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Bellator MMA prospect, Valerie Loureda is coming off of a convincing unanimous decision victory over her Bellator 222 opponent Larkyn Dasch. The Taekwondo specialist is still new to the mixed martial arts world but is already making waves with her exciting standup style.
The "Master's" early days in MMA began through a connection to Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Yoel Romero. Loureda (2-0) revealed to Luke Thomas of Sirius XM's Fight Nation that she learned wrestling from Romero and other Cuban wrestlers from his gym. "I love wrestling. I started MMA, before anything, was, I focused on wrestling with Romero and the Cubans in Miami, they're all Olympic wrestlers. Gustavito Balart, those coaches, and they drilled my wrestling. So I really got a lot of experience from that."
The 20-year-old Florida native now trains out of the acclaimed American Top Team MMA facility and counts Kayla Harrison, Gillian Robertson, Lina Lansberg and Amanda Nunes among her main sparring partners.
With such a strong taekwondo background, but no substantial MMA experience to back it up, Loureda admits that she experienced a lot of pushback from the MMA community in the early stages of her transition into the new sport.
"The only part that I struggled with is that I wasn't being taken seriously and that was truly affecting me," Loureda explained. "First of all, I'm a 'pretty' girl, so people look at me, they don't take me seriously. And second of all, it's because taekwondo wasn't taken seriously, period, in an MMA sport. So I was in there trying to knock out every single guy these people would put in front of me just to prove a point. You know what I mean? Every single girl that had been training there, I would go in there and fight her to kill her, just because I wanted to prove a point, and earn people's respect, and that's the way I started getting my respect."