Flyweight Valerie Loureda was waved through an airport queue as she dashed to make a flight to the home of Bellator, joining ex-UFC challenger Yoel Romero on the trip while emotionally promising “another spectacular knockout”.
Unbeaten Loureda has not fought since she extended her professional record to three wins by beating Tara Graff at Bellator 243 in August, and the 22-year-old returned to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on a flight that she nearly missed.
The self-described model and actress watched some of the Super Bowl and revealed part of her paleo diet for her next fight before admitting that she feared she had set off for Miami International Airport too late.
“This hot terminal guy recognized me and let me skip the line,” she reported with relief, showing a member of staff behind her. “I think I’m making it.”
I almost missed my flight and I finally make it and I sit down and @YoelRomeroMMA is next to me 😂😂😂😂
— Valerie Loureda (@valerielouredaa) February 8, 2021
One of Loureda’s heroes, recently-released UFC fighter Yoel Romero, was with her on the flight and joined her for her visit to the Mohegan Sun Arena where two of her senior scraps have taken place.
“I’m getting super emotional because this is the first time I’ve come back to the Mohegan Sun and I’m not fighting here,” she confessed, having larked around with Romero following their chance meeting on the plane.
“This is my home and this place in Connecticut has brought me so much opportunity and all the blessings and so many beautiful moments in my career.
You and Yoel are gonna dominate Bellator
— Reid Stanford (@ReidStanford2) December 19, 2020
“I’m back to work and filming something for Bellator. I’m so blessed with my life and what this place has offered me. I’ll be back soon and do another spectacular knockout.”
UFC president Dana White explained that Romero had been released at the end of last year because he was 43 and had lost four of his last five fights, including a decision defeat against Israel Adesanya when he challenged for the middleweight title last March.
Bellator CEO Scott Coker had been undecided about signing the veteran but expects him to compete in the light heavyweight division after agreeing a multi-fight deal in December.
Romero joined Loureda on a balcony inside the venue. “This is where my MMA career was born and where the world got to see me debut for the first time,” she said.
“It feels so weird to be here and not fighting. I’m coming back soon to fight, regardless, but it’s just mindblowing to me.”
The promotion’s only officially scheduled event of the year so far will take place at the arena in March.