The Prelim Breakout Star is a once-per-event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Affiliation – BH Rhinos
From – Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Height – 5’4″
Weight – 115 lbs (Strawweight)
Record – 9-1 (1-0, UFC)
What makes her impressive
The really obvious answer here is her judo. You hear it lauded on the broadcasts before she fights. This happened in both the Randa Markos debut and her fight on the Contender Series. Although it didn’t really show itself all that much on Contender Series, she did manage to take down Markos 5 times in 6 tries. Markos has never been the best in the world at defending takedowns, but she is typically far better than that rate.
Why she has been overlooked
I think there would be a lot more hype behind Pinheiro if she could have fought through that entire Markos fight. After having some dominant positions, she got hit in the head with an illegal upkick and couldn’t continue. As a result, she picked up a win, but ultimately not much in the way of fan fare. That is with the exception of the sportsbooks who have her listed as a massive favorite this weekend at-425 (Odds courtesy of FanDuel).
What makes this a good match-up
Sam Hughes is a game opponent. She has shown that in her first two bouts with Tecia Torres and Loma Lookboonme. However, the real glaring issue is how easy it was for Lookboonme to take her down. She did so 4 of 8 times, which doesn’t seem great. However, Lookboonme is a Thai style kickboxer who used to fight down a weight class at 105lbs. If she can get Hughes to the mat that easily, it should be a breeze for Pinheiro.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 233-109-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)
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View the original article on MMA Manifesto: UFC Vegas 43 Prelim Breakout Star: Luana Pinheiro