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It’s almost a shame Avila doesn’t enjoy watching her own fights. Mostly finishes and packed with thrills, it’s one of the stronger résumés in her division at the present moment. But Avila recognizes the continued evolution that needs to occur to break into the elite.

“I know my punches are hard. I know people don’t want to stand up with me and I know I’m really susceptible to the ground game. So I learned how to defend a takedown (laughs). We’ll be able to see that, hopefully. But [Eubanks] is a tough girl and it’s a tough division. I shouldn’t expect just a knockout. I should expect to work and earn my keep. So I learned, I assessed, and I’m growing. You can’t grow without a little hardship and a little loss.”

Although in a losing effort, that time on the ground versus Eubanks set her studies up beautifully for Stoliarenko, who has an even greater tendency to take things to the mat.

“Julia is very tough. She hasn’t been finished (very often), and she has eight armbar finishes. Surprise, surprise, I’m going to be defending an armbar, probably. I’m excited, though. I know she’s looking for a finish. She has a lot to prove. She’s coming off a loss, so she’s throwing caution to the wind, right?”

“But hey, here I am. I’m here to redeem myself and prove that I’m supposed to be in there.”


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