At 4-foot-11, with a bubbly personality and a cute smile, 19-year-old Kyra Batara resembles her namesake Gizmo from the movie Gremlins. In the film, when the mogwai are fed after midnight, they turn into mischievous and dangerous creatures. With Batara, all one needs to do is set her on a mat or put her in a cage and she turns into a considerably dangerous creature.

Batara was on a different path in middle school. She competed athletically, but it was in cheerleading. Her father trained at Team Quest in Portland, Ore., and invited her to come try it. Her first class was submission wrestling. Apparently, it was so addicting that she gave up cheerleading to be a high school wrestler. When that happened, her so-called friends were shocked. She went from being a part of the group to an outsider and experienced a fair amount of harassment for it.

Batara locks on an armbar (BAMMA USA)

Batara locks on an armbar (BAMMA USA)

“I got bullied for joining the wrestling team,” remembered Batara in an interview with The MMA Corner. “It changed me. It was so bad that my parents decided to home-school me. It was a great group of kids. The families were more involved and the classes were very interesting. I was able to go to school with little kids, K-12, and there were no drugs, no attitude and no drama. We were on our best behavior. The other kids were more driven and they still let me wrestle [for a public high school], so it was perfect. That is why when Redemption MA contacted me on Instagram, I was very interested in getting involved.

“It’s very important to me to be a positive role model, especially for other kids who might experience what I did. I want to be an inspiration to them, to show that if you work hard every day, you can not only better yourself but you can better the world.”

During high school, not only did Batara compete in wrestling, but she expanded her training at Team Quest to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai and of course, MMA. As a teen, she competed and won all kinds of grappling tournaments and wrestling competitions. She decided at a very early age that being a fighter was what she was going to do, and she even had the confidence at age 14 to tell Resurrection Fighting Alliance president Ed Soares that she would one day be fighting for him. That same day, she and her family met Lyoto Machida, and it turns out that his older brother, Chinzo, will be on the same card as Batara’s next fight for RFA.

At RFA 15, Batara, who stands at 1-0 as a pro, will face her next opponent, the 1-1 Rosa Acevedo, who just lost to Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger at RFA 14. They are both dropping down to 105 pounds after fighting much larger opponents.

“I found one video so far. She is primarily a striker with boxing and kickboxing,” Batara said. “I didn’t get to see the video of her fight against Jocelyn, but did see the play-by-play—they both stood up the whole fight. I think she likes high kicks and tends to come straight forward, so I am working on my angles and working on my takedowns.”

Batara (top) (BAMMA USA)

Batara (top) (BAMMA USA)

Because of her stature and personality outside the cage, her teammates originally wanted to call “Batara Gizmo,” but they landed on “Mogwai” as her nickname instead.

“As a fighter I like to be the aggressor and set the tone,” explained Batara. “I want to say where the fight goes and, as a grappler, I want to be able to get my submission opportunities. If I had to call how the fight will go, I would say the first round we’ll both come out and feel each other out, but by the third minute I will have a takedown and be using my purple belt to work for some possible submissions. I plan to take what’s handed to me, gauge her reaction and go for the submission over and over.

“My goal is to earn a title fight for RFA. I really like fighting for them and respect the promotion. I just want to do my job. I had a hard time finding a fight before my last one with BAMMA [USA] against Misha [Nassiri]. I was told that 15 girls turned down a fight with me, and that is why I took the catchweight at 110 [pounds]. I was glad to be able to get the armbar in the first round.

“If I could emulate any fighter, it would be Jon Jones because he is so good and so unpredictable, or maybe Cyborg because she is so inspirational and positive. I really respect her work ethic. And that is what I want to do—show other people what hard work can do for them and be that positive role model.”

Perhaps there really are two sides to Batara. Maybe she is Gizmo when she’s not fighting, but the evil Mogwai once she steps into the cage.

Kyra would like to dedicate this fight to her family friend Marina Scott, who was just diagnosed with cervical cancer. Kyra would really like to thank her sponsors: Redemption MA, Scott Palmer Electric, Jersey Solar Las Vegas, Fight Chix, Dynamic Spine and Sport, Winder Farm, Biologix, Quads Not Included, Nutrishop, Revgear, Greens & Proteins, Lana’s Egg Whites, Tough Prints, Great Grubbing and OTM, as well as her coaches and teachers: Tim Sim Go, Eddie Bravo and Joe Martinez. Follow Batara on Twitter: @KyraBatara and on Instagram: @mogwai_KB

About The Author

Staff Writer

Amber currently resides in Tampa, Fla., a hotbed of MMA. She was introduced to the sport Memorial Day weekend in 2006 and quickly became addicted. Amber loves the fact that the biggest and strongest don’t always win, the respect the competitors show and that women are finally getting their shot. She also writes a blog for Fight It Out gear. When not watching MMA, Amber can be found at the beach playing volleyball, in the gym learning from Tampa’s only female BJJ Black Belt, cheering on her eight-year-old daughter in tae kwon do, or at her day job. She has a girlfriend, daughter, too many dogs and a cat who lives in the attic. Communication highly encouraged at amber at fightitout dot com.

  • Jim Arnold

    Hard to imagine somebody trying to bully Kyra. She is a legitimate badass – any guy who would attempt to bully her is running the risk of being quickly turned into a rag doll, and then being reduced to a crying broken mess on the ground. I saw a vid of her in a hs wrestling match where she took on a much larger boy – she picked him up a least 4 feet off the ground, slammed him and then did everything on wrestler could possibly do to another. She won the match 25-0.

  • Jacob Nuesser

    Kyra is such a great young lady—very inspiring with a good head on her shoulders! Fight Chix is happy to have been a part of her career since the grappling days!