By Caoilte de Barra
After bursting onto the scene earlier this year, Giulliany Perea returned to competition impressively at the 2022 Pan American Championships. Her silver medal-winning run at the 2021 World Championships made her one to watch in Monterrey as she moved down a division to strawweight.
The opening day saw Perea brought the distance by Jimena Osorio, the judges favouring the Brazilian as the winner. That ended up being the sole occasion she went the distance at the competition as she went on to finish her next two opponents with a kneebar to take home a gold medal for Brazil.
After racking up six bouts and battling her way to two coveted medals, all in the space of six months, the recently promoted BJJ Brown Belt reflected on half a year of competing and learning.
“It was a year of many learnings. Competing in the IMMAF where there are only the best ones. It is very fun and rewarding. I am very happy with my results, thanks to God, who has been training me every day, making me evolve a lot. I train at Nova União with the best, so I couldn’t help but improve.”
Focusing directly on her gold medal run over the three days, Perea said the tournament “was amazing, even though the fights were tough, I felt very well physically and thank God I managed to impose my game in all the fights.”
And after falling short at the last hurdle in Abu Dhabi, she explained that “the main focus now is to return to the worlds and become World champion.”
In Perea’s corner at the competition was her partner, Ketlen Vieira, who is currently flying high at the top end of the UFC rankings. After being unable to travel with the Brazil team to Abu Dhabi, this was the first time Vieira got to be a coach at an IMMAF event, and Perea highlighted just how important it was to have her there.
“It’s very important to have her here, with me, helping me in training and everything I need here. We train together, so she knows all of my game and knows what I need to do in every fight situation. That’s how it works when I’m in her corner as well.”
Thirty-four days before Perea stepped into the cage, the roles were switched, and she cornered Vieira in the biggest fight of her career against Holly Holm. Vieira came out on top against the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas to launch her into title contention. Vieira shared similar thoughts to Perea, detailing how important it is to be in each other’s corner.
“It is very important to be in her corner. I always say that we are life partners, trajectory partners and everything else. I’m sure that just like me, she also feels much more confident being in my corner and me in hers. We trust a lot in each other’s work, and certainly, we are each other’s safe space. We are very happy with everything that has been happening in our lives.”
After a breakout year for Brazil, they have shone at both competitions they have entered, bringing world-class athletes and coaches to IMMAF events. Perea hopes that the success of both events will inspire more to join the team for the 2022 World Championships.
“Absolutely! God willing, we will open the doors for other athletes to come to form a bigger team and go to the Worlds with a stronger team.”
Watching Brazil rise through the ranks over the past six months has been nothing short of exciting, and after finishing third in the medal table at the Pan American Championships with such a small team shows signs of big things to come for the federation.