ADCC 2005 Ladies Competitor – Tara Larosa

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Tara LaRosa is mainly known for her work in MMA although she has an extensive grappling tournament resume. In MMA she fought on the first and second all-women HOOKnSHOOT card, fought Jennifer Howe for the 125 pound belt, and even fought in Japan in March in Shooto. Her MMA record stands at 6-1 with her one loss being to Howe. What was impressive about Tara?s performance at this event was that she came in as an alternate in her weight divisions and made it to the finals of the absolutes, finally losing to Borges in an anti-climatic battle of positions. A gallery of shots from Tara?s matches is posted at How do you feel about your performance at Abu Dhabi? TL: I surprised myself, I thought I did pretty well. I wasn?t even expecting to place. My first match (Sari Redzeposki) was a real surprise. She tied up with me real well, she was a little more powerful than I expected from looking at her. I got sort of a judo sweep, an outside sweep, and took her down. Went right to side control and when she turned in to me I had an underhook on her neck and she turned right into a rear naked. I stepped over her back and took it. That really shocked me. KM: Tell me about the absolutes. TL: The absolutes from what I was told?all the girls that wanted to do it were given a numerical value. Each judge would rank them 1-10 on whether they thought they could win the absolute division. They gave the girls a numerical value and add them up and cast you in the numerical order. I was ranked #9 and there were only eight girls and Gracie decided she didn?t want to do the absolute so I took her place. That is how I got in. KM: Wasn?t it something like eight minute matches in the main draws and sixteen in the absolutes? TL: I believe so. KM: So first up was a rematch or sorts against Yabushita. TL: My first draw was Megumi Yabushita who was really hard to finish when I fought her in Japan (note: Shooto March ?05). I wasn?t really pushing the submissions that hard although I was going after them because I knew she was really hard to finish. She is real fast and squirmy so it is hard to hold her in one area but I knew my positioning was going to be pretty good. I knew in the back of my mind I had to work points on her and if there was a submission chance I?d grab it but not to expect it or push too hard for it.KM: Next was Stacy Cartwright TL: I was so super impressed with her through the entire tournament. Honestly I picked myself to lose by points. I knew I probably wouldn?t get submitted but sometimes when I get held down like in the last match I really can?t get out. I thought I was probably going to get stuck in her guard or something. To my surprise I got the rear naked. My cardio was great, I had no problems with getting tired or gassing out. I was happy with my performance. KM: What were you thoughts on watching Cartwright in the main draw? TL: I was impressed, I thought she did really well. Especially going against Marloes Coenen twice. I thought at least the second time Marloes was going to pick her off or find a weakness but she hung in there. She was a nice chick too. I got to see her at UFC last weekend. KM: Do you remember your thoughts at that time? TL: I was shocked, elated. If they put that on the DVD after the Cartwright match I was shouting. I couldn?t believe it.KM: And Borges. TL: I have to apologize to the entire fanbase out there for that last match. It was so boring. I think I must have had the wrong gameplan. She never went for one submission on me. She wrapped up my head and arm while sitting in side mount, an arm triangle choke, and it wasn?t even close to being on. KM: So you ended with three wins and one loss. TL: Not bad at all. KM: What did you think the highlights of the rest of the women?s divisions were? TL: I was pleasantly surprised by Kyra (Gracie). I thought she was going to be a lot more hype than show. She came to fight and did real good. KM: You had a year and a half off from the Howe fight in AFC until HOOKnSHOOT ?Evolution?. Were you off to finish school? TL: After the Jen Howe fight I had two surgeries and wasn?t going to be able to get hit for four-six months because I had all my wisdom teeth ripped out. I figured this was a good time to go back and finish up (school). I wrestled for our wrestling team. I also instruct army combatants at Fort Bragg. KM: You are getting to be quite a pioneer in the women?s divisions. Besides this first women?s divisions ADCC you were in the first and second all-women?s HOOKnSHOOT shows and wasn?t the Shooto show you were in the first all-women?s Shooto show? TL: I think that was the second. KM: Point is you are getting to be known for that. You even fought for the first respected women?s belt against Jennifer Howe. TL: I never considered myself that. That is kind of cool. I guess I got to start acting more politically correct. (Both laugh). I guess that will help me get work. I?m flattered. KM: Tell me more about Team Roc. TL: Everybody I train with is so good I really have to bust my balls to do well. I have absolutely terrific trainers in every aspect. In standup and clinch work, wrestling, submissions and ground skills, even the gi. We have really technical people. Greg Thompson, our black belt is absolutely awesome. The website is KM: Sponsors or people to thank? TL: NAGA, Royce Gracie, Team Roc of course, and Havoc Fightwear.

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