12 May - 
UFC 237 rookie report: Grading the newcomers in Rio

Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For three athletes, Saturday’s UFC 237 event marked that special moment in their career.

Check out this week’s rookie report to see what kind of first impression those fighters made on the sport’s biggest stage from Rio de Janeiro.

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Viviane Araujo

Viviane Araujo.

Division: Women’s bantamweight
Result: Viviane Araujo def. Talita Bernardo via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 0:48
Record: (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Grade: A+

Consider Jon Anik’s words in his post-fight interview with Viviane Araujo when you look to describe what she did on Saturday night: “A star is born.”

Stepping in on less than one week’s notice for your UFC debut, and against a fighter featured in the top 15 of the UFC’s official rankings, that’s a challenge. Doing it by taking a fight up two weight classes from where you normally compete? That’s complete madness, yet Araujo did exactly that in a bantamweight clash with Talita Bernardo – hence why she registered just 131 pounds at Fridays’ official weigh-ins.

Araujo was phenomenal from the opening bell, looking loose and relaxed on her feet as she darted in and out of range of her powerful opponent, firing quick, straight punches and chopping at Bernardo’s legs. It was a composed, wise attack, and it saw Araujo rush out to a 20-18 lead on all three judges’ cards after two rounds.

However, Araujo wasn’t done.

In the third, Araujo landed a clean right hand to the chin, sending Bernado crashing to the canvas at the 48-second mark of the frame. All seven victories in Araujo’s have now come by way of stoppage – and she’s going to drop back down to the strawweight division for her next outing.

If you’re a 115-pounder on the UFC’s roster, consider Araujo’s own words in that exchange with Anik: “Vivi is coming.”