Early in the summer I was asked if I would take part in TUFF Invitational 5 in November. It was a submission only match to fight Carly Hall, a friend of mine who I had lost to in the first round of the European championships of January this year. She went on to win the division.
I really wasn’t up for the challenge. My ego was saying that I didn’t want to be beaten again, especially in front of such a huge audience, in the venue and online.
A few weeks past and I spoke to a friend about being asked to compete on the show. He said it was a great opportunity and I should go for it. I was training a lot, I had a lot of support and felt really good about being in the spotlight for the match after speaking to my friend. Not everyone gets this kind of opportunity. The support and encouragement from speaking to my friend really helped me change my mind.
I said yes to the match, but only to find out that Carly had an injury and wasn’t able to compete. I was a bit gutted, but didn’t want to miss the opportunity of being on the show, so I asked another lady called Sonia Pires who I had fought and lost to last year. It was time to challenge and redeem myself from last years loss.
The show was 6 weeks away and I got a really lot of support from my coach Lee Catling. Training had changed and the tempo had really upped its pace. I was loving it. I love jiu jitsu, that’s why I train in the sport, but right now I was really loving jiu jitsu. No injuries and superb training was making it that way.
The day had arrived and I was nervous, but felt more excited. I weighed in at 2pm, then hung out with jiu jitsu friends.
We had a rules meeting, then all got changed for the official walk out on to the stage. I was getting more and more excited about the whole event as the evening went on.
When the time came, I warmed up, controlled the nerves and Sonia and I were called to the stage. We each went to our corner, shook hands and went to it. She pulled guard and as I went to pass, she grabbed hold of my foot and had a pretty tight footlock on. I have flexible feet, and although it hurt a lot, it wasn’t enough to make me want to tap. Then I felt Sonia give up on the position and let go. She almost gave me her back, but turned in to me which gave me an opportunity to grab her arm for the arm bar, but she pulled it away quickly. I came up and passed her guard in to side control. I could hear Lee telling me to control her hip, but my hips were too high (something I’m completely aware of now) and she bumped me over and grabbed my arm from the top. After seeing a picture later, I saw she had a kimura grip.
I was holding on by my fingers and even though I could have held on due to my strong grips, I let go in the hope that I could pull my arm out, then crunch, crunch, crunch and I yelled tap! She had a nice grip and my arm felt like it was going to snap.
The fight lasted 7 minutes. I was gutted that it didn’t go in to the EBI overtime, but I made a couple of mistakes that cost me the match.
Sonia and I hugged at the end and her hand was raised as the victor. I learned a lot in the match, and as they say, you win or you learn.
Thank you Sonia Pires for the match. I had such a great time there on stage, that it didn't matter, I had fun and thats what counted right there and then. Congratulations.
Since our match, Sonia was awarded her Brown belt. She is very well deserving of it and huge congratulations on the promotions Sonia.