Image Source : ZUFFA LLC/GETTY Puja Tomar in action during her UFC fight against Rayanne dos Santos

Muzaffarnagar’s Puja Tomar became the first fighter from India to win the Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) in a watershed moment for mixed-martial arts in the country. Tomar defeat Brazil’s Rayanne dos Santos on a split decision, 30-27, 27-30, 29-28, to get her hands on the UFC title on her debut after becoming the first Indian woman to secure a UFC contract last year. 

It was a gruelling encounter that went on for all three rounds. Santos was powerful and user her height to her advantage not giving Tomar any chance. Santos dictated the terms for the major part of the 15 minutes before Tomar came into her own. Tomar went all kicking and screaming into the final bell and eventually won clash when the final scorecard came to a surprise of many.

“I want to show the world that Indian fighters are not losers. We are going all the way up! We are not going to stop! We’ll become a UFC champion soon! This win is not my win, it’s for all Indian fans and all Indian fighters. I walked out to my Indian song with the Indian flag, and I felt so proud. I had goosebumps. Inside (the Octagon), there was no pressure, I just thought, ‘I have to win’.  I took two or three punches, but I’m OK. I’m going to improve myself and I’m going all the way up,” Tomar said after winning the UFC.

On Tomar’s win, Kevin Chang, UFC Senior Vice President and Head of Asia said, “Puja Tomar is a pioneer for women’s MMA in India, and her win made history. India has a long-standing tradition of women excelling in combat sports, and UFC has been a platform for women to shine since 2013, so Puja’s debut shows how far the UFC has come as a sport. We are looking forward to Puja continuing to put on amazing performances as she represents India.”



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