Taila Santos: Fight Island Livin’

#fightisland @tailasantosufc: Fight Island Livin’ #mma

Taila Santos made her UFC debut on UFC Fortaleza. She finally makes her return to the octagon after suffering her first defeat by the hands of Mara Romero Borella. Now she takes on the UFC prospect and super talented Molly McCann. Santos sat down with us ahead of her fight on Fight Island and spoke about her first career loss, Fight Island and McCann.

Starting out in martial arts was a family business. “I started with my father, Gilson Caetano, who is a Muay Thai teacher.” Since then, Santos has worked on honing her skills to get her to where she is at today, the UFC.

Outside of training and fighting, Taila Santos enjoys spending time with her family. “I like to go out with my family, husband and daughter and go to the beach,” says Santos. As much as a beach-bum Santos is, her career is fighting and she is good at it.

Taila Santos to the UFC

When a fighter goes out to become a professional mixed martial artist, the UFC is the goal 90 percent of the time. It is where the best concentration of fighters are and where a fighter goes to prove that they are the best. The moment when a fighter gets the opportunity to fight in the UFC to prove they are the best in the world. Santos earned her opportunity to fight from the Brazilian edition of the Contender Series where she beat Estefani Almeida by decision. When she got the contract, Santos says the feeling was unlike any other. “It was amazing!” says Santos. “It’s the largest MMA promotion in the world where all athletes aim to arrive.”

Now she’s there and she gets her chance to prove that she is one of the best in the world. In her debut, Santos was a favorite to beat Mara Romero Borella. It was a close fight but the split decision was given to Borella and Santos suffered her first loss. In any combat sport, going undefeated is an anomaly. A fighter either uses that first loss to grow or to implode. Santos is using her loss to Borella to grow. While she was defeated and hit a wall, she feels like she learned a valuable lesson that night. Santos says, “It was a complicated moment, I really crashed. But I learned that I must not leave it to the judges!”

Preparing for McCann and Fight Island

Laila Santos is not taking a night off as is customary in MMA. As mentioned earlier, she is taking on a very tough “Meatball” Molly McCann. As with Santos, McCann is one of the women’s strawweight division’s brightest prospects. While McCann lost her UFC debut to Gillian Robertson, she went on to win three straight against Priscila Cachoeira, Ariane Lipski, and Diana Belbita. A win over McCann for Santos would be a great resume builder and a fantastic bounce-back win for the former Contender Series victor.

Regardless of the fight, she is ready and knows fans will enjoy the two’s performance. Santos insists that the quarantine didn’t affect her and we will see the best version of herself. “It will for sure it will be a great fight. I feel great,” she said with great emphasis. “Quarantine did not affect me, my training was continuous. I am ready.”

Everyone is looking forward to this weekend’s reveal of Fight Island on UFC 251. With four straight cards planned for the card, many fighters and fans are looking forward to fighting on the fabled island. Taila Santos is one of the excited ones.

“I am very happy and lively, it will be amazing. Not to mention getting my first UFC win, which I’m sure will be the start of my journey to the most famous belt in the world.”

Top of the Division

Taila Santos only wants one thing: the belt. She may have a long journey to climb the division, but she plans on making said climb. “I want to reach the top, the pinnacle, that is the belt of my division and certainly defend the belt for a long time.”

At the top is no easy task. Sitting on the women’s strawweight throne is Valentina Shevchenko. Since winning the belt, Shevchenko has defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Liz Carmouche, and most recently, Katlyn Chookagain at UFC 247. The challenge presented from Valentina is a mountainous one. “She is very technical, a great fighter and very focused on her fights,” says Santos. And Shevchenko is, she defeats her opponents by technicality and is one of the few women that Amanda Nunes could not knock out. But, Taila Santos has a plan, take the fight to her. “A straight hit I believe can take your concentration and become your weakness!”

Taila Santos takes on Molly McCann on July 15th. Be sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to follow her fight journey.