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First Croatian female fighter in UFC ready to make debut

Ivana Širić-Petrović will make her UFC debut next weekend after signing with the world’s leading MMA organisation in April.  

Ivana (28, 6-0), who is the first Croatian female to sign for the UFC, will face experienced Brazilian fighter Luana Carolina (29, 8-4) in her first UFC bout.

The fight will take place at the ‘UFC on ESPN 47’ event in the UFC APEX center in Las Vegas on July 1st.

The Brazilian has been competing in the UFC since 2019 and has won two fights while losing three, making this upcoming match a crucial one for her. 

Ivana, who has arrived in Las Vegas where she is preparing for the fight, gained recognition in the MMA world when she became the champion in the French MMA organisation Ares in September of last year. 

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A post shared by Ivana Petrović (@ivana_mma)

By defeating Alexandre Tekenah, Širić-Petrović became the first female fighter in history to hold the Ares championship title. This event took place just one day before a UFC event in Paris, allowing UFC officials to witness Ivana’s performance.

After her victory in Ares, Ivana did not immediately join the UFC. She defended her title once on April 7th against Eweline Wozniak (7-1-0). With a submission in the fourth round, Ivana secured her first and ultimately final title defense in Ares. This win marked her sixth victory in her professional career, with five of them ending by knockout or submission.

The 28-year-old showcased her great potential even in her amateur days under the Cage Warriors Academy, an amateur branch of Cage Warriors. She won championship belts in two different weight classes but ultimately did not sign a professional contract with Cage Warriors.

Ivana, who was born in Mostar, has been living and training in Norway for the past eight years. Ivana represents both Croatia and Norway in her fights.

“I consider myself a Croatian living in Norway,” Ivana said in an interview with Fight Site. “I requested to have both the Norwegian and Croatian flags displayed on the official graphics in Ares. I don’t know why they didn’t comply. I want to compete under both flags in the future. I live in Norway, but I don’t have sponsors or fans here,” she added.

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A post shared by Ivana Petrović (@ivana_mma)

Ivana is now following in the footsteps of other Croatians to grace the UFC,  such as Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović, Stipe Miocic, Goran Reljić, Igor Pokrajac, and Pat Miletich and will now represent the Croatian colours within the world’s strongest MMA organization.

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