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Viviane Pereira out to prove height difference won't matter vs. Letourneau at UFC 206
Given she’s just a smidgen more than 5 feet tall, there’s something kind of “punny” about calling Viviane Pereira a short-notice opponent.
But jokes aside, the Brazilian may have about a half-foot height disadvantage in her UFC debut on Saturday against Valerie Letourneau – but she’s not sure that’s going to be something she can’t overcome.
Pereira (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) a few years ago fought the significantly taller Duda Yankovich in Brazil in just her third pro fight – and she stopped her in the second round with a TKO. So who’s to say she can’t hand out the same fate to Letourneau (8-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 206 on Saturday?
“She’s an excellent fighter. It’s no accident that she’s ranked,” Pereira told MMAjunkie. “I can’t say what will happen. Once I’m in there, if we need to strike, we will, and if it goes to ground, we’re ready for that, too. I feel fine facing a taller opponent. I think she may be as tall as Duda Yankovich, so that’s not a problem.”
Pereira and Letourneau’s women’s strawweight fight is part of the preliminary card of UFC 206, which takes place at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1, including Pereira’s fight, and UFC Fight Pass.
Letourneau was supposed to fight Poliana Botelho in Toronto, but Botelho was pulled from the card in late October, making room for Pereira to step in. The Brazilian said the short notice of her debut isn’t going to keep her from a great fight – even against someone with a little more experience.
“I’ve never picked my opponents,” Pereira said. “I’ve always faced experienced fighters. Duda Yankovich was the only one who hurt me. I ended up not being able to see for 15 days. She was very tough. But I don’t choose opponents. I’ll face anyone.”
Pereira got her combat sports start in her early teens. She said she wanted to take some training classes to break up the monotony of only going to school and back home every day.
As time went on, she went from kickboxing to muay Thai, and before she knew it she was fighting MMA. Three and a half years in, she’s unbeaten with six finishes in 11 fights.
She’s the underdog against Letourneau, but maybe she’ll prove good things come in small packages in Toronto.