VCU sophomore and Mixed Martial Arts upstart Angelica Martinez defeated the favored Christy Tyquiengco to win the Spartyka Fight League 115 lbs. Title on April 1 at the Ted Constant Center in Norfolk.
The victory is Martinez’s fifth consecutive, and brings her amateur record to 5-2. The 19-year-old now holds the Sprawl and Brawl, Revolution Fight Series and Spartyka Fight League 115 lbs. Title belts.
Martinez said the three-round war with Tyquiengco — which ended in a last-ditch submission by armbar — was the toughest test of her young career.
“She’s a very well established kickboxer so I knew it was going to be a hard fight,” Martinez said. “It was definitely my hardest. I got caught in the first couple seconds hard and it dropped me. I didn’t fully recover from that and she was honestly beating me really hard with striking, but I knew I had a better ground game.”
Jiu-jitsu is Martinez’s strongest discipline, and she said she knew bringing Tyquiengco — a kickboxing specialist — to the ground would be the key for her to win the fight.
“I wanted to keep it on the ground,” Martinez said. “Her corner knew that though so they kept telling her to stand up whenever we went to the ground.”
With less than a minute remaining in the last of three, five-minute rounds, Tyquiengco had out-struck Martinez and succeeded in staying away from her lethal ground-game. Martinez knew a decision wouldn’t be in her favor, so she turned to her only hopes — submission or knock-out.
“I was able to armbar her with less than a minute left in the last round,” Martinez said. “I was trying to set it up the whole fight but we were on the ground against the cage right in front of her corner and I heard them say there was only a minute left so I knew I had to do something.”
Martinez said the heart-stopping victory gave her valuable insight into her fighting style and mental endurance.
“It showed me my weaknesses with my kickboxing but I also learned how important it is to not second guess yourself or your training,” Martinez said.
After her victory over Tyquiengco, Martinez is now the 8th-ranked pound-for-pound woman in Virginia and the 60th ranked out of 320 active U.S. Southeast women, according to Tapology.com. Martinez — a Prince George native — trains locally at RVA MMA Academy.
“I have lots of great coaches from different gyms,” Martinez said. “My coaches Renee Forte, Danny Vidal, my jiu-jitsu coach Jimi Hoctor, wrestling coach Rob Urrutia and everyone else from RVA MMA. Also Glory kickboxer Francois Ambang and everyone from BangBang Kickboxing — I have a good team behind me and they are the reason I get better.”
With three title belts and an impressive win-streak, Martinez said she is starting to weigh the prospects of a professional career.
“My coaches think I should take some time now and just train, and look into taking a professional fight,” Martinez said. “I think I’ll take a kickboxing fight to work more on my confidence with striking and also keep doing jiu-jitsu tournaments, but I definitely want to take a pro fight before too long.”
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