Following a successful two year run in the amateur ranks that saw her pick up a XKO championship, strawweight Valerie Soto has managed to transition to the pro ranks with mostly the same success.
Since turning pro in August of 2018, Soto has picked up two wins in three bouts, both by unanimous decision.
“I think it’s just an amazing experience to get out there and do the same thing as always, but I tested myself multiple times now (as a pro) and it’s really fun,” Soto told MMAWeekly.com. “I feel like it’s a little different. I’ve grown a lot in this sport and I’m going to keep growing and getting better.
“It’s more intense going five minute rounds, but at as an amateur I was a strawweight champ, so I would go three, five-minute, rounds, so it helped out a lot. My cardio is great. I’ve never had a problem with that. I’ve gotten to test that as a pro to see how great my cardio is, and it’s still going and I don’t get tired.”
While some aspects of her game have translated to the pro ranks from the amateurs, Soto does admit that her full game has yet to show itself in a fight, but it’s getting better.
“With certain fights I feel like I hold back or do stuff that I’m not able to do that I’m able to do in the gym, but slowly I’m progressing and I’m letting everything go, and I’m putting stuff together in my fights,” said Soto.
“It’s progress in slowly getting comfortable with (everything). And I’m adding a lot of new weapons to my fighting style.”
At LFA 62 on March 22 in Dallas, Texas, Soto (2-1) will look to pick up her second win in a row when she faces Vanessa Demopoulos (1-1) in a main card 155-pound match-up.
“It’s going to be striker versus grappler,” said Soto of facing Demopoulos. “I believe she’s tough, and I know she believes that I’m tough as well.
“Everything I have to do, I just have to lookout for whatever she’s going to do; whether she’s going to try to strike with me or try to take me down, I’ve got to keep my distance and work my game plan, and hopefully come out with the win.”
When it comes to the remainder of 2019, Soto wants to just focus on fighting and let the opportunities come to her.
“I take it fight by fight and do whatever my coaches tell me to do,” said Soto.