It didn’t take long for Luana Pinheiro to draw attention from UFC fans. In fact, she did without even having a UFC fight.
Over the summer, Pinheiro came into her Dana White Contender Series fight against Stephanie Frausto known for her judo background, but it was her hands that caught the eye of everyone. In the fight, Pinheiro secured a violent knockout victory to impressive the UFC president and earn a contract.
Now, after scoring a brutal knockout win, Pinheiro is a little over a month away making her highly anticipated UFC debut when she takes on Randa Markos in a strawweight bout at UFC 260.
Pinheiro (7-1) has been working hard in the lead up to the fight and she cannot wait for the opportunity to fight against a veteran like Markos in the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts.
“This is an incredible opportunity in my career,” Pinheiro told MyMMANews. “I will face an experienced athlete with tons of hours inside the octagon. I know this will be my biggest challenge in my career and I am training hard to be prepared for it. I respect Randa so much because she is one of the pioneers in women’s MMA. However, I am confident that I will finish the fight with a smile in my face and my hand raised.”
Markos (10-10) is coming into the fight with losses in four of her past five fights. While the last year and a half has been a tough stretch for Markos, she still knows what it’s like to fight the best as she’s fought three former title challengers and several current ranked fighters within the strawweight division.
Pinheiro is well aware that Markos has fought some of the best fighters in the world and she knows she is going to have to bring all of her skills into the octagon on March 27 if she wants to get the win.
“I have to be in my best both physically and mentally and that’s what I am striving for,” Pinheiro said. “I am training as hard as ever. I am studying Randa’s game paying attention to every small detail. I am lucky to have every resource to do it. I am training in Nova União and there’s a lot of talented MMA fighters helping me to prepare to this fight.”
With a lot of fans looking out for Pinheiro’s debut and a veteran like Markos standing across the cage from her, you would think Pinheiro would be feeling the pressure, but she’s not.
“For me, it’s not different than any of my previous fight,” the Brazilian said. “I know the UFC is the biggest stage in MMA. But I was training since I was a little girl to fight in the biggest stages. And I am pretty happy that a lot of fans want to watch my debut.”
After making a big splash in 2020, Pinheiro is hoping a win at UFC 260 will be the beginning of a great 2021. However, she does not want to get ahead of herself as she wants to take care of business against Markos before looking down the road.
“For now, all my focus is in Randa Markos and my UFC debut. That’s the most important thing in my mind right now. My number 1 priority. After the fight my staff and I can start to think about other stuff.”