by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
“Lethal” Lana Stefanac is not your average woman. Standing nearly six feet tall and weighing in around 200 pounds, this powerhouse of a woman has dominated both the grappling and women’s mixed martial arts fields.
Having won multiple national and world titles in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Stefanac’s grappling record is impressive with nearly 200 wins and only 3 losses in combined Gi and No Gi competition.
Add to that an undefeated record of 5-0 in MMA, and you’ve got the makings of one of combat sports truly rising talents.
After a successful trip to Japan for the Smackgirl promotion in December, Stefanac returns to the U.S. to take on Teyvia Reed for Fatal Femmes. The Thursday night bout in Los Angeles will determine the promotion’s heavyweight champion.
“I’m feeling pretty strong,” Stefanac said of her U.S. return. “In Abu Dhabi (last year) I cracked my kneecap, split it right up the middle, and ended up going through my division with a split kneecap, torn meniscus and ACL.
“Right now, everything’s feeling about 99.9% and my other leg is at 150%, so that makes up for it.”
Back healthy and ready to return to action, Stefanac will be taking on Reed in a rematch of their November 2006 fight, a fight which Reed contests the outcome of.
“I fought Teyvia about a year ago in Indiana at the main event of Full Contact Fight Series, and I took her down real quick and armbarred her,” commented Stefanac. “She was really, really unhappy with the armbar and referee’s stoppage (of the fight).
“I believe it was a legitimate armbar, but I don’t feel good if someone doesn’t feel I legitimately beat them. Out of respect for the opponent I would give them a rematch anytime, and since she feels I didn’t submit her, I’m giving her this rematch.”
Stefanac goes on to point out that there have been some changes in her game since the first time they met.
“I have a couple tricks up my sleeve for her this time,” she stated. “I definitely know that I’ve grown more this last year than I have in the last five years doing jiu-jitsu.
“My last fight in Japan was mainly a stand-up fight that went to a decision, which I’ve never done before, but it just goes to show you that I can bang on my feet as well as go to the ground. I’m happy with both (my stand-up and jiu-jitsu), but I don’t care where it ends as long as it’s quick.”
Along with Stefanac’s heavyweight title fight with Reed, Fatal Femmes is also going to showcase other fights across multiple weight classes, something that pleases her and fans of divisions outside the usually showcased 135- and 125-pound weight classes.
“These all-women’s cards, like Fatal Femmes, having a title fight for the heavyweight and lightweight divisions, that’s what I like to see,” commented Stefanac. “Not just throwing in individual bouts, but having actual divisions for women, like heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight and featherweight.
“There’s girls that are high-end who can’t fight at 135. So, I think there should be more organized weight classes for women, like there are for men. Hopefully as time rolls on, that will change.”
As for the rest of her year, Stefanac looks to be busy both inside and outside the cage.
“I have a lot of stuff planned this year,” she commented. “I would like to have at least three or four fights this year, and I’d like to go back to Abu Dhabi and take first instead of second.
“A lot of stuff is popping up for my all-girls team as well. We have New Zealand coming up on May 31 for the Princesses of Pain show. (Women’s leagues) are forming out of Japan and I think there’s a Canadian league and a European league as well, so I’m pretty excited about that.”
As more women get into the sport of MMA, talent beyond the 135- and 125-pound weight classes will begin to emerge, and for established talent such as heavyweight sensation Lana Stefanac that means increased exposure and new challenges ahead.
“I’d like to thank San Francisco Krav Maga, Barny and Gail Foland, my sponsors, Ernie Gelder, House and Pain and Gameness,” concluded Stefanac. “Come out and watch the fight, it’s going to be great.
“There’s the heavyweight title fight with me and Teyvia; and a lightweight title match with Roxanne Modafferi and Vanessa Porto. I have two other girls on this card, Veronica LoCurto and Tamara Parks, and you guys need to keep your eyes on them, because you’re going to be surprised and impressed by them as well.”