For strawweight Tabatha Ricci, the novel coronavirus lockdown presented an opportunity for her to focus on her game. As such, while other fighters may have struggled, Ricci feels she has grown.
Since relocating to the USA from Japan where she focused on budo-based SEIZA competition, emphasizing her top class Judo skills, Ricci has worked on her submission game and feels that has grown the most over the last year.
“I think I had more time to train since I was not working,” Ricci told MMAWeekly.com. “So I think (lockdown) was not too bad for me. I was focused more on me, getting my training done, so for me it was not as bad.
“Since I came to the U.S. from Japan I started focusing a lot on my Jiu-Jitsu. Here training at Paragon, I have a lot of opportunity to compete in a lot of tournaments and I think my Jiu-Jitsu has gotten way better than before.”
For Ricci, the chance to now make a name for herself on the American MMA scene is something she’s been looking forward to for some time.
“I’m very excited to get this opportunity,” said Ricci. “I’ve had a long training camp, so I hope I’m going to be able to show myself and show what I have. I’m very excited for it.”
On Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D., Ricci (2-0) will make her promotional debut at LFA 90 when she faces Kelsey Ameson (0-0) in a main card 115-pound bout.
“I couldn’t find a lot of footage of her because it’s going to be her debut professional fight,” Ricci said of Ameson. “I think I’m just going for what we have planned. I really want to try everything.
“I think it not much matters (that this is Ameson’s pro debut). She may be good too, but just now has her opportunity to show her skills. I don’t think that I have the biggest advantage, since we don’t know how she is, but let’s see.”
Now that she’s returned full time to MMA, Ricci is looking to make a name for herself starting with a strong second half of 2020.
“My goal is to have at least two fights this year,” said Ricci. “I want to try to build a little bit more of my record. We’ll see how it goes. If I have the opportunity and I do not get injured, I’m looking forward to fighting again.”