LAS VEGAS — Elizabeth Phillips isn’t going to risk it. Not after last time.
The UFC women’s bantamweight fighter has one of the biggest fights of her career Saturday night against Raquel Pennington at UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. The last thing she needs is a wardrobe malfunction, like the one she experienced in 2015.
In a fight with Jessamyn Duke at UFC on FOX 16, Phillips had serious issues with her Reebok sports bra — it came up during a grappling exchange. That didn’t prevent her from winning the fight by unanimous decision. But in this coming bout, her first since then, she’s definitely going to take the precaution and wear another bra underneath.
“It’s pretty low cut,” Phillips said of the Reebok bras. “I feel like they’re doing it to make us look more feminine or reveal us more or something. I don’t know what the point of that is, because there’s no reason for it to be cut so low where it’s all the way down like this when most bras don’t do that. I’m definitely gonna double up this time, because I definitely don’t trust their bras.”
Phillips (5-3) is facing a huge chance on a big card Saturday. Pennington is a ranked UFC women’s bantamweight contender and this is Phillips’ first fight in 13 months, which has not necessarily been her choice.
Confident in her preparation with the likes of Julianna Pena and Michael Chiesa under coach Rick Little with the Sikjitsu team in Spokane, Wash., Phillips believes she’s going to surprise a lot of people against the popular Pennington.
“It’s funny, because everyone thinks Raquel has a good standup base,” Phillips said. “I know she does. But I think mine is better. I think that the casual fan doesn’t know about me yet and this is a really good opportunity for me to show off my skillset and prove people wrong. I love being the underdog.”
Phillips, 29, had momentum after beating Duke, but surgery to repair a torn ligament in her shoulder sidelined her. When she turned down a fight with Pennington early this year it was due to injury and she said she wasn’t offered another fight until this one.
Before the win over Duke, Phillips should have had a victory over Miliana Dudieva in August 2014, but some sketchy judging cost her the victory. The UFC later apologized for the scoring in that fight and another bout on that UFC Fight Night 48 card in Macau.
It has been an odd UFC run for Phillips. She’s looking to make the news about her about a victory, rather than some strange occurrence like a wardrobe malfunction. Not that she was necessarily mortified or anything.
“It happened and it’s not something I’m super embarrassed about,” Phillips said. “I’m proud of my body, but I know people are going to go, ‘Oh my God, my nipple popped out.’ I don’t really get embarrassed that much. Not about something like that, even though a lot of people probably would.”
The UFC on FOX 16 event was one of the first in the UFC’s apparel deal with Reebok. It seems like improvements are being made in fight gear, though Valerie Letourneau also had an issue with her sports bra recently. Phillips said the bra last year “sucked” and she isn’t going to take any chances this time without some backup.
“I don’t really talk to Reebok personally, but if I did I would give them sh*t about it,” Phillips said. “It’s funny, because I’ve never had a problem with bras fighting before.”
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