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No rush for UFC 216's Mara Romero Borella as she savors stunning short-notice debut


It’s been quite an eventful few days for Mara Romero Borella.

Barely a week ago, Borella (12-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was sitting at 142 pounds, coming off an Invicta FC win in July, with no UFC contract in place. But then came the call to fill in for Andrea Lee against Kalindra Faria (18-6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC 216. Now, Borella has not only added a win to her octagon record – it was a first-round submission, in a pay-per-view main-card slot, against a more than 2-1 favorite in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.

Borella’s first UFC step was simply a “dream come true.” But after an emotional rollercoaster that also involved a weight cut down to the flyweight’s 125-pound limit, she understandably wants to let things sink in before plotting the next ones.

“I’m going to live today and take it little by little,” Borella said after Saturday’s UFC 216 bout.

The 31-year-old flyweight, who’d been previously riding a five-fight winning streak capped off by a split call over Milena Dudieva at Invicta FC 24, knew her manager had been working toward getting her a UFC contract. But as it usually happens with these things, it’s never a done deal until it is.

Borella, in fact, didn’t even know until the Monday or Tuesday prior to the fight her UFC 216 spot was on the main card. Not that it would have mattered, anyway. While she understands the placement is a bigger deal, she simply received an opportunity and took it.

Once that happened, though, Borella and her team had some serious cramming to do. The preparation time might not have been ideal – but the rear-naked choke that came from it certainly was.

“My training camp was just a week,” Borella said. “So I was working on my head and also on the technique for this fight. Basically, that’s exactly the result that we were looking for.”

To hear from Borella, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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