Kristina Williams fights for her first pro MMA title on Wednesday in the co-main event of Invicta FC 51, and she believes a victory could lead to her next bout being in the UFC.
Williams takes on 15-fight vet Ketlen Souza for the vacant Invicta FC flyweight title in Denver, Colo. The event airs on AXS TV and streams on the Invicta FC YouTube channel. “Warhorse,” a former Bellator fighter, has won three straight bouts since parting ways with the promotion and is hopeful that extending her win streak to four — and having a new championship belt around her waist — will be enough to get that UFC call.
” That would be the ideal scenario,” Williams stated to MMA Fighting. “I feel like that could happen if I have a dominant win, and that would be awesome.”
The 33-year-old had her first six pro bouts under the Bellator banner, where she went 3-3 against top-ranked competition. She is thankful for the opportunity to fight on such a large stage so early in her MMA career. However, she also learned a lot from it.
In a weird way, Williams is having a second career in MMA, and is much more free as an athlete than she has ever been before.
” That [Bellator run] feeling so far away,” Williams stated. Williams said, “I have completely re-invented my game. It is strange to consider.
” It’s more how I approach fighting now. My coaches used to make my game plans, and tell me what to do. But now, I take more control of my game, as well as watching other fighters. My coaches will still give me their input, but it is up to me to make the final decisions about what I want to do in the fight and as a fighter. Because I know myself better than them,
“I don’t have any coaches telling me, ‘You have to do this game plan,’ so it allows me a lot more freedom and I feel like that’s where this new success is coming from.”
To become champion and take one step closer to making it to the UFC, Williams will have to defeat the 12-3 Souza, who enters the fight a winner of four straight, which includes her promotional debut in defeating Maiju Suotama at Invicta FC 49 in September 2022.
Williams respects Souza’s game, but believes her own keys to success will be just being herself and not allowing Souza to gain confidence.
“She is a very active fighter,” Williams explained. “She switches stances and moves a lot, and she just plays her game. She can get too comfortable and it’s difficult to handle. However, I have seen most people simply stand there watching her, and then let her do her thing. That’s something that I’m just not going to do.
” I have several different scenarios [with how the fight will play out],” Williams said. It could be a standup fight but I feel very at home on the ground so I can finish it there. I’m always there for the striking, the elbows, slice things up with those elbows, and get the finish.”
When asked if at sometime in 2023 she’ll fight in the UFC, Williams kept it simple.
“Yes [it will happen this year],” Williams stated.