Amanda Ribas has everything the Ultimate Fighting Championship wants in a prizefighter: good looks, magnetic charisma, relative youth, strong ambition and well-rounded skills. The jury remains out on whether or not she can put it all together into something truly special.
The 28-year-old former Jungle Fight champion will shift gears and move to the flyweight division for the first time since 2020 when she meets Katlyn Chookagian in a featured UFC on ESPN 36 attraction this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Ribas enters the Octagon having compiled a strong 5-1 record through six appearances in the UFC. A dual black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, she last competed at UFC 267, where she rebounded from a technical knockout loss to Marina Rodriguez and took a unanimous decision from Virna Jandiroba in their Oct. 30 pairing at 115 pounds.
“I think that in all the fights I managed to evolve a little in some area,” Ribas told Sherdog.com. “In the fight against Marina, she showed where I still had to improve, and that’s what I did. I’m training a lot of standup, so I don’t stand still in front of a striker, and I’m further improving my judo and ground game to be sharp in what I know best.”
Chookagian poses a significant challenge for the Brazilian as a disciplined kickboxer who relies heavily on lateral movement and manages to pile up points without opponents realizing it. The former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder has gone the distance 16 times in her 21-fight career. Ribas, who trained out of her hometown in Brazil, believes she covered all the necessary bases in an attempt to deal with Chookagian.
“I’m doing my camp here with my father, sensei [Marcos] ‘Parrumpinha’ [da Matta], my brother and the girls from the Casa do Atleta academy,” she said. “Other athletes from grappling and striking backgrounds have come to help me in the camp. It’s been great. I’ve been training hard. Besides the girls at Casa do Atleta, I’ve been working with some karate experts and a Brazilian wrestling champion. I’m also working on my judo. We even brought in a female kickboxer from Israel.”
Ribas continues to keep her long-range aspirations in check.
“My plans for the future include giving my best and having an excellent fight,” she said. “After that, I’d like to fight again this year. If I get a win in this one and I’m uninjured, who knows? Maybe I can fight in Brazil next. I don’t know. I just want more fights this year so I can be better ranked.”