Last week I got to meet and wrestle Goddess Gaya, from Portugal who is a legit grappling Black Belt and also has MMA experience! It all came together pretty quickly so I almost didn't have time to be nervous and found myself on my way to Newark to take on a very tough grappler. We texted back and fourth on the way. She was very nice and also very confident. I could get a sense of her level of competitiveness and I definitely knew I was in for a huge challenge!
We met up and she opened the door and I got my first look at her (didn't have any pics beforehand). She was very pretty and had a cute smile, and I could see she was in really good shape! Her body was thick and powerful, wearing purple grappling tights that had stylistic rips in them that made her look like a grappling tigress! English is not her first language so we chatted a little bit as best we could. But she was eager to get to the mats and have at it! I liked how enthusiastic she was. The challenge was clearly on!
We started from knees at my request and locked up on the set of puzzle mats and I got a good feel for her strength for the first time. Gaya is HELLA-strong! She could push like a tank and also had the technique to back up her strength! The only way left for me to compete with her was to try to wear her down and use my legs. We went back and fourth for the hour trading top positions but with her definitely on top for most of the time.
I did manage to get my legs around her a couple of times and squeeze a submission or two from her but only after holding her there for a long time! Her core has a lot of strength to break through.
She had several great attempts on me with arm bars, arm triangles and guillotines. I was able to defend a lot of them but in the end fell prey to a very well applied arm bar and more than one leg lock submission!
In the end I was thrilled I was able to put up as much of a fight as I did against such a skilled grappler, but she was definitely one of the toughest, strongest wrestlers I've ever faced! She was very nice, strong and super skilled! And there was something very primal about the power she possessed. I'll definitely be looking to take her on again. She is a supreme challenge!