ROSE CONCEIÇÃO: Guide to the Strawweights and LFA 183



LFA 183 and UFC 301 are about to take over Rio de Janeiro this weekend in what will be Brazil’s biggest MMA weekend of the year. This MMA doubleheader also happens to fall on the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby’s sesquicentennial event, so it is only fitting to sit down with LFA women’s strawweight champion Rose Conceição before the 150th edition of the “Run for the Roses”. The undefeated champion, who recently spoke to about her career, now has her sights set on three key matchups in her division at LFA 183. She also discusses future contenders in her division, what has impressed her the most, and the ultimate goal of testing her own skills against the best 115-pounders in the UFC.


Watch LFA 183: Cantanhede vs. Guimarães


Naizi Cantanhede faces Yasmin Guimarães in the Main Event of LFA 183.
This is a key matchup, which could determine the division’s next contender.


The main event of any fight card gets the most attention from fight fans and pundits alike. In the case of an LFA event, the stakes are even higher as it is usually a tell-tale sign for bigger things to come for whoever gets their hand raised in the final fight of the night. The main event of LFA 183 is no different in that regard and it happens to feature two women gunning for a shot at Conceição’s title. Naizi “Malvada” Cantanhede is a top undefeated prospect from the north of Brazil with a penchant for dethroning media darlings. That happened in January, when she handed Lany Silva, the newly crowned ‘LFA Fans’ Choice Awards: Female Fighter of the Year’ the first loss of her career. She will face a local Rio favorite in Yasmin Guimarães. The proud Carioca has made a name for herself in both MMA and Muay Thai by competing and winning top-tier fights across the globe.


Naizi Cantanhede vs. Yasmin Guimarães: “Seeing them, I remembered a phrase ‘technique beats strength, spirit beats technique’,” Conceição explained. “I see two athletes with different characteristics. I expect a fight full of strength, technique, and warrior spirit.”


Adriele Castro battles Natalia Alves in the second strawweight bout of the night at LFA 183.
This bout will headline the featured preliminary card on the LFA Fight Network.


LFA 183 is stacked with a dozen explosive tilts with the second strawweight matchup set to headline the featured preliminary card on the LFA Fight Network. This was strategically placed in the middle of the fight card by LFA Vice President, Talent Relations Mark Bieri and fight experts know exactly what that means. The swing bout is generally used to get people excited to tune-in to the main card and is usually occupied by action-style fighters that are ready to throw down for the fans watching around the world. The women in this spot at LFA 183 are Adriele Castro and Natalia Alves. Castro, much like LFA 183 headliner Guimarães, will be the fan favorite in Rio. The woman known as “Bruta” is a finisher known for her gameness as she has faced high-end opposition early in her career. This includes a bout with Guimarães as well as top undefeated LFA prospect Aieza Bertolso. That trend will continue when she faces Alves. On paper, Alves shares a lot in common with the champion Conceição as they are both undefeated strawweights from Rio Grande do Norte. They also both won their promotional debut together at LFA 143.


Adriele Castro vs. Natalia Alves: “I believe that whoever imposes their style in the best way will win,” stated Conceição. “This is a striker against a grappler, a classic of fights.”


Gabriela Fujimoto and Claudia Alves get the strawweight action started at LFA 183.
LFA 183 features five women’s bouts in all three women’s divisions.


LFA 183 is set to kick off Brazil’s biggest MMA weekend of the year and nearly half of the dozen bouts scheduled are set to take place in all three women’s divisions. The action gets started at bantamweight with a contest between Leidiane Fernandes and Djulia Ariana and continues with a flyweight fray between Beatriz Consuli and Patrícia Batista. However, it’s the first strawweight bout of the night that has grabbed the attention of Conceição. Gabriela Fujimoto is an undefeated fighter from Rio de Janeiro and will enjoy the hometown energy much like Guimarães and Castro. All of her professional fights have been in the LFA and big things appear to be on the horizon for the 21-year-old. She will face the biggest test of her career against Claudia Alves, who is a seasoned veteran and regional champion from the north of Brazil with a dozen professional fights to her credit.


Gabriela Fujimoto vs. Claudia Alves: “Fujimoto comes with the characteristics of this new generation of athletes: a complete game, very technical, and patient. Features that I really like,” Conceição explained. “Alves seems to me to have “old school” characteristics. This is an excellent mix for MMA lovers.”


Natasha Kuziutina captured the LFA Interim Women’s Strawweight Title at LFA 173.
Kuziutina is an Olympic bronze medalist in Judo. 


