The UFC's first major event is here.
At UFC 297 on Jan. 20, two titles are on the line. Middleweight champion Sean Strickland, coming off a shocking upset of Israel Adesanya, headlines the card with his first defense against hard-hitting top contender Dricus Du Plessis. Meanwhile, the women's bantamweight division begins a new era as Mayra Bueno Silva and Raquel Pennington vie for the vacant title. And plenty of Canadian talent will be looking for massive wins before what is expected to be a fervent home crowd.
But for Priscila Cachoeira, survival is the name of the game.
Making her Octagon debut in 2018 against none other than Valentina Shevchenko, she was proven to be totally out of her depth and mauled en route to a second-round submission loss. A knee injury suffered during that fight did not help, and she spent over a year on the sidelines before her return to the cage.
That was against Molly McCann in London; and while she was more competitive, she dropped a unanimous decision. Normally that would have meant a release, but she agreed to replace an injured Yanan Wu against then-rookie Luana Carolina at UFC 237. She lost by unanimous decision again.
Cachoeira then hit a new low in October 2019 when, just over a month before a planned fight against Arianne Lipski, she tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide. She was removed from the card and suspended for four months.
However, not even that would end her tenure. Eleven days after her suspension ended, Cachoeira faced Shana Dobson in Auckland and finally got her first win, scoring a knockout just forty seconds into the fight - still the fastest finish in women's flyweight history.
Since then, she has found more success, finishing Gina Mazany and Lipski. However, there has also been controversy. Submission losses against Gillian Robertson and Miranda Maverick were marred by accusations of unsporting behavior (eye gouging and tugging at clothing respectively), and a unanimous decision win against Ji-Yeon Kim was widely panned as a robbery.
Jasmine Jasudavicius looking to end Priscila Cachoeira's UFC tenure before a local crowd
Cachoeira's opponent, Jasmine Jasudavicius, is one of ten Canadian or Canadian-based fighters competing at UFC 297. Having entered the promotion vis Dana White's Contender Series, she immediately impressed, defeating Invicta fan favorite Kay Hansen in her debut at UFC 270. She has cooled off somewhat since then, going just 2-2, but one of those wins was against Maverick, who would defeat Cachoeira in her next fight.
Jasudavicius is coming off a unanimous decision loss against Tracy Cortez at Noche UFC, so it is no wonder that she would like to rebound before thousands of her fellow Canadians. For Cachoeira, this fight represents a chance to spoil that homecoming and keep herself afloat.