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In the nascent days of MMA, a competitor’s first handful of fights were often the equivalent what today’s athletes experience in their amateur careers — an opportunity to gain experience, deal with obstacles, and find out if you’re really cut out for a career spent competing inside the cage.

Newcomer Loopy Godinez logged nine appearances as an amateur, amassing a 4-4-1 record while sharing the cage with current UFC strawweight Sam Hughes and reigning Battlefield Fight League champ Jamey-Lyn Horth Wessels. Since turning pro, the Langley, British Columbia-based fighter has parlayed the experience gained and lessons learned in her amateur days into an unbeaten run that carried her to the UFC, where she’ll make her promotional debut this weekend against the returning Jessica Penne.

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The 27-year-old earned her biggest victory to date last October when she collected a majority decision win over Contender Series alum Vanessa Demopoulos to claim the LFA strawweight title, pushing her record to 5-0 in the process. A powerful grinder training out of Titan MMA, Godinez has spent the final stages of her camp training in the elevated climes of Denver, Colorado, getting in work with an assortment of teams and training partners, including former strawweight titleholder Rose Namajunas.

Saturday’s meeting with Penne is a chance to make an instant impression with the UFC audience, as despite her extended hiatus, the veteran is a respected competitor that held championship gold under the Invicta FC banner and has fought for the UFC strawweight title in the past. She’s easily the most seasoned and savvy opponent Godinez has faced, and a dominant performance would immediately establish the Mexican Canadian freshman as someone to pay close attention to in the 115-pound weight class.


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