UFC fans will be introduced to Brazilian MMA fighter Priscila Cachoeira this Saturday night when she meets former bantamweight title contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC Fight Night 125 in Belem, Para, Brazil.
Cachoeira brings an undefeated 8-0 professional MMA record into the octagon, but the road she traveled to get there was not easy. The 29-year old mixed martial artist told MMA Fighting that she had to overcome the struggles a drug addiction and the pain and suffering that stemmed from being molested by a former member of the fighter’s family. She was using drugs such as ‘loló’ (a blend of chloroform and ether), marijuana, cocaine and crack and eventually hit rock bottom in 2014.
According to a report on Bleacher Report, Cachoeira also known as “Pedrita” had endured a three-day bender left her sprawled on the floor of a drug house in Rio de Janeiro’s notorious Cracolandia—”the Cracklands” neighborhood—where those addicted to drugs populate the trash-cluttered streets and abandoned buildings. She teetered on the edge of consciousness, unable to move or even speak. She desperately wanted to get up and drag herself back to her mother’s house, but her brain and her body wouldn’t connect.
“When my mother came in, my head was down, I barely could see,” Priscila says, “but I saw a really bright light. Then I saw my mother’s dress.”
To beat her crack addiction, Priscila used muay thai kickboxing the way some people use a 12-step program.
Priscila competed in her first kickboxing fight just 19 days after starting training—and while still going through withdrawals. She won, defeating a much more experienced and well-regarded opponent.
“Right after that, I started to do a lot of fights,” she says. “I wanted every muay thai fight I could get.”
Now completely free of drugs this mother of a 5-year old boy seeks to earned the biggest victory of her career. Defeating Shevchenko will be no easy task as she is coming off a split decision loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 219 in September and seeks to earn back another title shot.
Can Priscila Cachoeira get the job done and shock the world on February 3?
Half of Cachoeira’s wins eight wins have resulted in a finish while the others have come by way of decision. With Saturday night’s fight card taking place in Brazil, Cachoeira will be the hometown favorite. If she can grind on Shevchenko and avoid the brutal Muay Thai striking that she presents, Cachoeira could edge out a victory on the judges’ scorecards en route to her first UFC victory.