Following a year off, top women’s 125-pound fighter Tara LaRosa returned to MMA with a second round submission victory over Kelly Warren in March. But even though she won, LaRosa wasn’t exactly thrilled with her performance.
“I came off of not training for a year, year and a half, so when I got back in the gym, I went from 0-to-60 immediately and was doing two-a-days for three weeks and somehow I burnt myself out and I think it showed. It was just really a boring fight, honestly,” said LaRosa.
“There was too much hesitance on both sides. I didn’t really push it and was trying more to pick her apart and try to stand and not really work to my strengths, which is just what I needed to do. In the end, it worked out. I got her to tap and not go to decision, thank God.”
Still, LaRosa performed well enough to warrant signing with Invicta FC and will have her first fight for the promotion on Saturday in Kansas City.
When asked if this could finally be the breakthrough for her to get some mainstream exposure, LaRosa answered, “I think so. They have a pretty broad viewership and I’m really hoping to put on a good performance and pick up some new followers and fans.
“If you knew me from all these years, you know what I’m about and what I can do. If people want to all of a sudden get on board, that’s cool, they’ll find out and can look back through the archives at some of my old fights and they’ll figure it out.”
Never one to take the easy way, LaRosa’s Invicta debut comes against a fighter she feels she mirrors a lot in veteran Vanessa Porto.
“She’s a seasoned fighter and has seen a lot, pretty much like I have,” said LaRosa of Porto. “There’s not too much that either of us hasn’t seen. We’re both pretty good on the ground, have good stand-up and a good transition game between the two; she has wrestling, I have judo. We’re both well-rounded so it can be exciting anywhere it goes.”
LaRosa commented on the possibility that a mistake could turn the fight by saying, “I’ve been thinking about that a lot and I don’t see either of us messing up too much to capitalize on the other.
“I think it’s going to come down to who hustles the most in the fight.”
After years of bouncing around promotions, LaRosa hopes Saturday night is the start of a long-term commitment to Invicta and the first step towards claiming their 125-pound championship.
“I’d wholly love to establish myself here, definitely,” she said. “They seem really firm and solid, like they’re not going away. I’d have no problem laying down some roots here and working towards a title.
“Bodog was the last stable place that I had that gave me a good look and threw every top chick at me that they could find and every fight was great, and I haven’t had that since. That was back in 2007, so it’s been a long time. I’m looking forward to getting those top fights that I’ve been really searching for and wanting somebody to give me. I’m really hoping that this is the place and that I’m home.”
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(Photo courtesy of USA Wrestling)