Helen Peralta took her fledgling pro MMA record to 2-0 in May when she took a unanimous decision over Cheyanne Vlismas at Invicta FC 29. Before that the 30-year-old former chef scored an impressive first round TKO over Jade Ripley. ‘Iansã’ returns to the Invicta Cage on Saturday night the 2-1 Kay Hansen.
Against Vlismas, Peralta looked comfortable as she outpointed the Xtreme Couture product. “I think I did well,” said Peralta to Bloody Elbow when remembering back to the bout.
“I’m kind of mad it went to a decision,” she added. “I want a finish and people prefer to see a finish, but [Vlismas’] a high-level striker. She comes from a really good camp. She’s got really good coaches. So the fact I was able to stay with her for the entirety of the bout, as opposed to getting in a lucky punch — as they call it— proved that I am here to stay. I know I have a lot of things to work on, but I know I’m onto something when it comes to martial arts. I have a natural instinct for it.”
Peralta’s upcoming opponent, Hansen, stopped Gabby Romero in the California Cage Wars promotion in July. Prior to that she took the first loss of her career, falling to Kal Schwartz by TKO at March’s Invicta FC 28.
“I think it’s a really good match up, for me mostly,” said Peralta when discussing her clash with the 18-year-old who rolls at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu – Fullerton.
“I know she wants to work on her striking, she’s said that before, but if I were her coach I would tell her to, ‘Just play safe. Go for a takedown. We don’t know how Helen does on the ground, you have a better chance there.’
“It’s my understanding that she’s purple or brown belt in jiu jitsu and she has an extensive wrestling background. So it would just make sense to see what I can do on the ground. I’ve proven myself on the feet, not with beautiful technique, but I have good instincts and I’m sure everyone wants to see what happens when somebody puts me on my back.”
When asked if age could be a factor in the fight, Peralta — who is 12-years older than Hansen — was undecided.
“Age can become a factor in some things,” she offered. “Like she may be a little immature in her movements and her approach, but she might not be at the same time. You don’t think about consequences so much at that age. I remember I didn’t think I could break a leg or break an arm when I was 18, but of course it was possible. So that could play as an advantage for her, but it could also play against her.”
“But I’m not concerned about that part,” continued Peralta. “I think it’s going to come more down to fighting IQ. I have fought people who are better than me at fighting. I believe Cheyanne Vlismas is a way better fighter than I am, but I just decided not to fight her; I decided to win.”
The Iowa-based Peralta said when she was 18 she was living in New York and trying to get into school for forensic science. That proved too expensive, so she “settled for chemistry.” However, Peralta said she left that field after becoming disenchanted with the pharmaceutical industry. She chose to be a chef instead, a career that lasted until she took up pro fighting.
As a pro, Peralta has shown a proclivity for mentally sparring with her opponents and injecting emotion into her fights. Against Ripley, Peralta revealed to Bloody Elbow, she “went haywire” from missing her family and new dog and decided to focus that into hurting her opponent. She also revealed that she felt Ripley disrespected her striking by showing a keenness to engage on the feet.
Versus Vlismas, Peralta conceded there was drama leading up to the fight. Though, she claimed she’s not responsible for it. The source of the animus appears to be Peralta kissing one of Vlismas’ training partners during a face-off, something Peralta blames on a diminished state brought on by weight-cutting.
When asked if mental attacks or ‘trash talk’ were an intentional part of her game or something that just followed her from fight to fight, Peralta sniggered before fessing up; “It’s intention.”
However, Peralta said she doesn’t think she’ll engage in similar behaviour with Hansen. Although, her reasoning for this could be considered trash talk in itself.
“No offense, but in order for me to get in someone’s head they have to have something in their head to begin with,” said Peralta. “So that won’t be my strategy with Hansen. I don’t think she’s had enough experience in life for me to be able to get into her head, because there’s nothing there. What am I going to do in her head? I’m going to be really bored … With her I don’t see how we could even possibly have a conversation. What am I going to ask? What’s your favourite power ranger and then disagree with that?”
Peralta stressed that her words against Hansen should be interpreted as: “Passion for the sport more than disrespect for the opponent.” She also said, even though she doesn’t think Hansen is very worldly, she has a lot of respect for her fighting abilities. “She’s a really talented girl,” said Peralta who envisions an entertaining bout come Saturday night.
“I would love to get a submission win,” she said — thinking forwards to the contest. “I would love to get a submission win because I feel that, if I do that, I would prove to people watching that I’m not a one dimensional fighter; that I have been working on my ground game. I know [Hansen] wants to show off her striking, but she should be thinking more about getting the win.”
“For me, I can’t afford to lose,” added Peralta, with passion. “[Vlismas] lost her last fight and she recovered in two days. I think her after party was better than mine, even though I was the one who won the fight. And that has a lot to do with who you know and what you are. I don’t have many things going for me over here. Seriously, sometimes I don’t have gas money to make it to training. So I can’t afford to lose.”
You can see Peralta channel this motivation into her fight with Hansen this Saturday night at Invicta FC 31. The strawweight bout is part of an offering that includes Pearl Gonzalez vs. Daiane Firmino and a strawweight title fight between champion Virna Jandiroba and challenger Janaisa Morandin. The action starts on UFC Fight Pass at 8PM ET.