When she was announced as a competitor on Season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter, Tatiana Suarez had quite a reputation. The two-time Bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling had five wins to her name and was poised as one to watch out for during the season. She lived up to expectations, defeating Chel-c Bailey, JJ Aldrich and Kate Jackson to advance to the season finale against Amanda Bobby Brundage (née Cooper). There, she earned a first-round D’Arce choke of Cooper to become the next Ultimate Fighter.
The next couple of years went somewhat smoothly for Suarez, who rattled off wins against Viviana Pereira, Alexa Grasso and ex-UFC champion Carla Esparza. Nearly a year after her win against the ‘Cookie Monster’, the undefeated fighter fought Nina Nunes (née Ansaroff) and improved to 8-0. However, during their fight, Suarez injured her neck—and that, along with other injuries, led to a near four-year hiatus from the Octagon.
Tatiana Suarez switches weight classes for much-anticipated return
After recovering from her neck injury and receiving clearance to return to competition, Tatiana Suarez was set for an appearance at UFC 266 against Roxanne Modafferi. The fight never happened, though, as the 32-year-old injured her knee and was forced on the sidelines for nearly two more years.
Once Suarez recovered from her knee injury, a return was set—but not at her original weight class. Instead of strawweight, the Millennia MMA product went to flyweight.
“I was thinking I was going to try out flyweight for a couple fights and see how I feel there,” Suarez said in an interview with Ariel Helwani. “All the fights that I’ve had at strawweight, during the fights, I always felt like I was weak and tired. So, I was wondering if maybe just the weight cut was too draining for me and it was usually like I’ve never had an issue making the weight, it was just the day after I felt like I wasn’t full recovered.
“I don’t know if other people feel that way too or if that’s a natural feeling, but I definitely feel way stronger and more explosive when I practice than when I fight,“ continued Suarez. “So, it was like maybe I need to try where I don’t cut very much weight at all.”
Tatiana Suarez draws Virna Jandiroba next
Her first opponent at flyweight was Montana De La Rosa at UFC Vegas 70 this past February. Suarez was in true form, getting De La Rosa down and snatching up a guillotine choke for the tap. Though she hoped for a couple of fights at 125, the former TUF winner has decided to return to 115 next.
On Thursday, Twitter User MMA Melotto reported Suarez had drawn Virna Jandiroba for her next UFC appearance. Per the report, the Suarez vs. Jandiroba bout is the newest addition to an upcoming Fight Night scheduled for Aug. 5 at a soon-to-be-determined location and venue.
In her most recent appearances, Jandiroba has earned unanimous decisions against Angela Hill and Marina Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 54 and UFC 288, respectively. With the win against Rodriguez, ‘Carcará’ went from No. 9 to No. 6 in the official UFC rankings.
Other fights announced for the Aug. 5 Fight Night
Along with Suarez vs. Jandiroba, two other fights were recently announced for the upcoming UFC Fight Night. Per Nolan King of MMA Junkie, a pair of light heavyweight fights—Dustin Jacoby vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu and Tanner Boser vs. Aleksa Camur—were also scheduled. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more updates to the event as they become available in the coming months.
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