Maria Favela explains career changes after Invicta FC debut loss

    The biggest fight in Maria Favela’s promising MMA career also came under the worst circumstances.

    The 28-year-old women’s flyweight entered her Invicta FC debut back in May on the back of very difficult conditions. In the biggest fight of her career, Favela came up short in a unanimous decision against Josee Storts at Invicta on AXS TV. The loss took away her undefeated record and also sparked major career changes.

    “It was very tough, and there were a lot of mixed feelings,” Favela told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “I was backstage in the locker rooms crying, and I was very emotional, ‘Oh, I lost. I’ve could’ve done more.’

    “I felt like I had a mental block. I could’ve done so much more, but my head wasn’t in the right place. There were a lot of pressures and circumstances that lead me to not have the right mindset for the situation.”

    Favela felt she didn’t have a proper training camp leading up to her Invicta FC debut. She was coming off a canceled fight due to her missing weight for UWC 25 in February, which added pressure. Favela also had a corner issue, which had her scrambling last minute for help. Luckily, UFC fighter Cynthia Calvillo offered to help.

    “I had a friend who was going to be in my corner, and two days before flying to Las Vegas, he told me he couldn’t,” Favela said. “He said he couldn’t and had more important things to do. I asked my teammates, and they all said they couldn’t. So that broke my heart, that the people who at the time were my family all told me no. I felt let down, and I was very sad.”

    Following the defeat in her Invicta FC debut, Favela felt she needed to make changes. She moved from Tijuana, Mexico to Las Vegas and switched teams from Entram Gym to Xtreme Couture. It was a drastic change, and one that she hopes pays off as she seeks her first win under the Invicta FC banner on Wednesday night.

    “I moved to Las Vegas in May of last year after my debut in Invicta,” Favela said. “I decided to stay here due to the COVID situation and the borders and all that.

    “I was in Tijuana for almost five years. I lived in the coach’s house for the fighters, and then from there I got my own place. Then COVID  hit, and the fights started cancelling, and there were no fight and even no jobs. It was very complicated, so that’s why I made the decision to stay in the U.S. Here in Las Vegas I have my manager, there’s the UFC, and there’s more women to train with. That’s why I decided to stay here.

    “I no longer fight under Entram Gym. We split on good terms. I now train at Xtreme Couture. That’s my team, and I do my boxing with Jorge Capetillo. Those are the coaches who I have in hand right now: Capetillo and Xtreme Couture. But yeah, I’m no longer with Entram Gym.”

    Favela (2-1) takes on Sarah Kleczka (2-3) in a bantamweight clash at Wednesday’s Invicta FC 45, which streams live on MMA Junkie. She feels physically ready, and more importantly for her, “Leona” finds her mental game to be right.

    “My lesson for this fight is having my mind in the right place,” Favela said. “That was another life lesson that’s now helping my career. I think the loss did give me a little bit more maturity in my MMA career.”

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