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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
At the recent 2012 FILA World Championships in Grappling, Pankration, and Amateur MMA, she won a world championship in women's amateur MMA at 71 kg and finished fifth in women's no-gi grappling, also at 71 kg, Representing American Samoa, she also finished second at the 2012 Oceania Championship in women's wrestling and fifth at an Olympic Qualification Tournament in March, both at 72 kg. Currently she is tied for second in the FILA world rankings in women's amateur MMA for athletes of all weights, only behind another world champion, Anna Bezhenar of Ukraine.
Lia first came to prominence in the combat sports while in high school, winning a girl's state high school wrestling championship in 1998 at 140 pounds, representing Lahainaluna High School. While she did not wrestle while attending college in Boston University, she has in recent years returned to the combat sports. Again based in Hawaii, she believes that she is ready to make her mark.
"Only in the past maybe three or four years I got back into it. When I was back in Hawaii I started training MMA with Chris Leben. He has a gym out here," she said in this interview, which was recorded by phone Monday. "It started off just to stay in shape and have fun, but I'm so competitive I wanted to start competing."
Her goals for 2013 include winning another FILA world championship in amateur MMA, and then going into professional MMA. She also will be competing at the MMA World Expo in New York, February 16-17.
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