RIO DE JANEIRO (CBS) A man allegedly tried to steal a woman's cellphone over the weekend, but quickly learned that he chose the wrong person. UFC fighter Polyana Viana, who was waiting for an Uber outside her Rio de Janeiro apartment, reportedly punched and kicked him until police arrived to arrest him. UFC president Dana White tweeted the news with a picture of the bloodied man's face.
Viana was waiting for her car to arrive Saturday night when a man asked her for the time and wouldn't leave her proximity, she described in an interview with the website MMAjunkie Sunday.
"He asked me the time, I said it, and I saw he wasn't going to leave," she said. "So I already moved to put my cell phone in my waist. And then he said, 'Give me the phone. Don't try to react, because I'm armed.' Then he put his hand over (a gun), but I realized it was too soft." It turned out that the "gun" was just a cardboard cut-out.
The 26-year-old strawweight, who made her UFC debut in 2018, followed her instinct and decided to strike first –– the best way she knew how.
"He was really close to me. So I thought, 'If it's a gun, he won't have time to draw it.' So I stood up. I threw two punches and a kick. He fell, then I caught him in a rear-naked choke. Then I sat him down in the same place we were before and said, 'Now we'll wait for the police.'"
At one point during the tussle, the would-be robber asked her to call police because he was afraid she "would beat him up more," according to Viana. Photos she took at the scene show the man's bloodied face.
After authorities arrived, she accompanied them to take the man to a health care facility and later filed a police report.
White expressed pride in the Brazilian fighter with a side-by-side photo of her and the thief after foiling the robbery attempt. "On the left is @polyanaviana, one of our @UFC fighters and on the right is the guy who tried to rob her," he wrote.
Viana (1-1) is currently preparing for her next bout against Hannah Cifers at UFC 235 in Las Vegas on March 2.