by Amanda Buckner (Courtesy of Ring of Fire)
(Bazler and Buckner throwing down – Photo courtesy of April Pishna)
Amanda Buckner has been continuously athletic since a very young age. She starred as point guard on the University of Maine-Farmington’s basketball team for 4 years, but the call of more challenging sports was too hard to ignore. Though her training lineage includes Renzo Gracie, Buckner has been trained largely by Jay Jack, her husband and co-owner of the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts. She’s fought and won in numerous competitions including RING OF FIRE, Smack Girl Japan, MFC, and most recently Bodog Fights. Within her first six months on the competitive circuit, Buckner ranked among the top ten female mixed martial artists in her weight class. Her fighting style is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Freestyle.
Amanda had the following comments about her fights and opponents of 2006:
12-11-05, Ring of Fire, Shayna Bazler,win – armbar: I had never heard of Shayna before this fight. Fortunately I never take anybody lightly and that proved to be a good decision in this case. Shayna escaped a couple of pretty solid submission attempts early in the fight and I then found myself on the other end of that coin defending a rear naked choke. Near the end of the first round I was able to secure an armbar. This fight was a turning point for me in terms of having to face adversity in a fight but being able to remain calm and come out on top.
2-15-06, Smackgirl Japan, Megumi Yabushiti win – guillotine: I had seen enough tape on Megumi to know that she was tough, played the rules of Smackgirl really well, and had a couple of things she was really good at. My coach developed a gameplan for me that worked perfectly against Megumi and most importantly prevented her from throwing me on my head with her great judo. I was able to secure a guillotine towards the end of the first round.
6-3-06, MFC, Shayna Bazler, win – TKO: I knew this fight was going to be really tough. I knew Shayna would be really fired up to avenge her loss from back in December. Shayna did a great job in this fight of using her height to establish a strong thai clinch and land some really strong knees to my face. My nose was bleeding pretty much from the get go and forget being able to breathe out of it. This fight had pretty much everything except prolonged standing exchanges. I was able to get all of the takedowns but Shayna did a good job getting her full guard back each time. At the end of two rounds the judges had it even which, in the MFC, called for a third round. I was able to come out strong in this round, getting the takedown and staying relentless on the ground until I was able to get dominant position and the TKO. I left this fight knowing that people may not know Shayna yet but they will soon.
8-22-06,BodogFight, Tara LaRosa,loss – rnc: This was probably one of my most heartbreaking fights ever. Everything was perfect for this fight, I had a great training camp, was in great shape and felt good. This was probably one of my best performances to date but when you fight good people you just can’t win them all. This fight had everything, standing exchanges, ground work, wrestling. It was one of the best fights that BodogFight has had. The biggest thing I took from this fight was the importance of picking your spots to go hard and the importance of good decision making during a fight. The one thing I can say for sure is that I can’t wait for the rematch.
12-14-06, Bodog Fight, Julie Kedzie, result:??????? This was my second go-around with the BodogFight TV experience. I definitely felt that knowing what to expect was a great help. My stress level was much lower and I was better able to make sure I wasn’t burnt out by fight time. Julie was probably one of the nicest people I’ve met in the fight game. As for the results………we’ll have to wait and see it on TV.
My main goal for the next year is to really a make a push to get womens fighting acknowledged for the strides we’ve made. Womens fighting has long since stopped being a sideshow or a cat fight. Unfortunately getting this recognized by people both in the sport and out is easier said than done.
I will be doing two things to do my part in making this happen. I will continue to try and book fights with the best out there. Fighting the toughest fighters brings out the best in me as well as giving the fans fights to remember. I also plan on searching out legitimate businesses that are serious about promoting and supporting a top female fighter. By the end of next year I’m hoping to have a number of great fights under my belt as well as some great sponsors that share my vision for getting women fighters their share of the spotlight.
I have to thank two sponsors that have great products, Sprawl and Lightforce Greens. My largest thanks always has to go to my coach and husband Jay Jack for his continued and unrivaled enthusiasm for my potential as well as the potential of women in the sport. Thanks to Sven Bean for giving me my start in the fight game as well as his continued help and support. Thanks to Amal Easton for helping me get started in BJJ as well as his continued support. Thanks also to all of our students at the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts for their support as well as their patience with our occasional absence due to fights.