Vanessa Porto’s first Invicta FC fight was not a success. But as she proved in her return bout, the disappointing debut was not an indicator of her potential.
“Tara LaRosa was the favorite,” Porto (15-5) told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “She had been ranked No. 1 in the world. I surprised a lot of people.”
Porto’s loss was a submission defeat at the hands of onetime Strikeforce fighter Sarah D’Alelio. But Porto rebounded with a decision win over LaRosa and has now been invited back for a third appearance under the Invicta FC banner. She now meets Barb Honchak (7-2) at tonight’s Invicta FC 5 event, which takes place at Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.
The pair meets with the promotion’s inaugural flyweight belt on the line. Fighting in the co-feature of the online pay-per-view, Porto enjoys her highest-profile fight to date, but she doesn’t believe there’s any reason for concern.
“For me, it’s just my job,” Porto said. “I’ve been training my entire life. I don’t feel pressure. I understand the historical significance, and Barb is a great fighter, but I don’t feel pressure because I’m well-trained.
“Invicta is growing rapidly. Many new girls are fighting for us now. It will be a great card. The belt is an added value to our competition, but I’m not feeling any stress.”
Porto still lives and trains in Brazil where her husband, former pro fighter Pedro Iglezia, handles head-coaching duties.
“He trains me in everything: standup, ground, nutrition, fitness, et cetera,” Porto said. “I’ve always worked with him.
“He stopped competing, and he’s concentrating on helping me in MMA. He’s working for me now. We improve during and between each new bout. The main thing is to keep my stamina up and keep improving the technical aspects, always getting better.”
The loss to D’Alelio remains Porto’s lone defeat in her past six appearances. But with the impressive win over LaRosa, she’s now in line to become champion in a promotion that seems primed to establish itself as a premier destination for female fighters.
Porto said the loss, while unfortunate, fueled her drive to tonight’s fight.
“In life, one always has losses and wins,” Porto said. “A loss like that forces one to work hard to overcome, to maintain a clear head and to keep moving forward. I’m always training hard and striving to win.”
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