The Prelim Breakout Star is a once-per-event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Nickname – Baby Shark
Affiliation – Paragon BJJ
From – Aracatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Height – 5’1″
Weight – 115 lbs (Strawweight)
Record – 5-1 (0-1, UFC)
What makes her impressive
Ricci’s grappling is really what brings people out. However, unlike a lot of young, Brazilian prospects, her ground game isn’t all that grounded. Like we’ve seen with the likes of Mackenzie Dern and others who come up through BJJ, those prospects tend to suffer in the takedown portion of the game, especially when they’re getting hit on the way in. Ricci is different in that she has judo competitions under her belt and has shown that bringing the fight to the ground is no problem in MMA or in submission grappling.
Why she has been overlooked
Ricci looked pretty bad in her debut fight for the UFC. However, it could kind of be expected given the circumstances. Firstly, she took the fight on virtually no notice whatsoever. She took that fight up a weight class when in all actuality, she’s small for the weight class she’s in. If all that wasn’t enough, she also took on Manon Fiorot, who is one of the best prospects that division has going. All being said, there’s little to take away from that fight. The bookmakers appear to agree as well with ‘Baby Shark’ coming in as a -200 favorite for her sophomore effort (Odds by FanDuel).
What makes this a good match-up
In both of Maria Oliveira’s most recent bouts, she suffered at the hands of her opponent’s grappling. On the Contender Series: Brazil fight that she had, she was paired with Marina Rodriguez, which barely seems fair in retrospect. However, while Rodriguez did get it done with a TKO, she also landed a takedown in there. Oliveira’s previous loss was by armbar in Rizin. She appears to have corrected some things since those losses, but I’m not sure she has enough to deal with a talented grappler like Ricci.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 230-108-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)
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