Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lisa Ward climbs closer to Smackgirl title shot

By Ray Hui

Lisa Ward is an up and coming fighter who made her presence known the last quarter of 06' when she debuted for the Japan-based "Smackgirl" promotion. She submitted Miku Matsumoto via arm bar in September and followed that by submitting Misaki Takimoto two months later.

She is off to an even better start in 07' with a win against 12-time Smackgirl veteran Masako Yoshida at "Fatal Femmes Fighting" in Los Angeles. Ward spoke with MMAFighting.com about her victory over Yoshida and when she sees herself fulfilling one of her MMA goals: getting a Smackgirl title shot.

Q: How does it feel to be the Fatal Femmes Fighting flyweight champ?
A: Awesome. I have been working so hard these last two years and winning that belt was great. Plus it’s a really nice belt. It’s pretty!

Q: What does it mean to you to be able to compete in the main event of the first women's cage fighting event in America?
A: Really good. We got a lot of media attention for this show. Eddy Millis and his partners did a great job with the show. I just hope I can continue to be the top girl for the flyweight division for a long time.

Q: This time around, you fought a Japanese fighter in America. How did it feel to turn the tables around?
A: A little different. I felt a little extra pressure just because we are in my country. Traveling to Tokyo I felt like the underdog, and I like that feeling. I give much respect to Masako Yoshida. She has a lot of heart.

Q: Grappling is definitely one of your biggest strengths. In fact, you've finished more than half your fights with submissions. Did you find it difficult to do so in California with the 2-minute rounds?
A: Well the two minute rounds just makes it a different fight. This fight I wanted to work on Ground and Pound because there was only two minutes. So that worked out fine, but defiantly grappling is my strength. Fortunately these last two fights I have had, I have been able to open up a new game with letting my hands go a little (in Japan) and at the FFF show I was able to have some great takedowns and then follow up with some elbows. That was a first for me, so it was pretty fun. Of course finishing her would have been nice but I’m glad how it turned out. Unfortunately I got sick a couple days before the show with a bad chest cold, so I was a bit winded feeling.

Q: Did your experience with Smackgirl rules help you adjust to the 2-minute rounds?
A: Honestly I didn’t even think about that!

Q: It appears that Smackgirl is looking to start following regular MMA rules. Do you know if they will end up doing that?
A: I don’t know if they are going to change their rules. I don’t think they should have to change their rules because they are there own organization and not everyone has the same rules. Of course I wouldn’t mind if they changed, but I am OK with how things are.

Q: You've said that your goal is to hold a SMACKGIRL title. How close are you to a title shot?
A: I’m getting dodged from Shinashi and her manager. I feel like I have proved myself in earning a title shot. I even asked for one last time we were there and I was told Shinashi does not want to fight me. Hopefully I can get my title shot by the end of the year. That’s my goal.

Q: What are your thoughts on Satoko Shinashi?
A: I think she is not a TRUE champion and she should have her belt taken from her.

Q: Yuka Tsuji?
A: Don’t really know much about her except that she’s pretty tough.

Q: Megumi Fujii?
A: Just a bad ass!

Q: Any final words to all the readers of MMAFighting.com?
A: Thank you to all my sponsors and their continual support in myself and Eddy. Also I want to thank Eddy Ellis for being my love and support and helping become a better person every day. My parents have always supported me even though they didn't agree with all this at first. Thank my little brother (William Ward SWCC) who's in the Navy down in San Diego and my cousin Jeremy Vanzile who just got out of the Marines. All the military men and women I have much admiration and respect for what you do for our country everyday. Without your dedication to this country I wouldn't be able to do what I love to do. Thank you! Oh, and Matt Ferris is a kickass training partner by the way.


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