Former WWE developmental Diva Ivelisse Velez will make her Mixed Martial Arts debut in the Spring after shelving her plans when she was signed to World Wrestling Entertainment. Fight Card Entertainment has issued a press release saying that the 24-year old Puerto Rican will take part in her first MMA fight against an as-yet unannounced opponent at FIGHTCARD48:RUTHLESS on Friday March 1 at Cicero Stadium in Cicero, IL.
Currently living in Florida, the former Sofia Cortez admitted to Fight Card that she kept her hand in MMA even when she was a part of WWE, saying “I would always have (Muay Thai) mitts with me or first chance I get to hit the bag, I was there. On nights of wrestling events, I’d warm up hitting mitts sometimes”, and would also train at Gracie Fighter in Tampa to keep her skills sharp. After being released from WWE in August, she resumed her training, as well as wrestling in places like SHINE Wrestling, where she was defeated by Athena in both of their debuts in the promotion in November.
It looks like Ivelisse will be kept busy with her wrestling as she prepares for her MMA debut though. She is heading to Mexico next month after being revealed at the newest member of lucha stable Los Perros del Mal, and is also booked for SHINE 6 on January 11. 2013 is set to be an exciting year for Velez, though it will be interesting to see in which direction her career goes. Will she carry on wrestling and compete in MMA on the side, will she focus on the fighting and scale back her wrestling bookings, or will she balance both? With the Ultimate Fighting Championship now experimenting with females fighting led by new Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, would that be a potentially more lucrative goal to go for? With that and Invicta Fighting Championships focusing solely on women Mixed Martial Artists, it is certainly an interesting avenue to explore.
– Lee Burton