It’s ladies night at The Orleans Arena. This time it’s not pink cosmos and salon giveaways, but rather blood, sweat and bruises. The amateur mixed martial arts organization Tuff-N-Uff is marking their 15th anniversary with the first all-female fight card, aptly titled Tuff Girls. Several local fighters are on the card including 120-pound fighter Gabriella Lakoczky, who will be making her amateur debut.
Lakoczky, a native of Sweden, has been a personal trainer for years, which means she was already in great shape before she even started fight training at Xtreme Couture. This weekend she’ll have her amateur debut on the eve of the UFC’s historic UFC 100.
What are the weight classes for women in MMA and what class are you in?
It varies from 105 and 170 pounds. I will be fighting at 120 pounds and this is my amateur debut.
How long have you been training for this bout?
Off and on for a while since I am in the gym all the time for my work as a personal trainer. That’s how I stay in shape, but I have been doing it since January. And I have been doing karate and a little boxing prior to that in Sweden where I grew up. I came to America about 15 years ago, and now I’m a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness in Green Valley.
Are you currently working toward gaining a black belt in any one of the martial arts disciplines or are you just trying to get more well rounded?
I’m just training hard in every discipline and seeing where I can go. I started out with judo, but I’m pretty well rounded. I just like to get in the ring and do whatever comes naturally.
This is your first fight. What are your feelings going into it?
Well, I’ve been in a real fight before, but maybe not this scenario. It’s good, you know, you’re nervous … excited. I’ve just been training hard. It’s my opponent’s debut too.
How did you first get involved in such a violent sport?
I don’t know? Craziness? It’s always been interesting to me, and it’s important to show that women can fight and box and kick box and do everything else that men do. I think that is something that I have always wanted to do and now I have the opportunity. This is such a great place to train out of and I’m fortunate to be here.
Did you used to beat up all the guys on the playground?
I was the athletic one. I’ve always trained and been in the gym. I did track for a long time and I did gymnastics.
What is it like having to get so physical with guys when training? I imagine they’re putting their hands in some interesting places when you grapple.
I train primarily with men, but they’re a couple of women who train in here. You get used to it. Everybody wants to be good at what they do and be the best, so if you train with the best, that’s how you get better. The guys in here are the best, so you just put those things aside and go. I mean, everyone has seen boobs before, so it’s all good.
What do you think about an all female MMA card? Would you rather be on a mixed card?
No, I think it’s great. Mix it up, do it separate, I think it’s awesome. Right before the UFC 100, it brings a lot of attention to us who want to show what we’ve got.
What do you think are your biggest strengths as a female fighter?
I always look at all the guys and I think man, I want to hit that hard, to kick that hard, and that’s what irritates me, because we are different. We are strong in our own way. Training with all men, you set yourself up for higher standards. We tend to be technical a little more, but it all varies from person to person.