For UFC strawweight fighter, Pearl Gonzalez (6-2), her introduction into the UFC did not go as planned. Gonzalez made her debut back in April at UFC 210 against Cynthia Calvillo and ended up losing by submission in the third round.
Unfortunately, it was the twenty-four hours before that fight that garnered all the attention as in a shocking turn of events the day before, her fight went under New York State Athletic medical review because of her breast implants and the potential chance of them rupturing during the fight. Gonzalez was eventually cleared to fight, but that along with the fight being on the main card of the evening and it being her first time under the UFC banner was overwhelming to say the least.
“I think that I underestimated the moment,” said Gonzalez. “When I got to the moment where it was time to perform, the lights got really bright, the stage got really big, so I was hesitant and not as confident and didn’t perform at my best.”
Gonzalez will get another chance this Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 216 where she kicks off the FX Prelims portion of the night in a fight against Brazilian fighter, Poliana Botelho. This is Botelho’s UFC debut and she comes in on a three fight win streak with all of her wins coming by way of knockouts or TKOs. Gonzalez does not seem worried about any of those stats. “She’s very dangerous,” said Gonzalez. “She’s bigger and stronger but I have the skills and the tools to win this fight and I’m going to use those skills and I am going to win this fight.”
Born in Pilsen, the lower West side of Chicago, IL, Gonzalez credits her toughness to harsh Midwest winters combined with the Midwestern hard working mindset. “The Midwest is really hard- nosed,” explained Gonzalez. “We work hard and grind hard. Because of that it creates a lot of grit in us”
And that grit is what Gonzalez felt like she didn’t display in her fight against Calvillo and is most exited to show off on Saturday night. “I’m excited to show my aggressive and dominant side, said Gonzalez. “I didn’t get to show very many skills my last fight. I’ve worked very hard for many years at this sport and this craft and I want to show those. I don’t want to hesitate this time.”
Pearl Gonzalez fights Poliana Botelho this Saturday night at UFC 216: Ferguson vs Lee. Her fight is LIVE on the FX Preliminary card. 8pm ET/5pm PT.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Zuffa, LLC