Bellator MMA sensation Valerie Loureda might be living her best life on the sun-kissed Caribbean island of St Barts, but the rising young star is still putting in the work after promising even bigger and better things in 2021.
Flyweight siren Loureda fought just once last year, returning in August after a 14-month hiatus to brutally knock out Tara Graff in the second round of their contest at Bellator 243.
That improved the Taekwondo queen to 3-0 in professional MMA – and the 22-year-old Miami fighter later revealed she was “not going anywhere” after penning a new multi-year, multi-fight deal with Bellator.
While the promotion suffered disruption last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Scott Coker outlined last month that he is planning for a busy 2021, rolling out Bellator events from some time in February.
As one of the promotion’s most eye-catching stars, Loureda will no doubt be part of those plans as the Florida star – who trains out of the famed American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek – aims to build even more momentum.
But ahead of any fight news Loureda and younger sister Natalie – a fellow martial artist – have been soaking up the sun on a break in the Caribbean.
Posting a picture to her 715,000 Instagram followers of the pair sunbathing on a yacht, Loureda wrote: “Catch us on a yacht somewhere or in the cage idk.”
Fans and fellow MMA stars lapped up the images, with Invicta FC queen Pearl Gonzalez writing: “Have fun ladies!” while adding a series of flame emojis – as did Brazilian UFC fighter Polyana Viana.
“Who else zoomed?” joked one fan, while another added: “a real knockout.”
The break – which started with a journey on a privet jet – hasn’t been all rest and relaxation for Loureda.
She shared footage of herself working up a sweat with weights and on a mat.
Despite her social media output, the photogenic Floridian has been irked by suggestions in the past that she is “just an Instagram model.”
She celebrated after putting Graff away by breaking into a raunchy dance in the cage, later explaining: “I’m still going to post TikToks, I don’t care what anyone says.”
The explosive finish was included in Bellator’s Top 10 KOs of last year.
Loureda’s year was then capped by her being crowned ‘hottest fighter of 2020’ by former UFC star-turned-commentator Michael Bisping on his podcast.
The young fighter’s counts the likes of UFC ‘BMF’ Jorge Masvidal as among her fans, as well as pop queen Demi Lovato.