Pearl Gonzalez On UFC Release, Invicta FC Debut vs. Kali Robbins

Former UFC strawweight Pearl Gonzalez had quite the interesting 2017.

The Chicago native made her UFC debut at UFC 210 against Cynthia Calvillo in April, but the experience was far from a smooth one. 

The fight almost got pulled by the New York Athletic Commission during the weigh-ins due to a controversial rule but ultimately was permitted to happen, resulting in a third-round submission defeat for Gonzalez. 

Gonzalez’s next fight took place in April, as she took on Poliana Botelho at UFC 216. Gonzalez would again find herself on the losing end, this time via unanimous decision.

“I think mentally I had a tough time allowing myself to get comfortable and just show my skills,” Gonzalez told FloCombat. “I think I allowed the pressure of the big lights and the stage and being on the big show affect my performance. 

"Obviously, when you're not mentally there, it will show up physically. For me, that's where I was in that fight. It was a mental mishap.”

Unfortunately for Gonzalez, the loss would result in her being released from the UFC that December. The general consensus was that Gonzalez wasn’t quite ready for the highest level just yet. Although she had the potential and the marketability to make it far, she lacked the experience, having only fought seven times prior to her UFC signing.

But Gonzalez doesn’t see her release as a bad thing.

“I'm blessed. I got to the highest level of this sport and that's what I'm here to do,” Gonzalez said. “I'm here to get to the highest level and challenge myself. I think that this is a learning experience and a journey and I'm enjoying the ride. Every setback, every failure is a blessing in disguise, and I'm blessed to be here today to continue and work toward that.”

Gonzalez wasn’t hung out to dry after her release. The UFC offered her the chance to sign with the biggest women’s MMA organization in the world, Invicta FC, an offer the promotion also extended to Angela Hill. After winning four straight under the Invicta banner, Hill is now back in the UFC, where she's competed four times since that initial release. 

Now, they’ve done the same for Gonzalez.

“(UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby loves me and wants to see me get some more work in, which I agree with,” Gonzalez said. “I know I'd like to get some more experience in there and get more comfortable in the Octagon under the big lights. My goal is to be back in the UFC by the end of this year.”

Funny enough, fighting for Invicta was one of Gonzalez’s goals even before this happened.

“(Invicta FC President) Shannon Knapp is amazing. I've always wanted to fight for her and it just worked out perfectly,” Gonzalez said. “I'm so excited to fight for Invicta. It was actually one of my dreams to fight for their show. So this is such a great opportunity for me.”

After signing with Invicta, Gonzalez decided to take a trip to Thailand in order to improve her Muay Thai.

“I was in Thailand for a month working on my Muay Thai and striking,” Gonzalez said. “I was just looking to add to my arsenal.”

The trip ended up being extremely beneficial, as she got to learn and improve not only as a fighter but also as a person.

“It was amazing, it was very humbling," Gonzalez said. "It was a culture that I got to experience and I got to go to temples and learn about how the Thai people look at Muay Thai and how it's an honor to compete. I met some amazing Muay Thai coaches. It was such a blessing. 

"I definitely came back from it a better woman.”

Now back from Thailand, Gonzalez meets Kali Robbins (5-0, all finishes) at Invicta FC 28 on March 24 in her promotional debut.

“I think she's really tough,” Gonzalez said. “I'm really excited for this matchup. I think that she obviously likes the ground and the grappling game, which is something that I love and is really dear to my heart. I'm excited for it. I'm up for the challenge, and I'm ready to show the world my skills.

“I think I match up really well,” Gonzalez continued. “I think I, myself, am a grappler as well, although I've been working really hard on my striking. I look forward to showcasing my striking and my wrestling defense in this fight.”

Gonzalez’s prediction for the fight remains simple and feasible.

“A finish.”

By Lucas Grandsire

Devin Clark vs. Darko Stosic Slated For UFC Stockholm

After an opponent fallout this past weekend at UFC St. Petersburg, the promotion wasted no time re-booking light heavyweight Devin Clark (9-3). "Brown Bear" will square off with Serbia's Darko Stosic (13-1) June1 at UFC Fight Night 152 in Stockholm, sources tell FloCombat.

Follow These 5 Fighters On Twitter -- Now | Top Turtle MMA Podcast

To get the fans ready for UFC Fight Night 149 in St. Petersburg, Russia, we're breaking down the three most intriguing fights from the card, and it's all big boys. Two different heavyweight fights and one light heavyweight fight is on "Gumby's" docket for the breakdown. 

Krzysztof Jotko Ready To Brush Off Losses: 'I Live In The Future'

Some fighters in the position of Krzysztof Jotko would feel plenty of pressure. After rattling off a five-fight winning streak that had him ranked as high as No. 9 in the UFC middleweight division, he’s now lost straight. Despite this run of bad luck, Jotko is completely relaxed going into his fight this weekend at UFC Fight Night 149 in St. Petersburg, Russia

Blue-Chip Wrestling Prospect Romero Cotton Added To Bellator 221

Undefeated Bellator MMA blue-chip wrestling prospect Romero Cotton (3-0) is back.

UFC Fight Announcements: Askren, Masvidal, Sterling, Yan, More

With fight announcements breaking each and every day, it’s hard to keep track of all the hustle and bustle in the world of mixed martial arts. 

Bellator MMA Inks Russian Middleweight Grachik Bozinyan

Grachik Bozinyan is the newest addition to the Bellator MMA 185-pound roster.

The Treadmill That Broke Andre Soukhamthath's Spirit

Post-fight bonuses can be life-changing for fighters. It affords some the opportunity to train full-time, others go on big vacations. After his Fight of the Night with Sean O’Malley, Andre Soukhamthath’s life changed too, but more so in the way that he saw things rather than what he did with the money. 

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Ranking The Top 5 Interim Fighters

People seem to hate interim title fights, but here we are this weekend with two amazing interim title fights on tap: Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier and Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum. 

Randy Costa Brings Fallen Friend With Him Into UFC Debut

Saturday's UFC 236 card in Atlanta features the debut of FloCombat veteran Randy Costa. The Joe Lauzon underling will be taking on high-action striker Brandon Davis in the opening fight of the night.

Shanna Young vs. LFA Champ Sarah Alpar Slated For Contender Series

Bantamweights Shanna Young (6-1) and Sarah Alpar (8-4) are bound for Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series.