After unleashing a swarm of newcomers in its more recent offerings, the Octagon returns to ABC this Saturday (May 13, 2023) with just one debutante on its roster. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where Reddit occasionally saves my bacon, we check out a decorated Nak Muay Farang from Brazil.
Tainara “Thai Panther” Lisboa
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Record: 5-2 (3 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: None
“Thai Panther” — a two-time Muay Thai world champ who battled Valentina Shevchenko back in 2010 — fell to future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) standout, Norma Dumont, in her professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut. A three-year layoff followed, since which she’s won five of six bouts.
Full disclosure: there’s practically no recent footage of Lisboa out there. As it turns out, events like “Woman’s Fight 1” and “Dog Tower Fight 3” aren’t keen on archiving their material.
All I could find from this decade was her most recent victory, an arm-triangle finish of 1-4 Conceicao Oliveira in April 2022. That fight showcased some quick hands that transitioned smoothly into a Thai clinch, good knees inside, a decent foot sweep, and patient ground-and-pound from the top to set up the fight-ending submission.
It was a solid showing overall (watch it here), demonstrating solid striking and a reasonably well-rounded game, but there are a lot of caveats. “Muay Thai World Champion” is a functionally meaningless accomplishment unless it’s in a noteworthy organization like ONE or the Thai stadiums, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. On top of that, her MMA record is so thin as to be transparent. Her five wins feature three debuting opponents, one who was 0-1, and the aforementioned Oliveira, while her losses came to Dumont and 2-1 Lorrany Santos.
I tried to watch the Santos fight, for the record, but Shooto Brasil is agonizingly inconsistent with what footage it’s willing to share.
This is a weird case where Lisboa clearly needs more seasoning — at least until she fights an actual warm body — but she’s already 32 and UFC’s Bantamweight division is in dire straits. Debut foe, Jessica-Rose Clark, represents a huge step up in class even with her recent struggles. If Lisboa’s takedown defense isn’t up to snuff, Clark’s got the skills and mindset to grind out an appallingly dull decision.
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This story originally appeared on MMA Mania