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Central Coast's Tabatha Ricci preparing for UFC 285 in Las Vegas

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Posted at 10:51 PM, Feb 26, 2023

May 22, 2022 was the last fight 27-year-old Tabatha Ricci fought in. Luckily, it’s a fond memory with the fighting ending in unanimous decision for the Birigui, Brazil native.

Since then, she’s been training.

March 4, 2023 will mark the return of Ricci to the Octagon in UFC 285 in a match against Jessica Penne. She was originally scheduled to fight Penne in October, but Penne succumbed to illness right before the fight.

“It frustrated me not fighting in October because I had my family, team and everybody was there to support me and we were ready to fight,” Ricci said.

But Ricci took the time to learn from the disappointment.

“I do learn a lot how to go ups and downs, so I have been learning how to deal with the mental.”

Now, she’s getting ready for her return to the Octagon with Penne who at one point in 2015 was fighting for a title belt in the straw weight division.

“It’s an amazing honor to be fighting Jessica Penne,” Ricci said. “She fought big names and then she fought for the belt. She's the O.G. in the division.”

At 7-1 in her UFC career, ‘Baby Shark’ Ricci is hungry to continue her MMA journey as she continues to work towards a title shot.

“I think the pressure is always getting bigger and bigger, especially fighting in the big leagues on the big stage…think it’s going to be like 20,000 people.”

For someone who uprooted her life to train in Ventura, Calif. at Paragon BBJ, the nickname suits Ricci well.

“I'm the smallest girl in the gym and I'm fighting everybody. I'm going against the biggest guy in the gym to the smallest one.”

Ricci has been training on the central coast at Paragon BBJ for her professional MMA career and has become a rising star within the UFC. She is also an instructor. Recently, Ricci signed a partnership with the well-recognized local brand 805 Beer.

Tabatha ‘Baby Shark’ Ricci takes center stage March 4 2023 at T-Mobile Arena fighting on the undercard of UFC 285.