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Tabatha Ricci: The Story of the UFC star you should know

LockerRoom Team
11 July 2023

Tabatha Ricci, born on February 21, 1995, is a Brazilian mixed martial artist who is making waves in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight division

Early days in Brazil

Born and raised in Birigui, Brazil, Ricci comes from a martial arts background. Following in her father's footsteps, she started her training in judo at the tender age of six. As her passion for combat sports grew, Ricci added muay thai to her repertoire at the age of 15. At 17, she began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and by 18, she had her first MMA bout, solidifying her commitment to the sport.

Moving to Japan and LFA

In 2017, Ricci made the bold decision to move to Japan, where she competed in SEIZA competitions and honed her skills in various disciplines. Seeking new challenges and opportunities, she then moved to California to further focus on her Brazilian jiu-jitsu training. Ricci's dedication and hard work paid off when she signed a three-fight contract with Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) in 2020.

During her time with LFA, Ricci showcased her talent by winning all of her bouts. She defeated Kelsey Arnesen at LFA 90 by unanimous decision, secured a first-round armbar submission victory against Vanessa Marie Grimes at LFA 98, and finished Shawna Ormsby via TKO in the second round at LFA 105.

Signing with the UFC

In June 2021, Ricci received short notice to make her promotional debut in the UFC, replacing Maryna Moroz. She faced Manon Fiorot at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai. Despite the tough challenge, Ricci showed her resilience and determination in the octagon. Although she ultimately lost the bout via standing TKO in the second round, she demonstrated her potential and ability to compete at the highest level.

Following her debut, Ricci returned to the strawweight division and made her sophomore appearance in the organization against Maria Oliveira at UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori on October 23, 2021. Ricci displayed her skills and secured a unanimous decision victory, signaling her readiness to compete against formidable opponents.

Ricci faced Polyana Viana on May 21, 2022, at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Vieira. In an impressive performance, she earned another unanimous decision victory, further solidifying her position in the division.

Continuing her run in the UFC

Scheduled to face Cheyanne Vlismas on October 1, 2022, at UFC Fight Night 211, Ricci faced a change in opponent when Vlismas withdrew for personal reasons. Jessica Penne, a former UFC Women's Strawweight Championship challenger and inaugural Invicta FC Atomweight Champion, stepped in as a replacement. Unfortunately, the bout was cancelled due to Penne falling ill on the day of the weigh-ins.

Ricci finally faced Jessica Penne on March 4, 2023, at UFC 285. With determination and skill, she secured an impressive victory via armbar submission in the second round, demonstrating her growth and development as a fighter.

Continuing her journey, Ricci faced Gillian Robertson on June 24, 2023, at UFC on ABC 5. In a hard-fought battle, she showcased her versatility and skill set, earning a well-deserved unanimous decision victory.

Tabatha Ricci is a rising talent in the strawweight division, capturing attention with her exciting fighting style and determination. With each fight, she continues to improve and impress, proving herself as a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive world of mixed martial arts. As she climbs the ranks, fans eagerly await her next challenge and the impact she will undoubtedly make in the UFC Strawweight division.

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