UFC Vegas 43: Joanne Calderwood reveals the sacrifices she has made ahead of Taila Santos clash

  • Tom Ward
Joanne Calderwood reveals the sacrifices she has made ahead of Taila Santos clash

Scottish UFC fighter Joanne Calderwood says she has sacrificed everything – including a slice of her own wedding cake – to prepare as well as she possibly can for her fight with Taila Santos on Saturday. 

Wood (née Calderwood) recently tied the knot three weeks ago with her long-term partner, John, who also just so happens to be her head coach at Syndicate MMA

But the 34-year-old was also in the middle of a six-week training camp ahead of her next fight in Las Vegas on November 20, forcing her to miss out on some of the celebrations.

Wood revealed she was also the ‘only sober person’ at her own hen party, a harsh reminder of the sacrifices she has to make. 

However, despite all of the personal sacrifice, she believes it will all be worth it in the end. 

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“Do you know what, I don’t think I actually did have a slice of cake,” Wood told GIVEMESPORT.

“I got my hair and nails done the day before and then basically the day after I was back in the nail salon getting my nails taken off before I went back to training the next day.

“And then obviously I couldn’t drink, I’m not a big drinker anyway, but I would have probably had a couple of glasses of wine but I didn’t have that either. 

“And also for my hen party, or bachelorette party as they call it over here, I felt really bad being the only sober person on the party bus, but they made the most of it for me and I still had a blast.” 

UFC fighter Joanne Calderwood pictured with her husband John Wood

Wood (15-6) was scheduled to face Alexa Grasso (13-3) on the main card of UFC Fight Night 198 this weekend but the Mexican was forced to pull out of the event due to injury.

Instead, she will enter the octagon against a rather unknown but equally dangerous entity in the Brazilian – which Wood admits will be ‘completely different’.

“Ah man, I was really excited for the Grasso fight, because she’s a fun fighter,” she admitted. 

“We’ve both come up from strawweight so it was going to be quite even in the weight class. 

“This fight with Santos is going to be completely different.

“I really want to get a submission, I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m going to get the win, hoping it’s going to be a good fight.

“But I can’t see it, I’m just going to go in there, give it all I’ve got, and see what she’s got.   

“I don’t think it’s going to be the most fun fight to watch, I’m going to try and make it fun, but I feel like it’s going to be a completely different fight.

“But still I’m grateful to be fighting on the card and getting paid at the end of day.” 

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Wood has also been training alongside Darren Till in Nevada, who temporarily left his family home back in Liverpool for an extended stay in the United States.  

Having not fought since his main event defeat to Derek Brunson in September, the Gorilla doesn’t currently have a fight booked, but has been knuckling down in the gym fine-tuning his game.

“Oh yeah, it’s been awesome,” she added.

“Darren has taken a step back from social media, which I think is great. I went through a spell of not having a phone for two years and it done me the world of good. 

“So yeah, I think he’s kind of taken a step back, and he’s just working on himself. 

“He was just focusing on getting all his injuries in order and just focusing on him.

“I think it’s a great move for him and I can’t wait for next year. 

“I think he’s going to make a turn around and go back to being the Darren Till that everyone knows and loves. 

“Or ‘Karen’ Till, whatever people say.”

UFC Vegas 43 takes place Saturday night. The early prelims will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass, while the preliminary card and main card will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

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