Before Marisa Messer-Belenchia faces Emme Weber for the Premier FC amateur vacant strawweight title at Premier FC 22 on March 11 in Agawan, Mass., “Spider Monkey” took some time to speak with Pro MMA Now.
What led you to train MMA?
Initially I wanted to wrestle when I was about 10-years-old but since I was a female I didn’t have any support, and no boys wanted to train with me, so I didn’t stick with it. I tried out an MMA gym when I was about 17 with friends and loved it but I couldn’t afford it and it was far from home. When I was 19 I had the opportunity to get involved with traditional martial arts, taekwondo, for no charge. I fell in love with the training because I had never been involved with something like it before and immediately was recognized for my dedication because I would train morning and evening just because I enjoyed it. After about a year, I had a big change in my life and needed a change of surroundings, but didn’t want to stop training martial arts. I looked up different gyms and found myself at Ultimate MMA in North Haven. Immediately I fell in love with how comfortable the atmosphere was even as a female, and the fact that there was such a thing as grappling when I always wanted to wrestle. That night I left and looked up MMA because I really wasn’t familiar at all with everything it had become and immediately fell in love with the fact that a sport like this existed.
What accomplishments have you had in BJJ?
In jiu jitsu I have been extremely blessed to be put in the good hands of Andrew Calandrelli who has trained with the best of the best on the mats. He has guided me to many gold medals and belts in NAGA, Grapplers Quest, and IBJJF. My biggest accomplishments in jiu jitsu to date, is that I am an IBJJF No Gi Pan Am Champ at purple belt and No Gi World Champ at purple belt from this past November in California.
How did winning golden gloves feel?
Winning the Golden Gloves was a good accomplishment. It allows me to see how much hard work pays off. I won the Golden Gloves in the novice class and now in open this year. Looking forward to continued success in the boxing world.
What is your strongest skill in MMA?
My strongest skill in MMA is that I am well rounded. I am not just a grappler, or just a striker. I am everything. Where ever the fight goes, I have an answer. I have competed in everything separately, jiu jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, and I train with top wrestlers.
What are your plans for this fight?
My plans for this fight are to handle my business. Where ever the fight goes I will be ready.
What are your plans for the future in MMA?
My plans for the future in MMA is to continue to get in more amateur MMA and boxing matches to get as much experience as possible. Then within a year or so go professional in both MMA and boxing.