Following up a breakout year is never an easy thing, as current Bellator women’s 115-pound champion Zoila Gurgel (formerly Zoila Frausto) is finding out.
In her first bout since winning the title this past October, Gurgel suffered an injury in her unanimous decision victory over Karina Hallinan that will keep her sidelined for the time being.
“I broke my hand and I’ll be out at least six weeks,” Gurgel told MMAWeekly.com. “(I injured it) at the beginning of the second round. I threw an overhand right and I hit her, but when I hit her it felt like a bunch of knives chopping up my hand. It hurt pretty damn bad.”
As for what enabled to her to finish the fight, Gurgel stated simply, “Adrenaline.
“I felt like there was something wrong with my hand – I didn’t know if it was broken or not – but I knew I had to keep going. I wasn’t going to stop, that’s for sure.”
Not only did Gurgel face adversity during the fight itself, she also had to make personnel adjustments with her normal coaches being in Ohio to corner husband Jorge’s bout at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson.
“The people I work with were actually with him, so I had to take a few different people (such as Mark Dellagrotte and Paul Bowers) with me,” she said.
“I’m used to hearing those voices in the corner, especially Jorge’s, that it kind of made things a little confusing for me not to hear my normal corner, so it was a little bit different.”
Having defeated Hallinan in her MMA debut three years ago, Gurgel felt she could do it again, although she’s not completely pleased in doing so.
“I kind of knew it was going to go this way,” stated Gurgel. “We actually kind of started at the same time, but I feel I picked up a lot more than I figure she did, so it went as well as I thought it was going to.
“I didn’t win the way I wanted to, but a win’s a win, so I’ll take it. I always feel like I could do better. Especially with this fight, with the corner and breaking my hand, things got mixed up, and I wasn’t able to finish. I’ll just have to go back and improve.”
After her hand heals, Gurgel is hoping to add yet another tournament title to her resume.
“Bellator has been talking about a 125-pound tournament, so we’re hoping to start that,” she said. “I’m not sure about anything else, but if they do have that tournament, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be in, especially that it will be closer to my (ideal) weight.
“It will be a lot easier than making 115 pounds and fighting at 78 percent. At least at 125 I’ll be fighting at 100 percent that time around, so it will be a lot better.”
While following up her most successful year in MMA so far has not started out exactly as she anticipated, Gurgel is intent on building off of the foundation she laid in 2010 and achieving even greater highs this year.
“I want to thank JG MMA, my husband Jorge, John Stutzman, Powerstation, Fifth Round Clothing, Mackenzie White, and a bunch of my sponsors that I forgot,” she concluded.
“Thanks (to the fans) for watching and for supporting me. I try my best every single time I go out there and I’ll continue to do that.”