Zoila "Warrior Princess" Frausto is poised to begin her journey through the Bellator Women’s 115 lb Tournament this evening as Bellator 25 returns to the historic Chicago Theatre. A journey even Frausto couldn’t have anticipated she would be undergoing just two short months ago when the already compact 135 lb fighter was offered to fight top rated Rosie Sexton at a catchweight of 120 lbs at Bellator 23 in June.
"I actually didn’t even think about being part of the tournament," admitted Frausto. "I knew that Rosie would be, but I just wanted to fight the best, and at 125 lbs she was the best. I ended up really surprising myself that I made the 120 lb limit as easily as I had and I was all for it after that. I had no idea that I would be taking part in this tournament. I was so focused on beating Rosie that I hadn’t even thought of it."
However, immediately following Frausto’s devastating first round knockout of Sexton which is widely viewed as one of the most spectacular KO’s in women’s MMA history, the wheels were ready turning in the Bellator headquarters, and soon after it was announced that Frausto would be stepping in for Sexton to compete in the highly anticipated Bellator Women’s 115 lb Tournament.
The 26-year-old Taekwondo black belt and Muay Thai specialist enters the tournament with an enormous amount of confidence. Knocking out the female considered to be the best fighter at 125 lbs in stunning fashion will do that for you.
"I’m the best striker in this tournament," said Frausto. "I don’t feel like any of these girls can stand up and strike with me."
And that includes Frausto’s opponent this evening. Jessica Pene didn’t string together a perfect 7-0 record from being a slouch, yet Frausto has no doubt that she will have the upper hand on the feet.
"Jessica is very technical but I hit a lot harder than her and I’m technical too. I’m positive that as soon as she feels my strength, she’s not going to want to stand up with me."
"I’ve been training for this for my entire career. Every time I hit my opponent, it’s time for them to try to take me down. I’ve seen it all before. As soon as I get a jab out there these girls are trying to take me down. They don’t like the jab so they’re not going to like anything else I throw their way. I’m positive that that’s what all of my opponents are going to do, and come the 19th Jessica’s going to be the same."
Although there is no questioning Frausto’s ferocious skills on her feet, she is quick to point out her level of confidence in all aspects of tonight’s fight.
"I’m not going to be afraid to go to the ground at all," said Frausto. "I actually invite her to try to take me to the ground. If she does, it’s not going to be pretty for her either because I’m pretty mean on the ground as well."
Whether it ends on the feet or it ends on the canvas, Frausto intends to finish the fight as soon as humanly possible for obvious reasons.
"The sooner I get the fight over with, the better," said Frausto. "The longer the fight goes, the possibility of injury increases. I’m trying to end it, and I’m trying to end it quick."
Frausto vs. Pene join a stacked Bellator 25 card this evening from the historic Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois that includes a duo of Heavyweight Tournament fights between undefeated Polish sensation Damian Grabowski and ground-and-pound specialist Scott Barrett, and two-time NCAA wrestling champion Cole Konrad will be squaring off with Spanish submission ace Rogent Lloret.
Also slated for this evening’s card will be season 2 welterweight finalist Dan "The Handler" Hornbuckle looking to rebound from the recent defeat at the hands of tournament winner Ben Askren when he meets dangerous hard-hitting UFC veteran Brad Blackburn.
Tickets for the event – which will also be broadcast LIVE nationwide on FOX Sports Net along with action-packed highlight shows that will air on NBC Saturday nights – are on sale now at ticketmaster.com