UFC’s Tatiana Suarez returns ready to shoulder the load
By Brian Martin
Tatiana Suarez knows the benefits of fighting a significantly shorter opponent.
“I don’t have to lift my leg so high to kick her in the face,” the UFC strawweight said.
On top of that, for a former world-class freestyle wrestler like Suarez, size rarely matters when the fight goes to the ground.
The mat, however, is where there might be one issue for the 5-foot-5 Suarez when she takes on 5-foot-tall Viviane Pereira on the prelims of UFC Fight Night 120 on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
“Their limbs are significantly smaller,” the Season 23 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” said. “It’s weird when you go with someone who doesn’t have a limb as long. It’s like, ‘OK, I want to grab this arm, but there’s not much there.’”
At least Suarez, 26, has only her opponents’ arms to worry about now. Last year, it was her own.
Even as the Northview High of Covina graduate and Fontana resident was gearing up for the TUF 23 final 16 months ago against Amanda Cooper, her right shoulder was barking.
Tatiana Suarez battles Amanda Cooper during the Ultimate Fighter Finale: Team Jedrzejczyk vs. Team Claudia, Friday, July 8, 2016, at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)
After winning the UFC reality show with an impressive first-round D’arce choke submission of Cooper, Suarez (5-0) said the shoulder felt fine and agreed to her second UFC fight against Julianna Lima at UFC Fight 102 last December.
During camp, the aches worsened and gnawed at her. Her coaches kept telling her during sparring to keep her right hand up. What might have looked like fundamental lapses or fatigue was actually a matter of being physically unable to lift her arm.
“I was slapping people from my waist. It was horrible,” said the Bellflower native, who trains at Millennia […]