The fight was a tough debut, but “Baby Shark” has no regrets about jumping into the deep end. Ricci looks back at that opportunity as a positive experience.
“I accept the fight on three days’ notice, I didn’t have to cut anything,” Ricci told The AllStar. “I’m like walking around at a really low weight, and like, I didn’t have to cut anything. But I learned a lot in that fight, it was a great experience for me. If I had to do that again, I would do that again cause it was my dream to get a UFC contract, and you now fighting for them…it was risky but worth it.”
The 27-year-old Ricci would go on to prove that she belongs in the promotion by returning to her natural weight class of strawweight and winning her next two UFC fights. Although originally slated to fight fellow prospect Cheyanne Vlismas this Saturday, instead she gets a former title challenger in #15-ranked Jessica Penne.
Despite the fight with another hyped opponent falling through, a clash with a gritty veteran like Penne is just as good for Ricci.
“I really got bummed and sad when [Vlismas] cannot do that fight anymore, but I understand, you know, maybe she going through something in her life, maybe in the future, we can face each other again. But I’m also happy I’m fighting Jessica now, it’s a great experience for me.”
Ricci is now a resident of Southern California and often makes the rounds at local gyms, in addition to her home gym of Paragon MMA. Incidentally, she’s spent time at Alliance MMA in San Diego, where Penne currently trains.
“When I was there, I think she just had a nose surgery, so she was not sparring, so I had opportunities to spar with Angela [Hill], we train together sometimes…But I did not have a chance to train with Jessica.”
Against Penne, Ricci sees a finish coming. Her opponent has a strong jiujitsu base, but Ricci believes that her striking could be coming along enough to produce a finish on the feet. Also a jiujitsu fighter at heart, she’s been working hard to bring her hands and feet up to par with her grappling.
“I do striking every day, so I think I’ve really improved that and I’m excited to show everyone what I have been training.”
Will fans see a knockout from Ricci this weekend? “Baby Shark” plans to be adaptable.
“I’m not forcing anything, I’m just gonna do me”.
Tabatha “Baby Shark” Ricci is a 27-year-old female fighter from Brazil with 7 pro wins and 1 loss. Ricci is scheduled to fight Jessica Penne at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan on Saturday, October 1, 2022.
Tabatha Ricci’s recent form coming into this matchup
Tabatha Ricci has gone 4-1 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Polyana Viana • Decision R3 5:00 • 2022-05-21
- Win vs Maria Oliveira • Decision R3 5:00 • 2021-10-23
- Loss vs Manon Fiorot • KO/TKO R2 3:00 • 2021-06-05
- Win vs Shawna Ormsby • KO/TKO R2 4:50 • 2021-04-23
- Win vs Vanessa Marie Grimes • Submission R1 1:07 • 2021-01-29
Tabatha Ricci’s next opponent: Jessica Penne
Jessica Penne’s recent form coming into this matchup
Jessica Penne is a 39-year-old female fighter from the United States with 14 pro wins and 6 losses. Penne is scheduled to fight Tabatha Ricci at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan on Saturday, October 1, 2022.
Jessica Penne has gone 2-3 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Loss vs Emily Ducote • Decision R3 5:00 • 2022-07-16
- Win vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz • Submission R1 4:32 • 2021-08-07
- Win vs Lupita Godinez • Decision R3 5:00 • 2021-04-17
- Loss vs Danielle Taylor • Decision R3 5:00 • 2017-04-22
- Loss vs Jéssica Andrade • KO/TKO R2 2:56 • 2016-06-04
How to watch and bet on Tabatha Ricci vs Jessica Penne
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