By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I will be sitting down with Combate Americas atomweight Kyra “Mogwai” Batara. Kyra has a professional record of 5-4. A 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu fighter under Eddie Bravo Kyra is aiming to take the WMMA world by storm. Let’s kick back and learn some more about her.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Kyra: Being a fighter makes me feel fulfilled in life. I live my dream everyday which is an experience not available for most people. So I feel grateful to wake up everyday passionate about progressing as a professional fighter. Positively influencing others and being surrounded by great people in my life.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts?
Kyra: I started Jiu Jitsu when I was 13 and from there I knew I wanted to be a mixed martial artist. I wrestled all through high school and knew when I turned 18 I would have my first amateur fight. I went four and one as an amateur and quickly made my pro debut right after that at the age of 19.
Nick: What belts do you have and in what disciplines?
Kyra: I have a purple belt under Eddie Bravo in a no gi system as well as my BJJ purple belt under Sim Go at Cobra Kai.
Nick: With only five ameatuer fights under your belt, why did you decide to go to the professional level so quickly?
Kyra: I was 4-1 as an amateur holding the 105 belt as well as the 110 Belt for Tuff N Uff. There were no longer any tough opponents for me to go against. I won IBJJF
Worlds as a Blue Belt, so I wanted to challenge myself further and decided to go pro.
Nick: How long have you been with 10th. Planet Jiu-Jitsu? Marc Laimon’s Cobra Kai?
Kyra: I’ve been with 10th planet since I was 13 years old. I started training at home watching YouTube videos with my dad and got to meet Eddie Bravo when I was preparing for my very first world jiu jitsu tournament. He cornered me for that tournament and told me that I would be a champion one day. He’s been there for me ever since. He is the one that forced me to wrestle through high school which made me the fighter I am today. I trained at Cobra Kai when I first moved to Vegas for about a year but I have been switching gyms to get better training partners and coaching along the way.
Nick: What is it like to train with a legend such as Eddie Bravo?
Kyra: When I first started training with Eddie when I was 13. It was so surreal and such a great experience but now that I’ve been training with him for 10 years it seems that he’s just one of my great friends and coaches. I forget that he’s the legend. He is such an inspiration for me and a great role model. I’m constantly learning from him.
Nick: With an extensive background in BJJ under one of the greats, do you prefer to keep the fight on your feet or take it to the ground?
Kyra: Jiu jitsu is definitely my strong suit and I like to say that my style is a scrapper, but I am a very well-rounded mixed martial artist so I am prepared to take the fight wherever it needs to go.
Nick: What would you say your biggest strengths are, and what’s the thing you need to work on the most?
Kyra: My strength is my jiu jitsu and wrestling of course. I think that I still need work on my striking but I’m progressing everyday in this area.
Nick: What’s your favorite strike/submission to use in any fight?
Kyra: In my past two fights I demonstrated a twister which I didn’t pull off in December and I also had a twister in April which I finished via TKO. I could definitely say that twisters are my favorite submission, but I am happy with any choke.
Nick: Do you consider yourself the next generation fighter?
Kyra: Yes I am improving my game every day. Being in the 10th planet system alone is bringing a whole new game to the table, but I’m also evolving in all areas of my game to be a complete fighter.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Kyra: Cutting weight has always been a fight itself, but I was recently sponsored by Trufusion which has been such a great benefit to my camps. It not only is a great workout but they provide hot classes which make me sweat while I’m having fun. My other sponsor Holy Sheets provided me with my own portable sauna which I get to use every night which also helps tremendously with my weight cut.
Nick: While currently fighting with Combate Americas who has had successful promotions in the past do you have any plans to sign with Invicta FC. Bellator, or UFC?
Kyra: Right now I am known as Combate’s princess. I have such a great relationship with everyone in Combate, and they’re doing so much to build my division. Bellator is focused on the 125’ers and UFC is focused on the 115 and 145 divisions right now. I’m happy where I am and I plan to keep growing with Combate.
Nick: If the right opportunity came to you would you feel comfortable fighting up a weight class?
Kyra: No I am happy at 105 I’m 4’11” and do not plan on getting any heavier than a walk around weight of 120. Fighting at 115 would be too big for me to ever make it into the top 10.
Nick: Your nickname is Mogwai, who gave you that name and why?
Kyra: My first MMA Coach Scott Epstein with 10th planet West LA gave me that name. It’s from the movie gremlins. He said because I am cute and little and when I get under those bright lights I turn into a little gremlin.
Nick: With USADA cracking down on fighters hard these days, do you feel that suspensions are being handed out a little fast for non performance enhancing drugs?
Kyra: No, it is our responsibility as professional fighters to not risk utilizing any supplements that can be categorized as illegal.
Nick: You fought Jenny Silverio at Combate SEIS on April 25, 2016. You won the fight via KO/TKO. I read that there was some controversy regarding the stoppage being a little early. I have seen the fight and counted well over 20 strikes to the head and face and I believe it was a good stoppage with fighter safety in mind. Did you think that the fight should have been stopped when it was?
Kyra: I was very happy with my performance in that fight. Herb Dean had told Jenny to protect herself three times. She was in my favorite hold the twister, so I knew that she wasn’t going anywhere. If they did not stop it I could have finished the submission, but like you said there were over 20 strikes that’s a lot of damage to the brain.
Nick: Dubbed the twist and pound by Mr. Bravo himself, how did this fight ending move become part of your arsenal?
Kyra: I have been in the 10th planet system for almost 10 years. The twister is the move to master under Eddie’s system. Like I said earlier I like to say that I am a scrapper so I like to put my own twist on things.
Nick: If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be? Why?
Kyra: I am focused on being the best 105 in the world so I want to fight who is whoever is number one and take that spot for my own.
Nick: Kyra have you submitted to the takeover?
Kyra: This is Kyra “Mogwai” Batara and I have submitted to the takeover.
I can say that Kyra is a very determined competitor. I am certain we will see the day when she raises the 105 pound belt. It has been a pleasure to speak with her and I wish her the best in her journey. Signing off for The MMA TakeOver this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA