by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It’s hard to deny the fact that Carina Damm is deserving of a chance to shine on the big stage of MMA.

One of several female fighters who have been working their way slowly towards recognition for years, Damm is a standout, having won 15 of 18 bouts, and is in the midst of a 10-fight winning streak.

While having received some recognition during the brief BodogFight days, Damm will finally get her opportunity to become a true international star in Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers Series women’s 135-pound tournament.

“I thought I was finally having a chance to get back into the international stage,” said Damm of her initial thoughts of being asked to be part of the tournament.

“All of (the fighters involved) are great competitors with their own individual styles, which should make for all possible matches very exciting to the audience.”

While Damm is well known in her native Brazil, Friday’s tournament is the first time many American fans will be able to see her in action.

When asked to describe her fighting style, she told MMAWeekly.com, “My fighting style is very aggressive. I’m always walking forward, bringing the action to my opponent.

“My main style is jiu-jitsu, but we have been training in a lot of Muay Thai and boxing since I started in MMA in 2004. And now I feel just as comfortable trading strikes as I do on the ground.”

Having never been involved in a single-night MMA tournament, but having had experience competing in multiple matches in the same night in jiu-jitsu tournaments, Damm admits the key to preparing for Friday has been upping the intensity of her training.

“We have trained harder for this event than we ever worked before,” she stated. “My conditioning is at its best and I believe we are ready to fight full force for all rounds.”

The winner of the four-woman tournament will eventually face the winner of the upcoming Marloes Coenen versus Sarah Kaufman fight for the Strikeforce 135-pound title.

While some fighters may be thinking ahead to a title shot, Damm is firmly affixed on winning one fight at a time in the tournament.

“Right now we have to think of the fights on Friday before anything else,” she commented. “Our main focus is winning the first fight on Friday, as without that win, we won’t get a shot at the other two bouts.”

Regardless of how she ultimately performs in the tournament, Damm hopes to impress enough that Strikeforce recognizes her talent and she remains a part of the company for the foreseeable future.

“I always try to put on exciting fights so this doesn’t really make much of a difference in how we approach these fights,” stated Damm. “But it is a good sign that Strikeforce values one of the characteristics of my game, and hopefully we can have a long relationship with the promotion thanks to that.”

A longtime hardcore fan favorite, Carina Damm could be on the verge of major stardom should she do well in the tournament and possibly fill the marketing void women’s MMA needs since the departure of Gina Carano.

“I would like to thank all of you for the support and hope you all watch our fights on Friday,” Damm said in closing. “I would also like to thank my sponsors: Clinch Gear, FightChix, Combat Corner and RipDorey for the support.”