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Valerie Loureda: Meet the new main attraction in women’s MMA

2 weeks ago

A new star was born in women’s MMA on Saturday night when Valerie Loureda secured an impressive debut win at Bellator 216, proving an instant hit with fight fans.

Loureda’s much-anticipated professional bow did not disappoint as the 20-year-old Florida native secured a first-round TKO win over Colby Fletcher in their flyweight bout at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Fittingly for the taekwondo master, it was set up by a pin-point left kick to the body before being sealed with a barrage of punches and hammer fists.

For Loureda it was the perfect start to life in the Bellator ranks, but it was also merely the latest step on a journey that has seen the ambitious young prospect come through some testing times.

The emotion that was writ on Loureda’s face in the cage after the bout was testament to that, as she gave a tearful interview.

“This is the moment I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl, my whole life,” Loureda told John McCarthy, as her proud father Frank watched on tearfully.

Loureda was wearing her taekwondo gi, in honor to her martial arts beginnings and the intrinsic role the sport has had in her formation as an MMA fighter.

Loureda has grown up practicing taekwondo, and her father has been passing on his prodigious expertise as owner of Master Frank’s Taekwondo Academy in Miami for more than three decades.

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A star is born

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Loureda herself harbored hopes of making the US Olympic team, but her dreams were sadly set aside after she stepped in to take care of her mother when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia several years ago, as well as looking after her sisters.

That was a fight her mother has come through, and around 18 months ago Loureda set on a new path, taking up MMA.