The battle is set to be tough as American Elizabeth Phillips takes on Russia’s Milana Dudieva at the Venetian’s Cotai Arena this Saturday for the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight fight in Macau. Both promise no mercy, with each striving to come out as strongly as possible.
Dudieva, from Alagir in Russia, is making her UFC debut with a 10-3 professional MMA record, while Phillips, with a 4-2 pro record, fighting out of Spokane, Washington, will be bringing a combined ten first round finishes to the Octagon.
Elizabeth Phillips said that she is expecting Dudieva to come out strong, but promised to meet her anywhere, standing or on the ground.
“I have been battle-tested since I joined MMA, and that’s all I know. I enjoy tough fights. I expect this to be a grinding tiring brawl. She will know she was in a fight when it’s over,” Phillips said in an interview via email.
Although making her UFC debut, Milana Dudieva promises to fight back, assuring that she won’t feel sorry for her opponent. “I want to give the audience an entertaining fight,” she said.
Milana Dudieva’s family played a role in awakening her curiosity for sports. Once, her brother took her to see a martial arts center, and Milana felt she didn’t want to leave. “I really think that martial arts match my character,” she said.
Although Milana was brought up by a sports-
oriented family, she said that her relatives never encouraged her to take part in martial arts competitions.
“It was my decision to start fighting, although I had the support of my family. I was influenced by the chance of victory and the taste of victory, too. Once you have that taste of victory, you are hooked and I was always hungry to win.”
At an early age, Milana practiced melee combat, judo. In 2009, she was offered a fight, which would result in her first defeat. Not giving up, she went on to intensely train in mixed martial arts, hoping to achieve better results.
As an amateur, she holds several titles, including being the Russian champion for hand-to-hand fighting and belt wrestling, as well as world champion in belt wrestling.
Milana Dudieva is also the only woman who serves in her country’s Police Special Forces.
Elizabeth Phillips’ background growing up in America has taken her on a different journey, but she shares Milana’s passion for combat sports. Phillips was once referred by friends to a gym, and has been training there ever since.
After three months of training, Elizabeth took her first amateur fight, losing it on short notice.
“My coach says he tries to push us early to see if we are going to be able to deal with the hardships of mixed martial arts. He found me the toughest amateur fight he could and I competed well. After that fight I trained and improved,” she recalled.
Elizabeth sees mixed martial arts as the purest form of competition. “It’s good for me because I have some aggression that I need to get out,” she added. Her mother, she says, is her greatest inspiration, and has been supportive of all her sporting activities over the years.
An historic event, says UFC president Dana White
UFC president Dana White said in a statement that this is an historic event, as it will be the UFC’s first fight between women in Asia. “The women’s division has become very popular around the world, and Ronda Rousey has become arguably the biggest star in the sport. This women’s bout is an amazing addition to an already stellar card,” he added.
Rousey, the undefeated bantamweight champion who recently won the ESPY Award for top female athlete, will be attending UFC Fight Night in Macau on Saturday.
Senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Sands China, Mr Olaf Gueldner, said that this kind of event signifies the company’s efforts to help raise Macau’s profile as a world center of tourism and leisure.
The US based UFC is the largest mixed martial arts organization and pay-
per-view event provider, featuring most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport.
The UFC Fight Night Macao, featuring Milana Dudieva and Elizabeth Phillips, will be held on Saturday at the Venetian’s Cotai Arena at 6:00 p.m.