Sarah Alpar is gearing up for her 13th professional fight Tuesday night in Las Vegas — a fight that could change her life in a lot of ways.
“Too Sweet” will face Shanna Young on Dana White’s Contender Series 24 at the UFC Apex. The women’s bantamweight bout will take place in front of the UFC president, along with matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard with an opportunity at a UFC contract on the line.
The LFA women’s bantamweight champion, who captured the title with a split decision win over Joselyne Edwards at LFA 55 in November, is quite excited, as one would expect, for the chance to take her fighting career to the next level — a chance Alpar felt she may have already earned.
“I was very ecstatic (when I got the call),” Alpar told The Body Lock. “This is a lifetime opportunity. I actually thought that fighting for LFA and getting a title… Joselyne was a prospect for the UFC and they expected her to win. If you look at her, she’s a great athlete and I have so much respect for her. I was happy to fight her. I thought winning that fight would get me my in that way. Heading into that fight, I had been out a year and it was a very cautious fight just because of how powerful she is — looking at her record and seeing how many knockouts she had. I had to be very smart and it wasn’t the best performance that I have had. I had to take another step. Fortunately, the Contender Series came up and, yeah, let’s do that.
“This is cool, too because look at what the Contender Series has done for these fighters, these athletes. It’s awesome! So I’m really happy to take part in this, too.”
The 28-year-old is heading into Tuesday night winning four of her last five, with the lone setback being a unanimous decision loss to longtime veteran of the sport Carina Damm at Titan FC 39 in 2016 — a fight where Alpar was injured and many thought, including Alpar, that she had done enough to earn a win.
Alpar had received the news she would be competing on the 2019 Contender Series season, but the original plan was to have her fight earlier in the season. With her fight being moved back, it has given her some extra time to tighten up various aspects of her game.
“I feel like this camp has been a little bit longer,” Alpar explained. “They originally had me fighting July 2, and then they moved it to Aug. 13, so quite a bit more time. I will take it as it’s more time to learn, more time to get experience and collect yourself. I’m still very grateful for it. I’m excited, I look great and I’m ready to play punchy facey.
“I did have to slow things down a little bit. I was able to take a little bit more of a break because you don’t want to peak too high in your fight camp. That will lead to more of a downfall and that’s where injuries happen. It gave me a little more of a grace period, gave me the chance to have a glass of wine, so that was nice. We got back to where we needed to be and we’re ready.”
Alpar will face Young, a fighter out of Tennessee who comes in with back-to-back wins competing in the Valor Fighting organization. With recent wins over Pam Sorenson, Jessica Borga and Anastasia Bruce, the former King of the Cage women’s bantamweight champion will head back up to 135 pounds after competing at flyweight in her last fight. Regardless of who the opponent standing in front of her is in Las Vegas, Alpar is taking the opportunity very seriously.
“I did not know a whole lot about her,” Alpar said. “I just knew what her fights were about and things like that. Taking this fight, I have a good group of coaches and they are investigators, so I was able to get to know her real quick. This is going to be great. It’s going to be a really good fight.”
As we have seen throughout the iteration of Dana White’s Contender Series, the UFC president has laid out the criteria of what he is looking for. While that may change from week-to-week based on who is competing on the card, White has been pretty consistent in what he looks for: killers, athletes who are consistently looking for finishes throughout the fight. Alpar is well aware of what White is looking for and, although she has been known to finish fights throughout her career, it just adds fuel to the fire.
“It does (change my approach a little bit). It makes me want to be even more active, more aggressive and to come out and show my true colors of who I am, what I’m about and who ‘Too Sweet’ really is,” Alpar stated. “I’m looking forward to everyone seeing a side of me that they’ve never seen before.”
With an impressive showing in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, Alpar could hear the words she has been waiting to hear for quite some time: “Welcome to the UFC.” Alpar knows it won’t be easy, and would be honored to compete in the hallowed Octagon. Before Bruce Buffer can announce her name in a big arena, Alpar needs to take care of business on Tuesday night against a very tough challenge in Shanna Young.
“I definitely see my hand being raised,” Alpar said. “I see myself dominating, I see myself playing the game my coaches have given to me and doing as I’m told. If I do that, I’ll end up with a contract in my hand. All of the hard work, all of the blood, sweat and tears is going to pay off (when I get that contract). I might yell ‘I’m going to Disneyworld!’. That might happen. It’s like one of those moments.
“I’ve played that moment in my head since I started fighting. It has always been my dream, a goal of mine, to be in the UFC. That’s always been the goal of mine, straight ahead. I try not to put too much pressure of myself for it. Someone once told me, ‘When you live through expectation, you’ll be disappointed.’ So I don’t live through expectation, but this is something that I’ve worked very hard towards. I’m going to bring the best me with all of the hard work I’ve put in out her on the mat. I’m ready for it and it’s something I really look forward to.
“It’s a dream come true.”