Making a debut on a national stage is never easy. It can be even more difficult being the spouse of a well-known athlete. But for Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez, stepping up to Bellator and following in the footsteps of her husband and UFC vet Gilbert, she takes it all in stride.
“I can prepare myself as much as I can for the fight and I can feel confident going in there, but coming in with my husband’s name and knowing the kind of athlete he is, I feel a little added pressure, but I’m ready for it,” Taylor-Melendez told MMAWeekly.com. “All I can do is train really hard and have it show in my fight.”
Taylor-Melendez feels she can build off her relationship and forge her own path in combat sports.
“My husband and I are different people,” she said. “I’m hoping to come out and show my skills.
“I think Gilbert is an amazing role model for me in sports, but there is always a competition between us. We were running this morning and were competing to beat each other in a four-mile run. He’s one of the best athletes in the world, one of the best fighters in the world, but I feel I can make a name for myself.”
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“It’s hard to elaborate on without giving away my game plan, but I do feel that I have all the tools to beat Hadley,” said Taylor-Melendez. “I’ve had a full eight-week camp to prepare for this. My diet feels good, my strength feels good, my mind feels good, so I’m excited to go out there and show what I’m made of. “
With a win on Sept. 19, Taylor-Melendez feels that it could be the perfect springboard for opening up opportunities both in kickboxing and MMA.
“I think this is huge for me,” said Taylor-Melendez. “I feel like it’s my coming out party. Hadley is a tough, awkward opponent, so I just really want to go in there and showcase my skills. A win over her is the first step.”