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After a stint on The Ultimate Fighter took up her entire 2016, flyweight Kate Jackson returned to action for the first time in 2017 with a bout against Bryony Tyrell at British Challenge MMA 18 in February.

What made Jackson’s bout with Tyrell out of the usual for her was the fact that the two are very well acquainted outside the cage.

“It was quite a hard fight because we friends going into it,” Jackson told MMAWeekly.com. “I actually worked with a sports psychologist for it because I didn’t want to risk letting that friendship get in the way of what happened once the cage door closed.

“It went pretty well. I messed up in the second round, so she probably won that won, but the last round was very dominant for me. I managed to separate the friendship out of it and got the job done.”

After starting out her career in Europe, Jackson now finds herself focused on the American MMA scene. It’s a transition that has her excited rather than anxious, thanks to her previous stint on The Ultimate Fighter.

“Having fights in Las Vegas, even if they were technically exhibition bouts, helped with what to expect a bit,” said Jackson. “The sport has a lot more exposure (in the US). It’s interesting actually, when you talk to people and they actually know what MMA is and what Bellator is. I’m quite excited about that.”

Brian Stann Reveals He’ll No Longer Call UFC Fights

Jackson (8-2-1) makes her Bellator debut against veteran Colleen Schneider (11-7) in a main card 125-pound bout on Friday in Verona, N.Y.

“I’m going up to flyweight for this fight and she’s coming down a weight class, so she might be the bigger, stronger, fighter,” Jackson said of Schneider. “So I’m going to have rely on my technique against her. Keep everything precise and tight, make as few mistakes as possible, and try to impose my own game on her.”

Jackson understands the importance of her bout on August 25, and because of that she’s not looking beyond it if all possible.

“I’ve mostly approached the fight game one fight at a time,” said Jackson. “I did that on The Ultimate Fighter as well. I got to the semi-finals and hasn’t really though ahead of that, so it might have helped psychologically.

“This fight is the most important one of my career. Every fight is going to be the most important fight of my career. Looking past this fight isn’t a very good idea. It’s going to be a tough fight. It’s going to take me using everything I’ve got.”

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