Luana Pinheiro to fight at Brave 11 in Brazil then wants Bahrain
Strawweight Luana Pinheiro will fight Elaine ‘Pantera’ Leal at Brave Combat Federation 11 on April 13 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This is the first time a women’s bout has been announced by Brave CF in Brazil, and Pinheiro is the first female fighter from Brazil signed by the leading promotion in the Middle East.
Pinheiro, who has practiced Judo since the age of two, was aiming to represent Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She made the Brazilian national team and won several gold medals in national tournaments, in the 52kg (115 lbs) and 48kg (106 lbs) categories, but she was unable to make to the national team for the Olympics. It was then she made the switch to mixed martial arts . Currently Pinheiro is training with BH Rhinos and fights out of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with a record of five victories out of six fights.
“Today is certainly a defining day in my career,” said Pinheiro. “I signed with Brave Combat Federation, one of the largest MMA organisations in the world. I would like to thank the athlete relations team for the opportunity and I am super excited to fight for Brave. Thanks to my coaches Cristiano Lazzarini, Joel Velha and Bruno Victor and the team at BH Rhinos for the support in my career.”
While no fighter looks completely beyond the next fight, Pinheiro does have a plan.
“I normally don’t care about where I fight because the goal is always the same, which is to win,” she explained. “But I would love to fight in Bahrain or in another country in the Middle East. Being the first Brazilian female fighter for Brave is already groundbreaking but I would love to do more history for the promotion, which is growing and growing in the MMA world.”
While Elaine Leal is more experienced with nine professional bouts in her career and has won five fights, Pinheiro is confident that her skills in Judo give her the edge.
“I’ve already watched some of her fights,” said Pinheiro. “She’s a very strong woman and I know she will be a great challenge for me.”
“Judo has always been and will always be my essence. Not just as an athlete, but also as a human being. Judo is a life philosophy and I always take the lessons I’ve learned in the mats with me. I changed sports, but my dream remains the same: to dominate and be the best.”
Brazil has hosted three Brave events. The eleventh edition of the event will be held at Minas Tênis Clube Arena at Belo Horizonte, Brazil on 13th April, 2018.
Image courtesy of Dani Xavier.