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Interview: Kyra Batara talks atomweight title picture for Combate Americas

Friday’s Combate Americas 19 headliner Kyra Batara spoke with Bloody Elbow about upcoming opponent Paulina Granados, the atomweight title hunt, and whether or not she would do an MMA tourney.

Combate Americas 19 headliner Kyra Batara sports a perfect 4-0 record for the promotion, and looks to face off with the 4-2 Paulina Granados this Friday night, in a title eliminator for the inaugural 105 pound title. “Mogwai” Batara is fresh off of a 2nd round topside Armbar of Vanessa Rico Fernandez at Combate Classico this past July, with Granados last picking up a unanimous decision over Jenna Serio back in October of 2016.

Training under the guidance of her mother, father, brother and Jiu-Jitsu guru Eddie Bravo, Batara is on the hunt for her 4th straight finish for Combate Americas, which could line up a title shot for the 23 year old athlete. Before heading out to San Antonio, Texas for her marquee matchup Friday night, Batara caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss strategy for Granados, the atomweight title picture, and proving to Bravo that she’s ready for her brown belt.

Friday’s Combate Americas 19 main card will air live on Telemundo at 12:00 A.M. ET/11:00 P.M. CT with the prelims streaming online.

  • We saw you sitting cageside at Combate Americas’ Copa Combate tournament in Cancun, Mexico. What did you think of the fights?

“It was so much fun! I’m friends with a few of those guys. I’m really good friends with Ricky [Palacios], who didn’t get to fight, so that was super disappointing... Frickin’ out of nowhere, the alternate is the one that takes it all. So, I know that everyone was banking on John [Castaneda] to bring it home, but those were some exciting fights. I was really happy with the way that the guys brought everything to the table that night.”

  • Ricky Palacios missing weight and getting ejected from the Copa Combate tournament:

“You know, it happens, but I think it’s great that Combate really put their foot down. They were like, ‘look, you need to make weight. It’s important; it’s your job, you need to take it seriously.’ To miss weight by I think 8-9 pounds, it’s a lot. it’s a lot of weight, and it’s big tournament; it’s a lot of money.”

  • How about that atomweight bout: Lisbeth Lopez Silva vs. Sheila Padilla?

“I actually was really impressed with Shelia’s Jiu-Jitsu, and then Lisbeth just like brought it though. She wanted it, and you could tell she was hungry. I really like her style. What they’re saying is, that was the title contender fight, so she won it, and now it’s up to me and Paulina to decide who’s going to be that title fight in February, for Combate’s first ever atomweight championship.”

  • Do you believe we will see a female tournament in the near future for Combate Americas?

“That’s what they’re talking about. I know Campbell [McLaren] is all about the big show and lots of fireworks that’s going to bring everyone. If there is, I don’t want to participate in it haha. I’m not about the tournament style. I do Jiu-Jitsu; I do wrestling, but as far as fighting in a tournament, I don’t know how I feel about that. I prefer my one fight and I’m good haha. I still want to do Jiu-Jitsu tournaments; I really plan on doing IBJJF Worlds after this fight, so for tournaments, that’s as far as I’ll go for that haha.”

  • The last time we saw you in la jaula, you overcame some early adversity to snag a 2nd round topside Armbar on Vanessa Rico Fernandez, at Combate Classico in Miami, Florida this past July. Were you happy with your performance?

“I wasn’t happy with my performance in that fight, with my 1st round. I think that the time zones were kind of messing me up. Backstage, I slept like almost the whole night. We got there at 5 [P.M.], I was the co-main event, and I slept that whole time. So, I feel like I got out there and didn’t get a good sweat in before the fight. You could tell the 1st round; I got dropped a few times and it wasn’t me out there, but then the 2nd round I came back, and was like, ‘alright, I’m in a fight. I need to wake up now.’ I’m happy with my finish; I’m happy with my Armbar. I’ve been saying it again and again, that I’m ready for my brown belt. I’m just proving to Eddie [Bravo] that I’m ready for my brown belt.”

  • Were you surprised that Rico Fernandez was able to drop you in the 1st round?

“I was; I was. She’s known for her wrestling and her Judo, and so I knew that she didn’t want to go to the ground with me. She has really strong Judo but she knows I’m a great Jiu-Jitsu fighter; I’m a great wrestler. She did try to hit me with the fireman’s [carry]; it wasn’t working for her, so I knew she was just going to try to take my head off. Same thing with this fight coming up, I just have bad blood with these girls. So, she was already pissed off at me, Vanessa, when I missed weight back in February. You could tell at weigh ins, she got in my face, so I knew she was going to come in the fight with a lot of emotion. Sure enough, as soon as that bell rang, she was running across the cage, trying to rip my head off.”

  • What is it about the bad blood? Why do you keep getting into it with these females?

“Campbell comes up with this video on Instagram like, ‘Kyra’s arrogant.’ I’ve never been called arrogant; I’ve never been known as like a hated person, so I don’t know how this really came about. I’m sticking to what I know. I’m sticking to my small group of friends, my small group. I have my dad and my mom cornering me, and people don’t like it. People think it’s weird. People talk their smack about it, saying that I’m over-hyped, but I’ve been working my ass off since I was 13 years old. I’ve been in the gym and this is all I know. I know my mom’s there, my dad’s there, my brother’s there and I have that support.”

  • The trash talk of Combate Americas 19 opponent, Paulina Granados, has died down:

“You know, I’m real surprised that she hasn’t been talking any smack anymore. All before this fight, it was non-stop Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Even before I signed the contract, ‘oh Kyra, sign the contract already.’ As soon as I signed the contract, she went ghost. So, Paulina, you better bring it.”

  • The stylistics of Granados:

“I think she’s going to do the same gameplan that she had with Stephanie [Alba], just keeping it on the feet. I think she knows that I’m going to win on the ground, so regardless of how great her wrestling may have seemed in that fight, I’m still the better wrestler; I’m still better on the ground, and she knows that’s exactly where I want to take the fight.”

  • Do you have anything special in store for Combate Americas 19 this Friday night?

“I have 2 top secret finishes that I’ve been working on. if you study 10th Planet, you might have a clue to what I’ve been doing. If you follow me on Snapchat, you can figure out what those submissions are. Follow me @mogwai_kb or on Instagram @kyraatara. I’ve been posting all my secrets there, not going to say them put loud.”

Watch Kyra Batara lock horns with with Paulina Granados at Combate Americas 19, this Friday night, on December 2, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your MMA event coverage including interviews, results, highlights, and more!