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“I’m so happy for my debut now,” the Brazilian says with a huge smile, looking around the UFC Apex. “I’ve been working a lot for this moment; I’m really happy.”

She’s not a complete stranger to the APEX, of course. It was here that back in November she worked her magic enough to impress the boss, defeating Pauline Macias with a convincing unanimous decision on Dana White’s Contender Series.

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“I feel familiarity here,” she confirms. “It’s really good to be here. This feels like home.”

For her inaugural tilt, she didn’t exactly draw the easiest assignment. Although her opponent, Jinh Yu Frey, has yet to find her first win under the UFC banner, she’s still the former Invicta FC atomweight champion, not some up-and-comer. It doesn’t figure to be an easy out for either woman, and the upside is potentially huge for de Paula. She is complimented by the pairing.


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