Nearly two years after her most recent fight, Hawaii’s Rachael Ostovich ‘grateful for the opportunity’ ahead of UFC on ESPN 18


Rachael Ostovich

Rachael Ostovich last fought in the UFC over 22 full months and a pandemic ago. As Ostovich continues to prepare for her Saturday flyweight bout against Gina Mazany (6-4) at UFC on ESPN 18 in Las Vegas, she says she’s rejuvenated from the time off.

“Having a long layoff definitely has its benefits to resetting me and finding that new fire, that drive,” Ostovich told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “Being in quarantine really made me realize to not take for granted the opportunities that I get so I feel like yeah, that’s really good.

“But also on the other hand, in the beginning of quarantine, I have to admit I was, you know, being like everyone else. Being the quarantine queen and just eating and being lazy so that was kind of bad but I’m back on track.”

Ostovich (4-5) submitted to Paige VanZant on an armbar the last time she was in a UFC octagon. Her return would likely have been sooner were it not for a one-year suspension handed by the USADA following a positive PED test. But she’s back now, and ready to get back in the win column.

“With it being a year and being not active at all, it definitely brings back that passion, that fire, that motivation. Just being grateful for the opportunity to still be able to do what I love to do, and that’s really what it is — I love MMA, I love the arts, I love the grind,” she said. “Can’t say it’s easy but I definitely wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. It’s crazy to see that people are still supporting me and still showing me love and still keep asking me, ‘Oh, when’s your next fight?’ I get asked that every day for the past year so I finally have to tell them, ‘Nov. 28, I’m fighting next weekend, tune in.’ I’m always just so humbled and grateful for that because we think we’re doing it for ourselves but when we look at our family, look at our friends, we’re like, ‘Dang, this is what we’re doing it for.’

“I look at my daughter, I’m like, ‘Let’s do this, girl. Mommy’s gonna get this win.’”

Ostovich will be the third fight of the main card, which starts at 5 p.m. HST and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN+. which ends with the headliner between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis in a heavyweight bout.

The preliminary card, which begins at 2 p.m. HST and will also be shown on ESPN2 and ESPN+, will feature a pair of local fighters in Martin Day and Kai Kamaka III. Day (8-4) will face Anderson Dos Santos (20-8) in a bantamweight bout, while Kamaka (8-2) will face Jonathan Pearce (9-4) in a lightweight fight.

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