Spc. Danielle Lagunas-Valles, a human resources specialist with Headquarters Company, 749th Combat Sustainment Support, took center stage. Her strategy included anticipating initial strikes and working to transform into what she and teammates call “The Ultimate Female Fighter.”
“I was in my zone; I didn’t hear the crowd or the trainers,” she said. “It was like tunnel vision – just my opponent and me.”
Despite a 15-pound weight difference, Lagunas-Valles controlled the majority of the fight. “She had a lot of power in her punches,” she said of her opponent. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to take her down. I felt like my punches weren’t doing anything compared to hers.”
Lagunas-Valles said she pressed on with her strategy, and came away with her first amateur rules mixed martial arts victory.
“The key to winning the fight was sticking to the game plan,” said Staff Sgt. Rudolph Juarez Jr., an Antioch native who trained Lagunas-Valles. “I think she did really well.”
Juarez has 11 years of experience in various fight styles.
Lagunas-Valles said the stressful workouts with her trainers leading up to the fight got her mind and body ready: “We trained every day, alternating days between sparring, conditioning and lifting weights.” She decided to begin combatives training to conquer a fear of fighting.