Lanna Strong: Tyya and Brenda Shine at SheFights Female Muay Thai Event
By Ryan McKinnon
On Saturday March 11th, 2017, 26 of North Americaʼs best up-and-coming female Muay Thai
fighters entertained a sold out Toronto Estonian House at 358 Broadview Avenue in
Toronto to support the movement of International Womenʼs Day. It was an outstanding
event with an equally outstanding purpose. Two of Lanna MMAʼs female muay thai athletes really stood
out amongst a roster of exceptionally gifted fighters. Tyya Emberly and Brenda Vargas
both met some of the muay thai toughest competition in their young careers, and demonstrated
amazing Muay Thai technique to secure wins, impress the audience, and gain some
Lannas Tyya Emberley fought Yueyao Zhong from Ayothaya Muay Thai in the 51 to 54kg weight
class. Zhong had competed against Brenda a few weeks prior at the Ayothaya
demonstration fights, and narrowly got the better of Brenda by scoring more frequently in
rounds 1 and 2. This was a great matchup for Tyya who already had an idea of what to
expect from Zhong. Tyya immediately established a pace for herself that was fast and
consistent. She is very good at throwing multiple strikes, which gave Zhong some
trouble in terms of how she could anticipate what Tyya would do next. Tyya also made
excellent use of distance. She knew what weapons to throw at different ranges, and
managed to stay just out of range from Zhongʼs more powerful attacks.
The one thing Tyya does very well that we could all learn from is her use of
angles and her variety of attacks. There were moments in the fight where Tyya would
throw combinations with her hands, then slide laterally to land a kick. Many young
fighters only think linearly (forward and back), but forget about using the entire ring to
land strikes. Tyya did this exceptionally well.
Tyyaʼs muay thai clinch was stronger than Zhongʼs. She made sure to stay busy in the
clinch by improving her hand and head position, and using elbows when the
opportunities presented themselves. Many fighters use the clinch as a rest period. This
was not the case for Tyya, who made every second count as she marched into a 3
round unanimous decision victory. She made excellent use of her Muay Thai by
throwing all of her weapons in different ways, and vey often. She did Lanna proud in her
victory on Saturday.
Brenda Vargas met one of the toughest female Nak Muayʼs in the GTA in Effie Chan
from Southside. Chan is known as a pressure fighter. Most of her opponents spend the
entire fight on the ropes, trying to manage Chanʼs high volume of well placed strikes.
Brenda made the intelligent decision to stand right in front of Effie, meeting her intensity
with her own. In Brendaʼs last two fights, she spent a little too much time fighting off her
back foot, making it difficult to initiate attacks. This was certainly not the case on
Saturday. If Brenda did lean back to throw a teep, she would move forward immediately
after, turning her defense into offense. This may have taken Chan out of her comfort
zone, which allowed Brenda to take round 1 decisively.
Round 2 was a little closer, as Chan poured on the offense. She stunned Brenda
a few times, but this didnʼt stop her from imposing her will on Effie. Brenda continued to
move forward, and made Effie work harder than she ever has to score points.
! Round 3 is where Brenda dug deep to edge out her split decision victory. She hit
Chan with everything she had. She landed elbows in the clinch, and made really good
use of her southpaw cross and rear kick. She had Effie backed up a few times in that
round, which forced Effie to rush forward. As she did, Brenda landed a beautiful teep
that put Chan on the mat. That simple technique may have won her the round and the
fight in the eyes of the judges. It was Brendaʼs tenacity and heart that won her the fight,
a host of support from the fans, and Fight of The Night honours.
It was a successful night for Lanna MMA. All of the fans, coaches, officials and
fighters had nothing but positive things to say for our team and fighters. It was a proud
moment for the coaching staff who have worked hard to prepare our girls for such an
amazing event. A big thank you goes out to everyone from the Lanna family for making
the trip downtown and showing support for our fighters. It was the yelling and screaming
from our corner of the venue that helped our girls dig a little deeper to win their fights.
Next weekend Kevon Singh will be representing the school at the Mitsubishi Cup
Muay Thai card at Pound4Pound in Pickering. Please come out to the event, and bring that same level
of support and intensity for one of Lannaʼs top Muay Thai fighters.