Harding spoils Russian champ's Bellator debut

By Tamati Tiananga

Tainui MMA female fighter Janay Harding has stunned Russian fans after defeating sambo champ Marina Mokhnatkina at Bellator 219 the weekend in Temecula, California. 

 "I feel like my striking and cage control ended up winning me the fight.  Staying dominant on the feet and landing more significant fights give me the edge.  I’d also say my submission defence helped me avoid losing," says Harding.

"To be honest anyone that is currently progressing in the division I’d like to fight. There are a lot of great featherweights that are active at the moment and I’d like to fight any of them and get another win to line me up for a title shot." 

Bellator promoters hoped the 30-year-old champion fighter with a wealth of experience would bring competition to the featherweight division. However, they were unable to capitalise on her chance against the Australian-based, Kiwi-born fighter.  

"I think it definitely shines light on my jiu-jitsu in MMA especially.  That a six-time world sambo champion couldn’t finish a submission on me and I could still take dominant positions on the ground during the fight shows that my jiu-jitsu is still very good even though I’m known as a striker," says Harding.   

"This win is massive for me.  Coming off a previous win in October, it’s important to maintain the momentum and ensure I continue to prove myself.  It was a tough camp so it’s extremely rewarding to have still come away with the win."

Read more: Bellator’s Harding to face top Russian fighter