Gillian Robertson gunning for another submission finish, Poliana Botelho prepared for all scenarios at UFC on ESPN+ 38

If history is any indication, fireworks can be expected when Gillian Robertson and Poliana Botelho square off Saturday night.

The Canadian-born Robertson (8-4), now residing in Florida, will take on Brazil’s Botelho (8-2) in a flyweight bout at UFC on ESPN+ 38 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai on the UFC’s Fight Island.

Robertson, 25, is well-known for her dangerous ground game, with seven of her eight professional wins coming by submission, and she said the game-plan is always to find her opponent’s neck as soon as possible.

Gillian Robertson celebrates her win over Cortney Casey at UFC Vegas 3. (Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“For me, no matter what, at the beginning of every fight it’s just a race to get to the throat,” said Robertson in an interview with MMA Empire.

“The rear-naked choke is my specialty, and all these girls can know it’s coming, and I’m still going to get it. That’s all the fight is for me, it’s how fast I can get there.”

Throughout her career, Botelho, 31, has proven to be most successful in the striking department, with six of her eight victories coming by knockout or TKO.

But despite her striking prowess, Botelho said she’s prepared for wherever the fight goes.

“Wherever the fight is going to happen, I will be well-prepared. I am very well-trained for any area,” said Botelho in an interview with MMA Empire.

Robertson proven against tough competition

Robertson has faced no shortage of tough opponents since making her UFC debut, including wins over Cortney Casey, Molly McCann, and Sarah Frota.

While Botelho holds a 3-1 record in the UFC, Robertson said she doesn’t believe Botelho has beaten anyone of significance.

“All of her wins are against girls who have either been cut from the UFC or have losing records in the UFC,” said Robertson.

“I don’t feel like she has any notable wins in the UFC, and the one legit girl she was put against was Cynthia Calvillo, and Cynthia was able to finish her in the first round. I feel like my fight’s going to go fairly similar to that.”

Following her most recent win over Casey back in June, Robertson currently sits ranked number 15 in the women’s flyweight division.

And with a win over Botelho potentially setting up a fight with a top ten opponent next, Robertson said she believes she stacks up well against any fighter in the division.

“No matter what, I feel like I’m a threat to any girl in the division. Even Maycee, I want that fight again. I’ll take any fight in the division against any girl who’s above me,” said Robertson.

“I believe it was in August I was offered a short notice fight against Antonina Shevchenko, and she said no at the time, I believe just because of the notice of it. I’m really hoping to get that one back, I’d really like to be able to share the cage with her.”

This will be Robertson’s second venture into the no-crowd atmosphere, first experiencing it at the UFC Apex back in June.

Robertson said although she loves the energy from the crowd during fights, she believes the silent atmosphere brings out the best in a lot of fighters.

“I love the vibes from the crowd, but I feel like you really see fighters fighting to their best potential when there’s no crowd out there,” said Robertson.

“There’s not as much pressure on you, and you go out there and it’s like you’re sparring in the gym. When I fought Cortney Casey, it was just awkwardly chill in there. It was just so relaxed, and it’s weird to think you’re in the middle of a fist fight at that moment.”

Botelho efficient in training camp, despite pandemic

A large majority of countries around the world still have many restrictions in place, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when it comes to gyms being open and how many people are allowed in at a time.

Botelho said despite the restrictions still in place in Brazil, her training camp was a different, but successful one.

Poliana Botelho
Poliana Botelho celebrates her win over Pearl Gonzalez at UFC 216. (Credit: Hans Gutknecht)

“In Brazil, there are still restrictions. We were training in separate groups, so as not to run the risk of contamination,” said Botelho.

“My camp was completely perfect.I started well before I helped Ketlen Vieira for her fight, and then I continued into my camp. I am very well-trained and very well-prepared to have a great fight.”

Botelho’s last outing in the cage was a unanimous decision win over Lauren Mueller back in April 2019, a successful bounce-back from her loss to Calvillo.

Botelho said the fight with Mueller proved she’s more than just a striker, and does have a full arsenal to work with.

“I saw that I am a complete fighter. Wherever the fight goes, I will know how to deal with the situation. The last fight I knew that the best thing to do was to put down and do a strategic fight,” said Botelho.

Robertson’s Shoutouts

“I always need to thank my head coach, Din Thomas. He’s the reason I’m here today. I also want to thank Jose “Shorty” Torres, and Gamblers Jiu-Jitsu.” Follow Robertson on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Follow Botelho on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM