Julia Avila (4-0) makes her Invicta FC debut this Friday, and she’s thrilled to be fighting for the all-women’s promotion. “The Raging Panda” takes on Marciea Allen (6-2 MMA, 0-1 IFC) in a bantamweight bout and loves the match-up.
“I’m really excited for this,” Avila told MMASucka. “It’s a great matchup. [Allen] has more experience than I do, and she’s well-rounded. It’ll be really, really good for me. I definitely applaud Invicta for setting up this fight. I’m here to test myself.”
Avila, 29, is no stranger to stiff competition even though she’s only four fights into her professional career.
She holds victories over Marion Reneau and Nicco Montano, both of whom have gone on to find much success in the UFC. Reneau in the No. 7 bantamweight in the world, and Montano became the promotion’s inaugural flyweight champion.
Avila feels that validates her, but would prefer any comparison to the two to end there.
“Those two women have been doing great on their own as individual fighters,” she said. “I know there has to be a comparison, but I’d rather there not be. If [those fights] were to happen again, I don’t know what the outcome would be but it’d be a hell of a fight.”
Fans can and will point to those two victories as reasons for Avila to be signed to a UFC contract. But for now, happy is an understatement for Avila’s thoughts on her multi-fight deal with Invicta.
“I have been following Invicta for a really long time,” she said. “I’m amazed at what they’ve done for women’s MMA and MMA in general. I hope to be one of those memorable women that go through Invicta and maybe one day be the bantamweight champion.”
Sarah Kaufman and Katharina Lehner will be featured as the main event of the same card as Avila’s debut. The two are fighting for the bantamweight championship, and perhaps an opportunity to go to the UFC.
Avila said she believes a couple of wins will get her a crack at her own opportunity for Invicta gold.
“I still have to earn my keep,” she said. “I think this is my year and this is my time to shine.”
She’s aware of Invicta’s status as a respected feeder organization to the UFC, but it’s not the reason she signed the contract.
“I just want to fight,” Avila said. “They were the first promotion to approach me, so I signed.”
“I want to be a good role model.”
She also feels getting signed to Invicta, the biggest platform of her MMA career, will aid her in the mission most important to her heart.
“I’m not doing this for celebrity status, fame or personal accomplishment,” Avila said. “I fight to be a good role model. It’s a great platform to speak to a lot of young men and women.”
Avila said money is not the reason she got into MMA. She uses her job as an oil company’s geological technician which she earned through a degree in geology in order to feed her family.
“You don’t make money off of fighting unless you are the Ronda Rouseys or Conor McGregors of the sport,” she said. “I’m not doing this for that. I’m doing this to be a good role model.”
That said, reaching the UFC would be a dream come true for Avila. She’d have the largest stage available in MMA to compete and act as an example for others.
“Oh gosh. It would really, really, validate all of the hours and time and hard work and blood and sweat and tears and mental anguish I put on myself,” Avila said. “There’s a lot of stress that goes into this. I don’t think people realize that. It would just validate that. It would make everything worthwhile.”
“Raging Panda’s” quest resumes later this week.
Oh, if you’re wondering how such a good-natured person got that nickname, Avila explains:
“Just don’t ring a bell. I’d like to think I’m pretty nice, level-headed and cute and cuddly. I’m the biggest goofball you’ll ever meet, but when it’s game time I’m a savage.”
Avila’s next opponent, Allen, will try not to fall victim when they meet at Invicta FC 29 this Friday, May 4 in Kansas City.