As you can see in the video above the petite Portugal fights like a tornado, conquering her much taller and often heavier opponents with speed and technique rather than brute force. Standing 5'2'' tall and weighing only 100 pounds might be a liability in MMA however, where weight divisions for women are almost non-existent, or most often not enforced.
Just like at a recent Strikeforce event in April 2009, where the much larger Christiane "Cyborg" Santos (7-1) from Brazil literally manhandled the significantly smaller and more experienced Hitomi "Smack Girl" Akano (14-5) from Japan. The bout was officially assigned to be in the featherweight division of 145-lbs. Santos, however, did not meet the requirement at weigh-in with 152 lbs on the scale. The event officials did not force her to lose the excessive seven pounds, but rather convinced Akano to fight anyway. This ultimately gave Santos a crushing weight and height advantage over Akano, who only weighed 135.5 lbs at the official weigh in. Considering the fact that most fighters shed ten to 15 pounds for the weigh in due to dehydration and limited food consumption, Santos might have very well weighed at least 30 pounds more than Akano during their bout. You can see in the video below how Santos tossed Akano around like a rag doll.
[image-1]The weight issue is one of the injustices in women's MMA that concern Portugal who also makes a living as fitness model and fashion artist. Agreeing to a fight where the odds are stacked high and heavy against one fighter does not make any sense to her. Nevertheless, she believes that Lifetime's female MMA series will be a great opportunity to promote women's MMA and improve the currently unfair lack of standards for women fighters at professional events.
While Portugal stated: "I love this so much I would do it for free," in reference to her participation in the MMA reality show, most MMA fighters going pro do hope to be able to earn a paycheck that pays the bills. The rarity of female bouts on professional fight cards as well as the lower pay in comparison to their male counterparts begs the question of how low the glass ceiling for women in MMA is.
According to MMA veteran Rob Kahn, who owns the MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training facility Gracie Tampa on Nebraska Avenue in Tampa, there is certainly no lack of skills or entertainment value in women's MMA.
For Portugal it is all about 'girl power.' She wants the world to see what amazing things women are able to accomplish. With her impressive achievements in amateur martial arts circles as well as her successful fashion art website, who could possibly doubt her.