Her parents would prefer that she didn’t beat people up for a living, but Tara LaRosa is quite happy doing what she loves.
“They really wish that I worked in a bank or something,” laughs the women’s top-ranked 135-pound mixed martial arts athlete. “But they know fighting is what I love to do, that I get paid to do it, and that I’m pretty damn good at it.”
On July 14th, her family will see first hand just how good their daughter has become when LaRosa (12-1) takes on Kelly Kobold (16-0-1) for the vacant Bodog Fight women’s 135-pound championship belt in Trenton, New Jersey.
“I grew up nearby,” says LaRosa, who hails from the small farming community of Woodstown in Salem County, New Jersey. “So this fight is in my back yard, and all my friends and family will be there. So I can’t think of a better storyline than to have them cheering for me as I try to win the women’s title. It’s going to be awesome.”
LaRosa’s combative nature was not evident during her youth, as she attended the now defunct St. James Catholic High School.
“I wasn’t tough at all back then,” she claims. “In fact, I couldn’t pick a fight to save my life. Actually, I was known more for being the peacekeeper when a fight did break out.”
It wasn’t until 1996 when a love of action films featuring Jean Claude van Damme and Chuck Norris inspired her to enroll in Judo. Winning several competitions, LaRosa soon moved to MMA, studying with the legendary Royce Gracie. During this time, she often crossed paths with Laura D’Auguste, who was originally slated to fight LaRosa before tearing ankle ligaments during training.
“Laura and I both came up through the North American Grappling Association,” recalls LaRosa. “We’ve come very close to fighting several times before, but for whatever reason we could never hook it up. So, I was really excited to finally fight her, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Instead, LaRosa will face the hard-hitting Kobold, who has knock out power and excellent submissions.
Surprisingly, LaRosa thinks she is an underdog against Kobold.
“People will expect me to win, but this is not an easy fight for me. Kelly’s more of a brawler, unlike Laura who is more technical. So, I’m going to have to change my game plan 180 degrees.”
But LaRosa understands untimely injuries are unavoidable in this sport, and is ready to readjust her focus in order to face her new challenger.
“You just take it as it comes. It’s a five round title fight with an opponent who is much heavier and stronger, but I’m up for it. I can adapt.”
Meantime, fans of LaRosa can catch her in action on the next episode of Bodog Fight: Paradise Lost this Tuesday, July 10th at 11 p.m. / 10 p.m. Central on ION television and in Canada on The Fight Network.
The episode features a hard-fought battle between LaRosa and South Dakota’s Shayna Baszler (6-3).
Can’t catch the action on ION (or The Fight Network in Canada)? All episodes of the Bodog Fight series are available worldwide through streaming video at BodogFight.com, with behind-the-scenes exclusives, fighter bios and additional footage only available online.
About Bodog Fight
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