Ocagon Oracles: ‘Contender Series’ Winner Gloria de Paula

Gloria de Paula shows clenches her fists, which are wearing MMA gloves, at a camera before a fight. Gloria de Paula will be making her UFC debut against Jinh Yu Frey. Photo Credit: TVNocaute MMA

Gloria de Paula is a product out of Chute Boxe Diego Lima making her UFC debut with a 5-2 record. She signed with the UFC after she beat the highly touted Pauline Macias last summer on the “Dana White’s Contender Series.” A lopsided performance saw her get her hand raised and a UFC contract in the same night.

De Paula will be debuting against the former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Jinh Yu Frey. Having to move up to strawweight since entering the UFC Frey has had a rough go being 0-2 in the promotion. It’s a must-win spot for the 35-year-old Frey.

Shawn Bitter

Grade: B-
If de Paula can fight as she did on the “Contender Series” she will have a great performance. I don’t take much from that performance just because it was a favorable match-up for her. What I’m impressed with is her muay thai, her one-two, and solid ground and pound. Her takedown defense, grappling defense, and striking defense are all concerns of mine. With strong concerns, she has gotten better each fight and still only 25-years-old. The talent is there for sure.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Zac Herbison

Grade: C-
At 25 years old, de Paula already has a lot going for her. She has some brutal knees and elbows in the clinch. She can keep range while throwing combinations. Her strike selection is fairly risk-averse, with her throwing a lot of straight punches and long kicks. Her guard game and takedown defense have held up fairly well against her competition thus far. Her competition isn’t much to go off of, though. She’s only fought two people who went on to fight in the UFC, and she lost to both of them (they’re both 0-1 in the UFC, by the way). This feels like a move done too early. Her striking defense just doesn’t seem to be there yet. She doesn’t roll with punches. She rarely blocks or moves her head. She doesn’t seem to move her head while striking, which has me concerned for when she’s met with same-time counters by someone stronger than her. She hasn’t yet faced the level of competition that will punish her for her mistakes, but she will soon. Hopefully, de Paula grows quickly.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Vince Rodemer

Grade: D
De Paula trains at Chute Boxe and seems to have a background in Muay Thai. Her strikes are stiff and robotic and she doesn’t move her head. She will employ the clinch a bit. Until Contender Series, her competition was abysmal. She beat Thuany Fernandez (0-6), a then 17-year-old protégé of the Ribas family in Beatriz Silva (3-1) in her debut, Bruna Vargas (4-3) and Rafaela Rodrigues (3-1) on the Brazilian regional scene. There is nothing there. She is only 25 though, so she could get better.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Kristen King

Grade: B
De Paula is one of the more promising prospects to join the women’s strawweight division, so I look forward to seeing how she performs in her UFC debut. I like what I have seen in her previous performances – which includes a contract-winning unanimous decision win over Pauline Macias on “Dana White’s Contender Series” in November – as she seems to be a very well-rounded fighter already. De Paula has some great combinations and is always busy, which is a nightmare scenario for anyone willing to stand in front of her. There is always the possibility of an opponent scoring a takedown on De Paula as her defense is not completely polished, but she has shown signs of improvement and can hold her own in the grappling department.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Tom Albano

Grade: C
De Paula possesses some good striking, with the occasional bit of finishing power, while also holding some decent grappling skills that she continues to work on. She isn’t the most solid all-around fighter and doesn’t have a lot of MMA experience under her belt. Although, at 25, there’s still plenty of time for her skillset and her potential to grow. Getting a win over someone like Jinh Yu Frey in your UFC debut is a great start.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Joseph Shaw

Grade: C
De Paula has a nice match up here against Jinh Yu Frey and it’s a good opportunity for her to get the ball rolling. The reason I have given her a grade C is because she’s very inexperienced and it’s hard to tell if she’s going to be a mainstay in the UFC let alone crack the top 15.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion