F2W PRO 17 features top Texas talent; we catch up with competitor Chelsah’ Lyons
DALLAS, TX – The nation’s fastest-growing and most active grappling promotion returns to Texas for the second time in as many months this Saturday as it rolls into Dallas for Fight to Win Pro 17. Taking place October 29th at the Nytex Sports Complex in North Richland Hills, the event features a main event pitting Joao Gabriel Rocha of Soul Fighters against James Puopolo of Lovato BJJ in a 225 lbs. black belt gi superfight.
Also on the card are a bevy of Texas’ top talent at all belt levels, including many of the finest from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In the run-up to the event, TXMMA wanted to catch up with some of the athletes set to compete Saturday.
We start with Chelsah’ Lyons out of Marcelo Garcia Dallas. She takes on Brittney Elkin in a purple belt matchup this Saturday.
TXMMA Interview – Chelsah’ Lyons (MG Dallas)
Tell us about yourself? What school do you train out of?
My name is Chelsah’ Lyons, born and raised in Dallas, TX. I’m a Purple Belt training at Marcelo Garcia of Dallas, under Professor Rob Ables, MG 3-stripe Black Belt. I’m an Instructor at MG Dallas. As well, I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist practicing in the Healing Arts. I was drawn to this lifestyle, because I’ve fought in so many ways my entire life. I believe now that I may have only been surviving. I only thought I knew how to fight when I began this Martial Arts journey, but would come to learn through training that I was mostly heart and a lot of fury.
How many years have you been training Jiu-Jitsu and what got you started in Jiu-Jitsu?
I started training in 2010, initially wanting to get into MMA with the goal of cage fighting. After being assaulted and robbed at gunpoint (again), I was driven to make sure I knew how to truly fight for myself and signed up that same week. While sparring a larger experienced male fighter, I found myself smashed under him feeling panicked and lacking the abilities to save myself. That’s when ground fighting grasped my attention. I wanted to focus on how to be comfortable in, what I felt was the worst position to be in at that time, a fight that hit the ground. Jiu-Jitsu stole my heart, and I followed it.
What is your most memorable moment in competition or Jiu-Jitsu? Biggest accomplishment in Jiu-Jitsu?
My most memorable moment in competition was at purple belt, where I finally understood what it felt like when strength met technique. I was the strong one that day, and found a newly focused obsession for becoming technical, fast, smooth, and strong. I don’t believe I’ve reached my biggest accomplishment yet, because there’s so far to go. Winning the No Gi Worlds and Pans at blue belt was pretty big in the moment, because it marked a milestone in turning my life around from the darker paths I’ve walked. As a blue belt though, in my opinion, it more so marked the beginning of possibilities of something greater.
How many competitions have you competed in? Is this your first Fight to Win Pro?
I’ve competed in 14 competitions. This is my second Fight to Win Pro. Fight to Win Pro 6 was my first.
What are your thoughts on the sub only format vs points? Is there a format you prefer?
I think both are great in the sense that different people like different approaches to the sport. I believe I’m personally better at sub-only, because I’m always looking for a finish. I love hunting submissions. I feel more accomplished, or a deeper sense of fulfillment, when I finish the fight. Getting to the finish doesn’t always secure points. Either way, I want to compete against the best. Points or not.
What would you tell a white belt who has been bitten by the Jiu-Jitsu bug and is hungry to compete?
You’re going to get out what you put into it, so go for it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s like a level up in your understanding of yourself, your abilities, and your Jiu-Jitsu. “Do it. Do it!”
What are your thoughts on your upcoming Fight to Win Pro match? Anything you are doing different to prepare for it?
I’m excited to get on that stage again, under those lights representing my team, the art, and the females of Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a movement in the art that I love being a part of. As for preparing, it’s different and the same in ways. I stay focused on becoming better every day. When I put my time into getting better at Jiu-Jitsu and becoming a better athlete, everything else handles itself.
Are there any sponsors or people you would like to thank?
I want to thank Rob Ables for being a coach, a friend, and a brother from another mother. He’s put so much into seeing myself and his students go as far as they choose to. He sees more in us than we sometimes allow ourselves to, so he reminds us. He’s an amazing instructor with a never ending fountain of knowledge in this art and lifestyle. My boyfriend, Steve Paek, who keeps me smiling, pushes me past my imagined limitations and helps me when my spirit has trouble finding steady ground. Circe Vogel for her light and athlete healing abilities. My team at MG Dallas, Training Partners and Students, Family and Friends (so many! you all know who you are). Thank you for all of the support, because nobody accomplishes these great things alone. Pete Luxen and Bound By Jiu-Jitsu for believing in my abilities as an athlete. Thank you all for being a part of this journey. I’m a compilation of people’s time and efforts coming together to see me succeed, so we succeed.