Stephanie Quaile is out to rule EFC’s flyweight division ahead of pro debut at EFC 38

stephquaile

Team Ryano flyweight Stephanie Quaile makes her pro debut at EFC 38 in Durban tomorrow night against South African Amanda Lino, who also breaks her pro duck on the night.

Far from being put off by travelling to the South African city, Quaile seems quite happy with the arrangement, given that all of her amateur fights took place closer to home.

“The first fight I had was in Dublin, the second fight I’ve had was in Liverpool and then my third fight was in Belfast – so I’ve only really ever had a hometown crowd behind me once,” explained Quaile.

“It’s a bonus getting to come over and fight on the other side of the world, it’s great. The sun is shining, I don’t have people from work trying to contact me because they know I’m out of the country and I’m very excited to get in there now.”

Quaile is confident that the disparity between the climate in Ireland and South Africa will not hinder her chances at victory. In fact, having visited the arena already, the Ryano flyweight is anticipating it to feel just like home when the action takes place in the Hexagon.

She said: “It’s pretty warm but everything should be fine for the fight. We got to go down and have a look at the venue today and it felt like Ireland in there to tell you the truth. You body will generally feel better in the hot weather anyway. The hard work is all done now, I’m ready for Saturday night.”

Although fellow pro debutant and opponent Amanda Lino will get the hometown support tomorrow night, Quaile is confident that she has what it takes to have her hand raised. With a lot of Lino’s amateur fights being available to watch online, Quaile has noticed a few key elements that she thinks will play to her advantage in the bout.

“I suppose I’m lucky because most of her amateur fights are on YouTube,” stated Quaile. “I got to watch a lot of footage of her. She’s heading in as the favourite in her hometown, she’s won all of her amateur fights, but from what I’ve seen there is a good bit of a difference between amateur in Ireland and amateur in South Africa.

“In all of her amateur fights Amanda was wearing head gear and the fights were stopped very quickly. It’s kind of hard to gauge the level because if a couple of clean shots landed they just stopped it straightaway. I know she has a lot of confidence in her striking, but for me, her approach isn’t very technical. Her style is based around swinging big, wild haymakers.

“I don’t mind letting go of technique on some occasions, but this time around that would be playing right into Amanda’s hands. When she’s lunging in and swinging I’m going to look to land straight punches.

“I’m expecting Amanda to be a good bit bigger than me because she is coming down a division. I think the best thing for me to do is cover up as she’s wading in on me and then I can look for the takedown. I’m not expecting too much from her on the ground so if the opportunity to submit presents itself I will take it.

“If I get her down I might be able to land some solid ground and pound too, I might even strike with her – I’ll see how I feel. If she comes out trying to land them heavy shots I’ll look to take it the ground a lot quicker,” claimed Quaile.

Like her teammate Ayo Daly who also makes his EFC debut on the night, Quaile too signed a six-fight deal with the promotion and the Irishwoman is looking to make a name for herself in South Africa based on the performances she puts in under their banner:

“I’ve signed a six-fight deal with EFC and I want them to give me as many fights as they can, as quickly as they can. If I put on a good performance I’ll have a better chance of getting a quick turnaround. Nobody really knows me over here so it would be nice to make some kind of an impression before I come back over.

“I’ve never been great on social media, talking about how great I am and stuff like that – so I can’t imagine I’ll be getting any followers that way. If I can put in some solid performances people will start paying attention though.”

Finally, Quaile outlined two goals she has set herself with the South African promotion, one of which is to establish herself at the top the women’s 125 lbs division.

“Unfortunately, at the moment it seems like UFC decides what weight divisions are popular for women. At the moment that means the 135 and 115 divisions are the most popular, but a lot of women are competing at 125 lbs so they can either go up or down depending on how they feel.

“Worldwide the 125 lbs division seems to have a lot of competitors. Maybe it’s just a natural selection thing, but that seems to be the most common weight among the girls who are training. There’s a lot of competition here, but realistically I should probably be competing at 115,” she admitted.

“I’ve got a couple of goals going into this fight. The first one is to make everyone that’s paying for these EFC shows to respect the girls’ fights as much as the guys’ fights. That’s a priority for me, I hope I can help develop the women’s fight scene in South Africa.

“My second goal is to make a run for the title. I hope to see more girls come into the division, that way EFC will look to establish a champion.”

@PetesyCarroll

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.