, showcasing flashes of her widely recognized grappling skills. However, Esparza’s defensive acumen proved insurmountable, as she thwarted her opponent’s advances and walked with a unanimous decision victory. This loss served as a humbling setback for Jandiroba, who had her unbeaten status shattered.

4. Grappling Glory Unleashed

Jandiroba returned to the Octagon and delivered a resounding statement against Felice Herrig in a highly anticipated clash at UFC 252. As soon as the bout commenced, Jandiroba swiftly executed a takedown and worked towards getting on her opponent’s back. The Brazilian’s swiftness and decisiveness in securing dominant grappling positions were evident as she seamlessly transitioned from mount to back control, then finally transitioned to the armbar that forced the tap in less than two minutes. What made the victory even more impressive was the fact that she became the first person to finish Herrig—a veteran with over 20 fights under her belt.

5. Redemption Arc and Building Momentum

Following the victory over Herrig, “Carcara” dropped two fights in three outings against Mackenzie Dern and Amanda Ribas, succumbing to unanimous decision losses in both. Motivated by the quest for vengeance and a career revival, she took on perennial divisional threat Angela Hill at UFC on ESPN 36. Through the relentless pursuit of takedowns, ground control and submission attempts, Jandiroba was able to outpoint her opponent and prevail via unanimous decision. In the subsequent bout, her grappling proficiency helped secure another unanimous decision win over Marina Rodriguez, reaffirming her status as a force to be reckoned with in the upper echelons of the division.

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