Tonya Evinger was certainly feeling good following Saturday’s Invicta FC 22, but that wasn’t the case going in.
After choking out Yana Kunitskaya (9-3-1) to keep the promotion’s 135-pound belt in the rematch of a controversial – and ultimately overturned – first encounter, Evinger (19-5-1) told interviewer Laura Sanko that she felt “slow and sluggish” throughout the scrap.
Later, the ever-honest champ explained why she wasn’t at her best.
“That Mexican food I ate right before I came here,” Evinger said in an post-fight interview. “Seriously, (I) threw up. I got conned in to going there. And I knew better, and I still did it. I knew first round, I was like, ‘Oh my god, am I going to lose this fight because I’m so sick?’”
Fortunately for Evinger, she didn’t lose, going on to submit Kunitskaya with a rear-naked choke in the second round of the bantamweight scrap, which took place at Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo.
While Evinger – who infamously puked in the cage at Invicta FC 17 before kissing her post-fight interviewer – emerged victorious at Invicta FC 22, it appeared early on as if she could be heading toward some trouble on the ground. The champ, however, says she was never in real danger throughout her opponent’s numerous submission attempts.
“I think we worked on this, on going in and just stayed calm,” Evinger said. “I knew she was going to try to go for a ton of submissions and just to stay calm and eventually I’d get out of it, even if I was in deep. Obviously, jiu-jitsu is inches. Inches make submissions. I think she never had anything worth going for.
“Obviously that foot lock I did wasn’t worth (expletive) either, but whatever. I’ve got to look busy down on the other end.”
While Evinger had already managed to successfully get the outcome of her original Invicta FC 20 encounter with Kunitskaya – then declared the winner via armbar – overturned, she says there was a special taste in finishing her opponent with a submission of her own.
“And actually the only reason why I didn’t submit her first is because she was pulling one finger back,” Evinger said. “And I had to tell the ref, I don’t know what he was saying, I was like, ‘She has one finger,’ and he made her let go and the submission was there. She tried to break my thumb off to get out of that bastard.”
Ultimately, Evinger was just happy to walk out of there with the belt.
“I wanted to win, that’s it,” Evinger said. “That’s all that’s going through my mind. I want to win and I hated the feeling last time. Obviously I wanted to be standing right here, talking to Laura Sanko.”