LIHUE — Local fight fans had the chance to meet one of UFC’s rising fighters.
Rachael Ostovich talked story with patrons in a packed Kalapaki Joe’s in Lihue during a viewing party Saturday as the local sports bar showed the broadcast of “UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson 2.”
“I’m loving it. It’s my first time in Kauai,” Ostovich said. “I was a little nervous and scared, but everyone’s so nice and loving. It feels like I’m back at home, honestly.”
Ostovich, who lives in Waianae, said while the people she comes across are thrilled to meet her, she’s equally excited to meet them.
“Whenever I get asked to do these type of events, honestly, I’m just so grateful,” she said. “Like, ‘Oh, my gosh. People really want to meet me.’ In my head, I’m still a regular person and a regular girl. I’m still trying to adjust to living this lifestyle. For me, I love meeting people. I love meeting the fans. I treat them like how I would want to be treated when I meet someone.”
Ostovich was recently in headlines for a less positive reason. Ostovich’s husband, Arnold Berdon III, was charged with second-degree assault against her after an alleged incident in November.
Earlier this month, Berdon entered a plea of not guilty to the charge and his trial is scheduled for February. He is free after posting $75,000 bail, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The Star-Advertiser also reported Ostovich has since filed for divorce.
Ostovich declined to comment about the incident. But with the upcoming trial and also her fight with Paige VanZant looming, she did say she’s taking it “day by day.”
“It’s been rough going through all of this, but I basically just want to show anybody that no matter what you go through — ups and downs — you can do anything you put your mind to,” she said. “No matter how negative the situation, I believe you can turn any negative into a positive and make the best of it.
“I’m hoping to motivate, maybe inspire or even help other people that were in my situation. Yeah, it was hard for me. It’s still hard for me, but I’m taking it day by day. I’m just like anybody else who has their struggles. It just so happens mine blew up on the news. But I’m just like anybody else who has their problems. I’m hoping people can relate and we can grow with each other and be better from it.”
Ostovich (4-4) is scheduled to meet VanZant (7-4) in a women’s flyweight bout on Jan. 19 as part of the fight card in “UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw” in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“This training camp was a lot different from the others, a lot of obstacles I ran into,” Ostovich said. “Injuries here and there that I had to work through, but we’re fighters. I’m a fighter. I’m always going to be fighting, and I’m going to fight through this. Life still goes on. I’m going to fight for my dreams in my career and not let anything hold me back. I think I would be more disappointed or sad with myself if I didn’t have this fight to work toward.”
When asked how she envisions her fight will turn out, Ostovich said: “It’s so hard with fights. MMA can go any way. That’s why I always say, ‘be humble,’ because you never know what can happen in a fight. It’s a fight. Everyone knows I’m a wrestler. I have a good ground game. I feel my ground game is better than hers. I feel that my stand-up is even better than hers, too. I know have to be in shape and be ready mentally, physically and spiritually. I’m just hoping for a really good fight. I’m excited.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.