Photo by Andy Cotterill
By Andy Cotterill
Niagara Top Team’s Flyweight Female Fenom (yes, I know, but I like alliteration) Jasmine Jasudavicius (7-1 MMA 1-0 UFC) put pen to paper on Wednesday and accepted a fight offer from the Ultimate Fighting Championship to face Brazil’s Natália Silva (12-5-1 MMA 0-0 UFC) at the UFC Fight Night scheduled for June 18th.
Jasudavicius signed the document in Las Vegas, which she knows well and calls a second home. She arrived several days ago in order to start her training camp at Syndicate MMA, where she also trained before her successful UFC debut against Kay Hansen.
The St. Catharines, Ontario born fighter thinks that her previous time in Vegas which includes several training camps and several important UFC wins will give her a leg up on her Brazilian opponent, who will be making her UFC debut, as well as fighting for the first time since December 2019 before COVID stopped the world.
“Yeah, obviously that brings great confidence.” Jasudavicius told MM-eh from her residence in Vegas before the first of her training sessions on Thursday.
“I’ve already fought at the Apex before so the comfort is there, whereas she’s coming all the way from Brazil, and I think that that’ll make a more significant difference for her.”
That being said, Jasudavicius knows that despite the uncertainty that accompanies most newcomers to the big city and the bright lights of the UFC, Silva is an experienced opponent who is sure to be game.
“I remember my UFC debut like it was yesterday, and yeah, it’s your most important fight and this will be hers.”
When a matchmaker puts two fighters together there are always questions to be asked, regardless if any great thought was put into that particular pairing or not. These same questions are also considered by the fighters themselves.
One of those questions is how will their respective strengths & weaknesses balance out? Fighter A is a great striker, so will fighter B be able to negate that strength with their excellent ground game? Or how about, Fighter A is a tough SOB with grit for days, but so is fighter B. Which one is tougher and grittier?
In the fight game those questions are always academic, to be answered only after fighter A or B has their hand raised at the end of the bout.
Regardless, trying to predict the outcome before it happens is an industry unto itself.
Jasudavicius is known for a confident and aggressive attitude in the cage that often has her dominating her opponent in a clinch, or smashing them into the canvas underneath them. This could potentially be a problem for her with Silva, who has displayed an affinity for arm bars, winning 5 of her last 6 fights in that manner. Fighters that specialize in armbars are usually adept at fending off their opponent’s downward attacks, then capitalizing on a small mistake.
But “Triple F” doesn’t think that will happen.
“I mean, I think she’s good, and I feel like at this level no matter what it’s gonna be a tough fight, but I think I’m matched up favorably and I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. I mean, I trained with some high level jits girls and I’m not getting caught in an arm bar. I’m not too worried about that.”
With this fight over two months away, Jasudavicius and her team have plenty of time to come up with their game plan, so allow us to reflect on the past for a moment.
During the fight week of her impressive UFC debut win over Kay Hansen at UFC 270 in January, fight fans came away knowing 2 things for certain; 1- Jasmine can fight, and 2- Jasmine absolutely loved every split second of her experience.
I asked her about the relentless grin that was on her face and the joy that she radiated during every public appearance.
She replied that he heeds the advice from the many people who find out at the end of their lives that they have regrets for not doing more, or not allowing themselves to live in the moment.
“I always make sure to really take in the moment because it’s going to be a short one. I’m already on my second fight, so I think it’s just important to take it all in and try to enjoy the moments that I have. When I’m old and gray I’m not going to be able to be fighting in a cage…yeah, enjoy it now.”
When I asked her if she had a favourite experience from the many she most suredly had that week, she didn’t hesitate.
“The walkout was really cool. When I was standing and they were greasing me up and checking me out I looked up and I could see like my name in the lights going around the stadium. That was a huge moment for me. I’ll never forget that moment…it was the best thing ever.”