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In no rush, Karol Rosa acts as bantamweight’s breath of fresh air

When associating the 135-pound women’s bantamweight division with Brazil, it’s understandable for the first thought to be reigning champion and all-time great, Amanda Nunes. However, after her most recent performance, Karol Rosa continuously proves that she’s a contender to watch out for.

Hailing from Vila Velha in Espirito Santo, the now 14-3 Rosa extended her current winning streak to five-straight at UFC Vegas 18. By defeating Panama’s Joselyne Edwards in a lopsided decision, Rosa obtained her third UFC victory in just as many years.

“It’s a great feeling,” Rosa told MyMMANews of her snowballing momentum. “I always fight to win so it was great getting to come back home with a victory and being able to share that with all the people that I love. My coach’s goal was that I’d begin this year with a victory so that was the first goal that we already achieved and I’m excited to achieve all the following goals this year.

“I train so much so definitely it was a great feeling. When the fights were canceled I didn’t stop training so it was very gratifying to finally be able to fight and get the win.”

In Rosa’s still young UFC career, she’s been bitten with a series of bad luck having already seen six fights canceled. That again was the case heading into the Edwards bout.

The originally booked contest with former flyweight champion, Nicco Montano, was altered as the formed titlist was forced to pull out after a car accident two weeks out. Therefore leading to a change of plans for the 26-year-old Rosa with Edwards’ arrival.

“When we arrived at the hotel and discovered that the fight had changed, we ended up changing strategy,” She shared. “With Nicco, the strategy was for me to use my Muay Thai but when the opponent changed, my coach told me that maybe the best idea was to explore my jiu-jitsu and take her to the ground and show my strength there. And that’s exactly what I did. I think that I proved how I’m a well-rounded fighter.

“I’m a very chill person so I wasn’t really bothered that much. When the fights were canceled, I continued training and I knew that I needed to continue training because another fight would appear any moment. And that’s exactly what happened. So I continued focusing on training and knowing that soon another opportunity would appear. I’m not very anxious so that wasn’t really a problem for me.”

Outlanding Edwards 135 to 70 in total strikes, Rosa also scored four takedowns to one over the course of their given three rounds. Overall, it equaled out to a whopping 11 minutes and 13 seconds of control for the Brazilian.

Despite her best efforts in every area that the fight went, the PRVT representative would absorb a solid shot late in the second round that caused a curious cut. Rosa herself was confused about the laceration’s location while in the moment as the blood started flowing freely.

Never afraid of the possibility of the referee to stop the bout because of the blood, Rosa’s corner admittedly worried between rounds. Ultimately, it didn’t matter as she smirked looking across the cage with blood dripping down her chin only to carry on imposing her will.

Karol Rosa
PhotoCred: Getty Images

Now, Rosa is sitting comfortably at No. 14 in the UFC’s official bantamweight rankings. With three consecutive wins in the promotion and the number by her name, she doesn’t have anyone specific in mind for her next time out. The hope is just for it to be someone also coming off a win and perhaps in the top 10 at let’s say No. 10 or No. 9 — those two fighters, in particular, being Macy Chiasson and Marion Reneau will collide on February 27.

Due to the 135-pound weight class’s need for fresh faces, it presents potentially quicker paths to the top than most divisions. With this hot streak only blazing brighter after every win, Rosa knows that she might not be too far from the gold.

It doesn’t hurt to have some championship-caliber training partners in the gym either.

“The bantamweight division now is a pretty shallow division,” She said. “I think that maybe with two or three more wins, maybe I’ll be there fighting for the belt. Me and my coach are sure that I’m going to become champion someday. We have no doubt about that but we’re not really in a hurry to get there. So who knows what ends up happening in the division, but maybe by the end of next year I’m already there having my chance to fight for the title.

“[Jessica Andrade and I] always train together and it’s always a war. When we fight, the whole gym stops to watch us fight because they know it’s going to be a tough battle. When the coach calls us out for a battle, me and Jessica, we look at each other because we know that the fight is going to come and we’re gonna give our all to it. So we really help each other out, changing positions, helping each other out to find out what’s the best position to do certain techniques. It’s a great partnership.”

While only 26, Rosa’s journey to where she is today began as early as age 13. After stumbling into jiu-jitsu in search of a boxing class with her cousin, Rosa came to the realization that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Four years later and she’d be kicking off her professional MMA career.

Fueled by her family, Rosa would skip school occasionally to better herself as much as she could in hopes of providing better opportunities with the career she was pursuing. After nine years and counting, she’s achieving what she set out to do from the start.

“Since I was a child I always loved to play fight with my friends and my family members,” Rosa said. “Since [age 13] I’ve been training well, I haven’t had many injuries so I definitely feel that I’m achieving one of my peaks but I think there are many more peaks to come.

“My inspiration has always been my family. When I was young I would think about how I could give more opportunities to my mother and my sister and soon I discovered that through fighting I’d be able to do that. So I trained as much as I could so that one day I would be able to help my family out and I even skipped school to be able to train so this is something I really wanted to do. Especially for my family.”

As 2021 continues on, Rosa’s goals for the year are simple. Inside the Octagon, she intends to crack the top 10 or top 5. On the outside, she’ll keep aiding her brother, mother, sister, and rest of her family to the best of her abilities.

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