Niagara MMA fighter to make UFC debut next Saturday in Anaheim

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Jasmine Jasudavicius turns 33 on March 1, while St. Catharines’ opponent in her Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut this weekend in Southern California will be just 23 years old on her cake birthday on August 14.

In addition to being more than 10 years younger, Kay Hansen, a Californian and fan favorite for Saturday’s strawweight mixed martial arts bouts at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., also has more experience. competing under the UFC spotlight. She is 1-1 in the UFC and 7-4 overall as a pro while Jasudavicius is 6-1.

Those numbers – especially the age difference – don’t worry Jasudavicius as she prepares for the eighth fight of her professional career. St. Catharines Collegiate thinks a graduate with more than a decade over her young opponent is a good thing.

“I have more ‘life experience’ and that sort of translates. My brain and my body are just more mature,” she said. “When we’re in the wrestling room and these new kids are out of high school or freshman year of college, they don’t know yet. They will not have understood anything.

Jasudavicius conceded that Hansen had some youth in his corner, “but I’ve been training longer.”

“Physically, I’m there,” she said. “I don’t care about age.

“I think it actually works to my advantage.”

It will be her first fight since Sept. 14, when she was awarded a four-fight contract by UFC President Dana White. The contract was a reward for a unanimous decision over Brazil’s Julia Polastri on White’s Tuesday Night Contender series.

While Jasudavicius feels pressure ahead of her UFC debut, it’s not the biggest pressure she’s faced since turning pro.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure because it’s my UFC debut, but because I did the Contender Series, I feel there was more pressure on this fight,” he said. she declared. “If I lost and didn’t get a contract I would be on the regional scene whereas if I won a Contender Series fight I would get a UFC contract.”

There is no comparison between his last fight and the next.

“They are two completely different animals. It’s significantly different. It changed my life,” Jasudavicius said of competing in the Contender Series.

“There was definitely more pressure on this fight.”

Jasudavicius, who trains with Niagara Top Team in Niagara Falls, flew to Las Vegas last Wednesday and will arrive in Anaheim for Fight Week beginning Tuesday.

She had hoped to spend more time working out on this side of the border, but the closure of gyms in the latest provincial restrictions has “sped up” her schedule.

“Obviously we would have made it work, but with all the closures we figured we’d go there early just in case.”

Jasudavicius adapted his training to build on his strengths and not take advantage of Hansen’s weaknesses.

“She’s been gone for a year, so who knows what she’ll come back with,” Jasudavicius said. “I could watch a tape from a year ago, but you can change so much in a year.

“We did some game planning.”

This approach is hardly unusual for Jasudavicius. When she trains in the gym, she focuses on all facets of mixed martial arts.

“I am preparing for anyone who may be ahead of me. My opponent can change at any time, so as long as I’m well balanced, doing all the work I can, it doesn’t matter who is in front of me,” she said. “I’m just going to put my best foot forward and fight to the best of my ability and we’ll see where the fight ends.

“Hopefully I get a finish but at the very least get my hands up at the end of the night.”

In Hansen, Jasudavicius will face a “very complete opponent”.

“She is a talented young girl. She has a few submission wins. She’s a bit more of a grappler.

Saturday’s fight will take place with fans in the stands at Honda Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks. Jasudavicius is aware of bystanders, especially before a fight begins.

“You notice more about the walkout when you come into the cage,” she said. “You can feel the atmosphere.”

Jasudavicius prefers to fight in front of spectators.

I think it feels more like a fight when there are fans, whereas it feels more like a competition when there are only two people in the ring,” she said. “I feed off the positivity of the fans and the energy.

“I’m not trying to please them, I’m just trying to give my best there.”

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