The Titan FC bantamweight champion and the first Italian female to enter the Octagon will debut against each other on the PPV card of UFC 216.
Kalindra Faria was scheduled to debut against LFA flyweight champion Andrea “KGB” Lee, however Lee was pulled less than two weeks out when she could not qualify for the USADA testing pool. Lee’s misfortune provided Italy’s Mara Romero Borella with the serendipitous opportunity to make her debut on a little over a week’s notice. Scheduled to be the second fight of UFC 216’s PPV, this fight will expose these two women to an enormous audience and could make the winner an immediate contender in the newly-created women’s flyweight division.
Who is Kalindra Faria?
31 year old Kalindra Faria is one of the many fighters who will benefit greatly from the creation of the women’s flyweight division. Faria is one of the premier talents outside of the UFC and will now have the opportunity to compete at her ideal weight class. 18-5 in her eight year career, all of her losses have come in the strawweight division to UFC contenders including Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Aguilar. She captured the Bantamweight Titan FC title last September by defeating MMA pioneer Carina Damm via dominant five round decision in which she won every round. Fluctuating between 115 and 135 has caused her to take a few unnecessary losses. Now that she has the advantage of not cutting a large amount of weight or giving up size, Faria will be right at home in 125-pound division.
What you should expect?
Faria trains out of the Chute Boxe gym in Sao Paulo, Brazil with UFC contenders Thomas Almeida and Felipe Arantes. The native Brazilian’s fighting style is what you would expect in a fighter coming out of the gym that produced legendary knockout artists Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua. She fights in a front foot-heavy Muay Thai stance and switches seamlessly between southpaw and orthodox. Faria throws tight, textbook combos that she often caps with a high kick. Ending seven fights via KO/TKO, she also possess fight-finishing power and will be able to hold her own with any flyweight when it comes to the striking game. On the ground Faria is more skilled than your average Chute Boxe fighter. With a BJJ brown belt and five submission victories (including a 2013 armbar of black belt Carina Damm when she was a purple belt) she knows her way around a guard and throws punishing blows when on top.
What this means for her debut?
Faria will be debuting against Italian Mara Romero Borella who stepped up on less than two weeks notice and will also be making her Octagon debut. This is a classic striker vs. grappler match up. Faria’s will have the definitive striking advantage, if Borella can not get this fight to the mat in the early exchanges it will either be a really long or really short night for the debuting Italian fighter. Borella has a tendency to reach for head and arm throws which could very likely give Faria the opportunity to take her back and sink in a choke. But the most likely outcome is an early stoppage for Faria due to strikes.
Faria displays her well-rounded skills in this 2013 victory over Argentinian Laura Balin:
Who is Mara Romero Borella?
Honduras born, Italian raised Mara Romero Borella will get her big show opportunity on less than two weeks notice. The 31-year-old Judo player is coming off of her biggest win to date, a headlining decision victory over UFC vet Milana Dudieva at Invicta 24 this past July. The win was Borella’s fifth straight in a streak dating back to 2015. She trains in multiple gyms through out Italy including her home gym the Fight or Fit studio in Lonato del Garda. She has also spent extensive time training with UFC women’s champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Amanda Nunes at the American Top Team headquarters in Coconut Creek Florida. The high level, diverse training partners at ATT will assure this Italian trailblazer is octagon ready on short notice.
What you should expect?
Borella has shown a diverse attack, but the lifelong judo player and and BJJ blue belt does her best work in the clinch and on the ground. She was able to neutralize the explosive Dudieva with head throws, trips and a heavy top game. Borella utilized a similar game plan against Bellator rising star Lena Ovchynnikova where she took down and mounted the Ukrainian on multiple occasions. However the bias Ukrainian judges saw a different fight and awarded Ovchynnikova a split decision. Then in an unprecedented move, WAMMA reviewed the fight and found the decision so egregious they overturned it to a no contest. Borella is a technically proficient stand up fighter who throws hard single counters when her back is up against the cage. However her striking usually serves more as a tool to close the distance and get fights to the ground where she will have her easiest path to victory.
What this means for her debut?
Borella will have the unenviable task of debuting against Kalindra Faria. Borella is going to need to find a way to get this to the ground at all cost. However closing the distance and securing the take down on the larger Faria will be no walk in the park and if it stays on the feet, Borella will take heavy damage from the far more experienced Muay Thai fighter. Her best chance is to try to wear Faria down in the clinch and secure take downs late. Even if she comes up short in her debut, Borella deserves a second crack at the octagon to demonstrate her capabilities with a full fight camp.
Borella’s impressive main event performance against Milana Dudieva at Invcita 24: