Standing just 4’11” and weighing in at 105 pounds, women’s atomweight prospect Kyra “Mogwai” Batara might not seem like the most imposing fighter in the world, but she is anything but dainty when it comes time to compete.
Despite some trouble finding competition in the amateur ranks, Batara managed to capture multiple titles and go 4-1 before deciding to make her pro debut on the upcoming BAMMA USA: Badbeat 12 show on March 28.
“It was really hard to find fights as an amateur,” Batara told MMAWeekly.com. “I had a lot of girls back out. So trying to get that 105-pound fight was a challenge.
“Going pro, I felt like I was ready – I wrestled in high school and did jiu-jitsu for six years – so I definitely had mat time under my belt. I had gone against Jessica Penne in a Grappler’s Quest tournament a few years ago and I train with a lot of the top level girls like Heather Clark, so it definitely felt like I was ready to make that step.”
When Batara makes her pro debut at Badbeat 12 in Commerce, Calif., she’ll be going up against Misha Nassiri (1-0), a fighter who also had success in the amateur ranks before turning pro.
“I see she’s more of a stand-up girl than she is on the ground, (whereas) I have a really strong jiu-jitsu and wrestling base,” said Batara of Nassiri. “She’s normally a 115-pound fighter who will be coming down to 105 pounds for the first time in this fight.
“She looks like a really tough girl and comes out swinging with pretty good striking, but I’ve been working on my stand-up (and transitions into) my takedowns, so I’m feeling really well-rounded going into this fight.”
While the match could very much be a classic striker versus grappler, Batara has had enough experience against stand-up fighters and has enough training to hold her own on her feet if she has to.
“Almost every single one of my fights, the girls have been strikers, so I’m definitely used to going against girls who have stronger striking than I do,” she said. “I’ve been working on my striking a lot with Gil Martinez, so I I’m definitely feeling really comfortable and confident.”
While wins and losses are important, for Batara, staying busy and continuously moving forward is the main focus for 2014.
“The ultimate goal is just to get in there and keep fighting and get as many fights as I can this year,” she said. “I’d still like to do more grappling tournaments like the Worlds this summer. I just really want to stay active and get as much mat time as I can.”