Conceição has been paying close attention to every bout that takes place in her division as she likes to be keenly aware of potential opponents and contenders to her title. That of course means also watching all of the action taking place outside of Brazil and two international fighters in particular have caught her attention. Not surprisingly, the first is the LFA interim women’s strawweight champion Natasha Kuziutina, who captured the interim strap in December. This interim opportunity became available to Kuziutina when Conceição was forced to withdraw with from her first title defense with an injury. Kuziutina is a three-time Olympian in Judo, who won the bronze medal for Russia in 2016. In December, she became the first woman from Russia to win an LFA title. “Kuzya” did this by also becoming the first person to defeat five-time IBJJF champion and (at the time) reigning LFA Fans’ Choice Awards: Female Fighter of the Year, Giovanna Canuto. In the wake of that bout, the thought of a matchup between Conceição’s Wrestling and Kuziutina’s Judo had fight fans clamoring, but Conceição knows Kuziutina will need to bring more to the table than just Judo if she hopes to enjoy the same MMA success as fellow Olympic judokas Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison.


Thoughts on Natasha Kuziutina being the most decorated judoka to compete in the strawweight division of MMA: “The name MMA says it all,” stated Conceição. “You need more than one quality to stand out like Ronda, Kayla, and other athletes. These athletes may have a certain advantage, but MMA is unpredictable.”


Kendra McIntyre scored a viral Head Kick knockout at LFA 182.
The video has gained millions of views and is now a frontrunner for Knockout of the Year.


Naturally, no conversation about LFA strawweight contenders would be complete without mentioning the viral Head Kick knockout that took place last weekend at LFA 182 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The orchestrator of that stunning blow was five-time Muay Thai champion turned MMA prospect Kendra McIntyre. The devastating impact and startling destruction of McIntyre’s highlight reel knockout nearly broke the internet with many fans comparing it to legendary head kicks by LFA greats Holly Holm and Sabina Mazo. However, the Holm and Mazo knockouts took place in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions respectively, which means we just witnessed the greatest knockout in strawweight history. Needless to say, Conceição was impressed and sees a bright future ahead for the American.


Thoughts on Kendra McIntyre’s viral Head Kick knockout at LFA 182: “That knockout was devastating,” Conceição exclaimed. “One of those blows that lifts you off your chair!”


Watch the LFA 183: Preliminary Card on the LFA Fight Network


Rose Conceição is a Brazilian National Champion in Wrestling.


Finally, Conceição addressed what many fans have been hinting at. The fact that she possesses a style of fighting that Rose Namajunas showed is a style of fighting capable of dethroning UFC women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili. While a title fight between the two champions is a long way away, the potential for the matchup and stylistic contrast between the two champions has many intrigued. After all, Conceição is a Brazilian National Champion in Wrestling and her country’s most decorated wrestler to crossover into the strawweight division of MMA. Her wrestling has been outright dominating at times. Combine that with the fact that the UFC strawweight rankings currently consist of only two fighters (Tatiana Suarez and Loopy Godinez) with an elite wrestling background and you have the recipe for a prospect that could quickly climb the rankings once given an opportunity with the industry leader.


Thoughts on her dominant Wrestling pedigree: “I’m sure wrestling provided me with many things, studies, and experiences. It put me ahead in some situations. It gave me the basis to evolve, but don’t expect from me just a game summed up in takedowns,” Conceição explained. “Wrestling also taught me how to seek changes and constant evolution.”



You can watch LFA 183: Cantanhede vs. Guimarães this Friday, May 3rd. This will be the promotion’s sixth event to take place in Rio de Janeiro and sixteenth event to take place in Brazil. LFA 183 will emanate live from Complexo Ribalta and will be available to watch worldwide. The Preliminary Card will be available on YouTube and the LFA Fight Network and starts around 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. The Main Card airs LIVE on UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.





About LFA:
LFA is a professional Mixed Martial Arts promotion that was formed by the powerhouse merger between RFA and Legacy FC in 2017. It has launched the careers of over 300 athletes that have reached the pinnacle of MMA by competing in the UFC. LFA presents live Mixed Martial Arts events on a monthly basis around the world including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. Based in Las Vegas, NV, LFA is one of the most active and respected MMA organizations in the fastest growing sport in the world. The promotion owns and operates LFA FIGHT NETWORK™, a premium YouTube channel that features live combat sports events alongside live LFA Prelims and historical fights.

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