Amanda Leve tests skills with Naranjargal Tsendayush in the main event of PFL Challenger Series 10 on February 3rd.
Leve appeared on Bowks Talking Bouts and discussed returning to MMA after almost a year and a half away, her upset win over the hulking Gabi Garcia, plus so much more. Excerpts from our chat are below.
Previously fighting with PFL at lightweight and returning to the Smart Cage at 145 lbs
“So I took the fight at 155 even though I walk around at like 155-160. So like I always wanted to fight at 145. The fact that they have a 145 now is definitely very exciting for me. I was so pumped when I saw that they were getting that division.”
Tape study efforts in this camp and Leve’s thoughts on her opponent, Naranjargal Tsendayush
“So I definitely check them out. Like for this girl, I watched some of her Judo matches. I saw that she was more of like a sleeve thrower. So I was like ok, how is that going to translate for MMA? So I kind of like look at it from that aspect of stuff. But I don’t personally like to watch too much film on my opponents. I kind of let my corners do that and then like gameplan off of that.”
It being a good time to get with the PFL amid a pair of stock-rising seasons and the emerging super fight division
“I was actually super pumped when I saw it. I like logged onto Instagram and saw Jake Paul made the announcement. Was super pumped. I’m like this is going to bring so many eyes to the PFL. This is just going to be so great for this promotion. So I’m pretty pumped. People can say whatever they want about him. But I’m like all for it. I’m like hell yeah, let’s get him in there.”
PFL Challenger Series 10
Leve’s massive upset, both in terms of cache and physical dimensions, over Gabi Garcia who would come in at 230 lbs for some of her MMA bouts
“That was just a really good time period for me. Because I was coming off the win from my first pro-MMA fight and then hopping into that was super fun. Not that I looked up to Gabi. Just kind of like knew of her when I was competing as a kid. As I started getting more accomplished in the jiu-jitsu world, I saw girls that I competed against going against her. They were doing ok and I always was like man, I would love to see how I would do against her. So then when I got the opportunity to go against her, it was definitely nerve-wracking.”
“I think she was heavier than 230. Like if you see her in person, it’s actually insane. Me and my corners were saying she was probably 270 when I fought her. We don’t know for sure but that was like our estimate because she didn’t weigh in. That was a whole controversy too. She wouldn’t weigh in and I’m like I want you to weigh in. I want everyone to see how much you weigh over all these other girls. All the other girls are weighing around the same weight. We’re all around like 160. I’m just annoyed that grappling doesn’t have more weight classes for women.”
Gabi Garcia upset
“There’s no reason why we should be going against someone a hundred pounds heavier than us. At the end of the day, it’s almost dangerous. You don’t see guys going against other guys that are a hundred pounds heavier than them in one division. I mean unless it’s like an absolute division. But like this was just a 145-and-up division. There should at least be a middleweight division somewhere in the jiu-jitsu world. I was just excited to get out there.”
Leve continued, “A little nerve-wracking but definitely showed me that I can accomplish great things. It had me like super pumped. I felt like I was on top of the world after that. Especially being seeded eighth and she was seeded first to win. Just getting like a huge upset win like that was just, you know, unbelievable.”