Bellator 216: Valerie Loureda Looking to be a Positive Influence in MMA

Olympic-style Taekwondo specialist is looking to get the victory in her professional mixed martial arts debut on February 16th, at Bellator 216 in the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The twenty-year-old prospect is finally making her awaited transition from the sport of taekwondo to mixed martial arts. Loureda has trained her entire life in taekwondo and has mastered the traditional and Olympic style, taught to her by her father. Having already fought in three amateur fights and going 2-1, with her only loss coming as a split decision, Loureda finally believes that her time is now.

Bellator 216 Preparations

Speaking with FightBook MMA’s Sasha Moks, Loureda was able to talk about how she currently preparing for her match and how her training camp has gone thus far.

I’ve been in camp for about two months now, maybe a little bit more. I’ve never felt more prepared in my life. I really just had an amazing camp, my weight is amazing right now. I can really focus on my technique rather than focus on losing so much weight in the last moment. So I really feel I am in the best mind set for this fight.

Loureda has spent her entire camp at American Top Team, in Coconut Creek Florida. Training with some of the best fighters and coaches in the world, Loureda believes that her taekwondo background will only play to her advantage.

I come from a traditional taekwondo [background]. I also did fight Olympic style taekwondo. Growing up, my dad has been very hard on me…Me [and my sisters], were just a family of fighters. I learned to be very tough at a very young age and I really exceled in taekwondo. But as I was doing that, I fell in love with mixed martial arts.
I never stopped a day in my life doing taekwondo – its my true love. I would win all the qualifiers, all the nationals and my dad started seeing the level that I was at. Everyone would stop to watch me fight because they were just so impressed for the passion I had for it. I started fighting at a world class level and I started travelling all over the world…
I really developed as a martial artist in that aspect.

Feeling Natural During her Transition

Loureda has always been a competitive individual. From a very young age, her bar was set extremely high, and every time she would reach her goals. Although still relatively new to the sport of mixed martial arts, Loureda has more experience than most fighters at her age. She only really discovered the spotlight of the sports two years ago, when she watched it on the T.V

Two years ago I found MMA on the T.V and I knew what I could do with taekwondo and MMA that people are not doing. It was just their lack of knowledge from incorporating [taekwondo] to the sport. I just believed in myself as a martial artist to have the knowledge, and the masters to really bring that into mixed martial arts and to bring another aspect that people have never seen before.

Due to Valerie’s successful career in taekwondo, a lot of individuals may believe that her transition into the different elements of MMA may be difficult. However, it was due to her upbringing and constant training regimes that have accustomed her to the harsh training conditions required at the highest level. Her father has always integrated different elements of MMA into her core training.

People don’t know this but growing up, when I was young, my dad didn’t just [train] taekwondo. My dad has always done elbows, escapes from [positions], takedown sweeps. He would tell me when I was little to pair up with a guy and go back-to-back. We would get back-to-back and when he would say go, we would just grapple and wrestle. My dad has a traditional martial arts base and obviously when I went into Olympic style [taekwondo] I didn’t do any of that anymore. The first jiu-jitsu class I took I felt natural. I had a natural scramble, I had a natural understanding and as I started developing in muay-thai and etc, I fell in love with the touch, the combat bone-to-bone aspect of MMA and that’s when I really knew it was for me.

As she continues her preparations for her match, Valerie is well aware of the differences between amateur MMA and professional. Loureda is making her MMA debut at Bellator 216 against Colby Fletcher (1-2 MMA) on February 16th.

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